By Tommy Deas

APSE President

Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks (N.D.) Daily Herald won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2016 contest in Feature Writing category for the Under 30,000 circulation category.

Schlossman won for his story on University of North Dakota hockey. The winner in each category will receive a plaque at the 2017 APSE Summer Conference at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans June 26-29. (Click here to register for the conference). The banquet and awards dinner will conclude the APSE Summer Conference, which takes place June 26-29 at The Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans.

Schlossman beat out runner-up Blake Toppmeyer of the Columbia (Mo.) Tribune. Alex Byington of the Times Daily of Florence, Alabama, placed third.

Sports editors in the Under 30,000 category submitted 120 feature entries. The contest is open to APSE members. Click here to join.

Contest chair Jeff Rosen and fellow APSE officers Tommy Deas, John Bednarowski and Robert Gagliardi 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 February, preliminary judges at the APSE Winter Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and off-site around the country, 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 one 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 features category judges a single story on human interest, reader interest, quality of writing and thoroughness of reporting.

The top 10 is listed below, with links to writers’ Twitter pages, APSE member websites and winning entries.

  1. Brad Elliott Schlossman, Grand Forks (N.D.) Dakota Daily Herald, 50 points (4 first-place votes)

UND HOCKEY: 24 hours to a title

  1. Blake Toppmeyer, Columbia (Mo.) Tribune, 44 points

Finucane, Lowary getting hit by line drives sparks debate about facemasks

  1. Alex Byington, Times Daily (Florence, Alabama), 40 points

The smile still shines: Goode fights ALS for quality of life

  1. Sam King, Journal-Courier (Lafayette, Ind.), 39 points (1 first-place vote)

Purdue swimmer on top after anorexia, injuries

  1. Jon Blau, The Herald-Times (Bloomington, Ind.), 35 points

Boxing King’s avenue out of life of crime

  1. D. Scott Fritchen,, 34 points


  1. Eric Van Dril, Pioneer Local, 28 points

Niles North boys track trip creates dialogue about race, religion

  1. Danielle Lerner, Columbia Missourian, 27 points

Missouri’s Sierra Michaelis stays humble through breakout season

  1. Andrew Ramspacher, The Daily Progress (Charlottesville, Va.), 22 points

Virginia’s Johns draws inspiration from buddy’s fight against childhood cancer

  1. Brad Almquist, Columbia Missourian, 11 points

Childhood helped prepare Michael Scherer for success as Missouri linebacker