By John Bednarowski

APSE First Vice President

Nicholas Talbot of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2017 contest in column writing for the Under 30,000 circulation category.

Talbot will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2018 APSE Summer Conference Banquet at the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University on June 20.

Talbot edged runner-up John Bednarowski of the Marietta Daily Journal. Tom Miller of the Grand Forks Herald and Matt L. Stephens of the Fort Collins Coloradoan tied for third.

Sports editors in the Under 30,000 category submitted 44 column entries. The contest

is open to APSE members. Click here to join.

Contest chair John Bednarowski and fellow APSE officers Todd M. Adams, Robert Gagliardi and Jeff Rosen 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 St. Petersburg, 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 winner in each category will receive a plaque at the 2018 APSE Summer Conference at the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University on June 17-20. The second- through 10th-place writers will receive frameable certificates.

The column writing category is judged based on style, writing quality, originality and local appeal. Entries were limited to 5 stories. The top 10 is listed below with links to writers’ Twitter pages, APSE member websites and winning entries.


  1. Nicholas Talbot, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, 50 points (one first-place vote)

Shaken confidence: Mediocre Kingsbury era should end with loss to Kansas State
In light of Baylor scandal, Kingsbury lets university make decision
Omaha-hungry Red Raiders no longer satisfied with Big 12 title
Kingsbury knows he has to win, or else
Mahomes makes right decision to leave Tech for NFL draft

  1. John Bednarowski, Marietta Daily Journal, 44 points

Commentary: Blankenship’s dad makes mess of an unfortunate situation

Commentary: Atlanta United facilities just the latest jewel for Cobb County

Commentary: GHSA gets it right… and wrong

Commentary: Challenge for Kennesaw State starts now, not 2018

Commentary: Owls find identity, continue to run through defenses

T-3. Tom Miller, Grand Forks Herald, 39 points (one first-place vote)

Not buying it
Summit/MVFC rivalries outweigh Big Sky destinations
Emotions aside, UND’s remaining programs are in better position
UND should make cuts with basketball support in mind
Unjust ending for Fighting Hawks

T-3. Matt L. Stephens, Fort Collins Coloradoan, 39 points (one first-place vote)

Institutional failure created CSU basketball disaster
Colorado’s worst high school basketball team is uniquely great
Being CAM the Ram is lonely but rewarding
Hard-headed Larry Eustachy wins 500th game his own way
For 5 years, I walked the line

  1. Drew Bonifant, Kennebec Journal, 35 points

As time goes on, former Sox left-hander Lee not slowing down
Kariya’s call has special feel
Focus on Jeter should inspire memories of Garciaparra’s peak

Even for sports traditionalists, Predators’ bandwagon is an easy one to join
This time, let’s calm the hype with Jordan Spieth

T-6. Travis Hines, Ames Tribune, 34 points (two first-place votes)

The era of not sticking to sports reaches Iowa State
Cyclones well-worn problems take away from Morris’ achievement
Cyclones see their way to sunny skies with historic upset
New contract, same Campbell
Kansas State a great barometer game for Cyclones

T-6. Mike DeFabo, Anderson Herald Bulletin, 34 points

Jeff Brohm has a trick for everything, even Chipotle:
Time for Purdue fans to come back to Ross-Ade:
The case for Purdue winning the Bucket:
Purdue extends surprise  season with Bucket win, bowl berth:
Purdue found its coach but how long can it keep him?

  1. Tim Fitzgerald,, 26 points (one first-place vote)

FROM FITZ: Repeating the script
FROM FITZ: Many paths, one ‘family’
FROM FITZ: The youngest of the young
FROM FITZ: What a difference a week makes
FROM FITZ: Here is where you belong

  1. Scott Petrak, The Chronicle-Telegram, 21 points

Indians fine with celebrating last year’s success
Patience is great but the clock is ticking for Jimmy Haslam
DeShone Kizer should still be starting
Owners Jimmy, Dee Haslam already at another crossroads
No way to know whether team can trust Josh Gordon

  1. Brandon Foster, Casper Star-Tribune, 8 points

The case for Josh Allen
Knee-jerk calls for Edwards job are ridiculous
Josh Allen’s day far from perfect but shows he’s a different quarterback
Cowboys showing growth despite disappointing Border War loss
Wyoming Cowboys still have a lot in front of them