By Jeff Rosen

APSE President

Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2017 contest for explanatory reporting in the 30,000-75,000 circulation category.

Wood’s winning entry breaks down how the Packers mastered the art of the Hail Mary.

Wood will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2018 APSE banquet. The banquet and awards dinner concludes the APSE Summer Conference June 17-20 at the Marriott Hotel Nashville/Vanderbilt University. The second- through 10th-place winners will receive frameable certificates.

The contest is open to APSE members. Click here to join.

Contest chair John Bednarowski and fellow APSE officers Jeff Rosen, Todd Adams and Robert Gagliardi numbered each entry. Preliminary judges selected a top 10, and from there another group of judges ranked the finalists in order from 1 to 10 separately on a secret ballot. Entries were given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine for second, etc. The winner and final rankings are determined by tallying the ballots.

APSE’s explanatory category spotlights stories covering trends, issues and original ideas that shed new light on issues and personalities in the news.

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

1 . Ryan Wood, Green Bay Press-Gazette, 55, 3 first-place votes

How Packers mastered art of the Hail Mary

2 . Cody Stavenhagen, Tulsa World, 45 points, 1 first-place vote

Criminal background checks remain a rarity despite issues in college sports

3 . Mike Vorel, South Bend Tribune, 40 points

Examining college football’s controversial targeting rule and how it impacts Notre Dame

4 . Michael Lycklama, Idaho Statesman, 33 points

‘Life-threatening’ turf at an Idaho high school? Lax testing raises safety concerns

5 . Eric Hansen, South Bend Tribune, 32 points

A day in the life of Brian Kelly and his attempted Notre Dame football resurrection

6 . Seth Soffian, News-Press, 29 points, 1 first-place vote

Ave Maria athletics far from founding visions, but faith abounds

7 . Aaron Ferguson, Peoria Journal Star, 28 points

To infinity and beyond: Gaming growing with eSports

Bradley’s game-design program reaching new heights

Broadcasting eSports is here to stay

8 . David Teel, Daily Press, 24 points

U.Va., Virginia Tech investing millions in ACC Network preparations

TIE . Dave Reynolds, Peoria Journal Star, 24 points

The resource gap: How smaller schools are struggling to keep up with college’s big boys

Changes on the horizon? ESPN struggles, litigation could change funding in college sports

10 . Mark Berman, Roanoke Times, 20 points

Former Virginia Tech athletes and coaches reflect on 10th anniversary of shootings