By Tommy Deas

APSE President

Matt L. Stephens of the Fort Collins Coloradoan won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2016 contest in Explanatory category for the Under 30,000 circulation category.

Collins won for a former Colorado State University football player who quit over his use of marijuana.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

Nathan Baird of the Journal-Courier (Lafayette, Ind.) placed second. Steve Gamel of the Denton (Texas) Record-Chronicle finished third..

Sports editors in the Under 30,000 category submitted 50 entries in the Explanatory category. The contest is open to APSE members. Click here to join.

Contest chair Jeff Rosen and fellow APSE officers Tommy Deas, 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 Explanatory category is for stories on trends, issues and original ideas that shed new light on issues and personalities in the news.

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

  1. Matt L. Stephens, Fort Collins Coloradoan, 46 points (2 first-place votes)

Playing High: Marijuana led CSU running back to quit playing football

  1. Nathan Baird, Journal-Courier (Lafayette, Ind.), 43 points (1 first-place vote)

Purdue team gives baseball player new foot

  1. Steve Gamel, Denton (Texas) Record-Chronicle, 42 points, (1 first-place vote)

Sensing the future

  1. Brad Elliott Schlossman, Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald, 40 points (1 first-place vote)

College hockey rolls on with virtually no fighting why isn’t anyone following suit?

  1. Kevin Lytle, Fort Collins Coloradoan, 33 points (1 first-place vote)

Fort Collins football teams face late nights, high costs

  1. Tony Tsoukalas, Anniston Star, 31 points

State of Alabama digs in as one of the nation’s bright lights in the sport

  1. (tie) Erik Bacharach, Opelika-Auburn News, 25 points

The Barrell Roll: An oral retelling of the play Auburn High will never forget

  1. (tie) John Bohnenkamp, The Hawk Eye, 25 points

The perfect matches

  1. Joel Reichenberger, Steamboat Pilot & Today, 23 points

Pipe problems: Despite changing habits, Steamboat’s halfpipe will return in the fall

  1. Tommy Deas, The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News, 22 points

Despite critics’ comments, ‘Just run the ball, Lane’ isn’t so simple