By John Bednarowski

APSE First Vice President

Erik Bacharach of the Daily News Journal of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2017 contest in the Explanatory category for the Under 30,000 circulation division.

Bacharach won for his story on the Middle Tennessee women’s basketball team on the road. The winner in each category will receive a plaque at the 2018 APSE Summer Conference in Nashville. The banquet and awards dinner will conclude the APSE Summer Conference, which takes place June 17-20 at at the Marriott Hotel Nashville / Vanderbilt University.

Bacharach beat out runner-up Jim Seimas of the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald and Steve Gamel of the Denton Record-Chronicle tied for third.

Sports editors in the Under 30,000 category submitted 59 Explanatory entries. 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, 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 five, 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 five 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. Erik Bacharach, Daily News Journal (Murfreesboro) 37 points (One first-place vote)

MTSU women’s basketball on the road: From Walmart trips to ‘Coach Insell time’


  1. Jim Seimas, Santa Cruz Sentinel 35 points (Two first-place votes)

Lowly Giants still one of MLB’s hottest tickets; secondary market plays huge role


T-3. Marc Weiszer, Athens Banner-Herald, 30 points (One first-place vote)

As schools chase championships, female coaches still playing catch up in SEC, elsewhere


T-3. Steve Gamel, Denton Record-Chronicle, 30 points

Breaking the cycle


T-5. Robert Gagliardi, Laramie Boomerang, 29 points (One first-place vote)

Impact of Cowboys home games against big-name schools is far-reaching


T-5. Mike Graham, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, 29 points

The final whistle? Officials shortage creating problems for West Texas football


T-7. Alex Resnak, Cherokee Tribune, 24 points

Financial gains from neutral-site baseball final minimal for Etowah, Woodstock


T-7. Ian Murphy, Ames Tribune, 24 points

Baseball: Pitch counts change the math for teams this summer


  1. Matt Bufano, The Citizens’ Voice, 18 points

Please rise: Few local high schools have anthem policies


  1. Nubyjas Wilborn, Marietta Daily Journal, 16 points

Visitors proving SunTrust Park can be new version of ‘Launching Pad’