By Mike Sherman, APSE First Vice President/Contest Chair

New York Times reporter Tim Rohan and the Washington Post team of Sally Jenkins, Rick Maese and Scott Clements shared first place in the APSE Project writing contest for over 175,000 circulation.

Rohan’s story “Beyond the Finish Line,” which chronicles Jeff Bauman’s long, painful journey back after both his legs were blown off in the Boston Marathon bombing, received four of six first-place votes from Associated Press Sports Editors judges.

Jenkins, Maese and Clements tied Rohan in the balloting with their project on health and safety in the NFL, anchored by the series “Do No Harm.”  Rohan and the Washington Post team will receive first-place plaques at the 2014 APSE Banquet June 28 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va.

The USA TODAY Sports team of  Steve Berkowitz, Erik Brady, Rachel Axon, Jodi Upton, Christopher Schnaars and Brent Schrotenboer was third for its project “College Salaries and Finances.”

The top 10 is listed below with links to writers’ Twitter pages and entries.

Sports editors in the over 175,000 circulation category submitted 31 Project entries. Contest catchers numbered each entry, assuring they had been stripped of headlines, graphics, bylines and any other element that would identify the writer or news organization.

In early March, preliminary judges at the APSE Winter Conference in Indianapolis selected a top 10, with each judge ranking the entries in order from 1 to 10 separately on a secret ballot. Entries were given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for second and so on down to 1 point for a 10th-place vote. The final 10 were given to a second judging group, which ranked the entries 1-10 in the same fashion. The winner and final rankings are determined by tallying the ballots.

The Project category showcases a collection of articles that shed new light on personalities and issues in the news, including trends and original ideas. Entries are limited to 10 stories, though additional material may be attached and read at the judges’ discretion. The material is not required to have appeared in a single day or on consecutive days.

The contest is open to APSE members. Go to this link to join.

2013 APSE Contest: Projects, over 175,000 circulation

(First-place votes in parentheses)

1. (tie). Tim Rohan, The New York Times, (4), 47 points

Beyond the Finish Line

1.  (tie). Sally Jenkins, Rick Maese and Scott Clements, The Washington Post, (1), 47 points

Survey: Players don’t trust NFL docs

Tackling a crisis

NFL medical standards, practices are different than almost anywhere else

Pain and pain management in NFL spawn a culture of prescription drug use and abuse

Do no harm: Who should bear the costs of retired NFL players’ medical bills?

Do no harm: Retired NFL players endure a lifetime of hurt

Do no harm: NFL tries to improve player safety without admitting to any liability for past

3.  Steve Berkowitz, Erik Brady, Rachel Axon, Jodi Upton, Christopher Schnaars and Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY Sports, 44 points

College Salaries and Finances

Some athletics director bonuses reward ordinary achievements

Major college ADs averaging more than $500,000 in pay

Pitino, Calipari among highest-paid college basketball coaches

Most NCAA Division I athletic departments take subsidies

Latest trend for college football coaches: Trademarked names

Colorado's MacIntyre part of college football salary explosion

Tax-free buyouts? Coaches take a chance with the IRS

Spatting creates dilemma for colleges

When bowl tickets go on Groupon, colleges pay the price

4. Colleen Kane, Mike Helfgot and staff, Chicago Tribune, 38 points

Simeon All Access | The 1980s: Hambric begins building a powerhouse

Simeon in the '80s | A year by year breakdown

Simeon in the '80s | The all-decade team

Simeon in the '80s | Highlights and lowlights

Simeon All Access | The 1990s: New rivals emerge, a coach is born

Simeon in the '90s | A year by year breakdown

Simeon in the '90s | Highlights and lowlights

Simeon in the '90s | The all-decade team

Simeon All Access | The 2000s-present: Rose, Parker lift program to new heights

Simeon 2000-present | A year by year breakdown

Simeon 2000-present | Highlights and lowlights

Simeon 2000-present | The all-era team

Simeon All Access | Jabari Parker: A name, a brand

Teen at matchup between CPS basketball powerhouses fatally shot outside arena

Three Simeon transfers ruled ineligible for season

Simeon All Access | Have talent, will travel — on the cheap

Simeon All Access | End of an era for Wolverines

Simeon All Access | Spotlight's on Ben Coupet Jr.

4A final: Four certain: Simeon wins 4th straight state title

5. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, 37 points

1988 Dodgers: The Last Ring

On a team of unsung heroes, Tim Crews stood out for Dodgers' '88 champs

Dodgers’ 1988 title was about big plays and a lot of little details

The setup men for a gimpy Gibson’s immortal World Series homer

Mike Sharperson, former Dodger, forever a selfless Stuntman

His 1988 World Series 'minute' sustains Ex-Dodger Gilberto Reyes

For Tim Leary Dodgers' 1988 championship season never ends

Ex-Dodger Mike Marshall tries to repair his reputation

6. Matthew Stanmyre and Andy Mills, The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.), (1) 35 points

MMA fighting: Inside look at the brutal sport's rising popularity and danger

• The risky practice of making the weight cut

MMA medical issues and precautions

• How the brain is injured in MMA fights and other contact sports

• UFC chief: Boxing is 'much more dangerous' than MMA fighting

• In his words: Medical expert warns of dangers of brain injuries

Makeshift gym puts N.J. on MMA map

MMA Timeline: How the sport evolved

Survival is top rule at underground fight club in NYC

What makes former UFC fighter Kurt Pellegrino tick

7. Amy Shipley, Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), 34 points

Moneyball Jr.: Baseball for minors looks a lot like the Majors

Parents condone high school athletes' use of performance-enhancing drugs

Parents lose control at kids' games

8. U-T San Diego sports staff, 23 points

STOMPING GROUNDS: TOP 50 SPOTS IN SAN DIEGO SPORTS HISTORY

Slide show: Top 50 historical sports sites

9. Frank Fitzpatrick, Joe Juliano and Robert West, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 13 points

How the U.S. Open came back to Merion

Fond memories of Merion from Lee Trevino as U.S. Open approaches

Merion has brought out the best from the best

Story of Hugh Wilson, Merion's architect, is clouded

Bobby Jones' enduring foursome

100th anniversary of U.S. Open that changed golf in America

Chris Patton: Farm kid who mastered Merion in '89

For 1971 Merion contender Jim Simons, life proved to be toughest course

In 1950, Merion was the site of golf's greatest shot

Merion Open will showcase contributions of Penn State's turfgrass center

10. Bob Volin, Shalise Manza Young, Chris Gasper, Sean Smith and Luke Knox, The Boston Globe, 12 points

Earning Tom Brady’s trust is no easy feat

Tom Brady wanted early bonding time with rookie WRs

Interactive: Patriots wide WRs in the Belichick era

Why the Patriots offense is so dominant

How Patriots WRs adjust to plays

Don Hutson was the NFL’s first superstar receiver

How wide receivers have evolved in the NFL

‘Fragile’ label doesn’t really fit Danny Amendola

Can Aaron Dobson be the one for Patriots?

(Mike Sherman, APSE first vice president and contest chair, is sports editor of The Oklahoman. Email him at msherman@opubco.com, follow him at @MikeSherman or call 405-475-3164.)