March 27, 2018

By Robert Gagliardi, APSE Third Vice President

Dirk Chatelain of the Omaha World-Herald won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2017 contest in Project Reporting for the 75,000-175,000 circulation category.

Chatelain’s winning entry was a series of four stories dubbed “Campus Rush,” which goes deep into the world of club sports, focusing on one specific question: Why are 14- and 15-year-old girl athletes committing to colleges.

Below are links to the winning entries:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Chatelain will receive a plaque at the 2018 APSE Summer Conference at the Marriott Hotel Nashville/Vanderbilt University June 17-20. The second- through sixth-place winners will receive frameable certificates.

There was a tie for second place between Gary D’Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for The Making of Erin Hills: The complete story and Ross Dellenger, David Ching and Luke Johnson of The Advocate for their six-story project on recent trends in college football recruiting. Below are links to the stories:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Contest chair John Bednarowski and fellow APSE officers Jeff Rosen, Todd Adams and Robert Gagliardi numbered each entry. Preliminary judges selected a top six, and from there another group of judges ranked the finalists in order from 1 to 6 separately on a secret ballot. Entries were given six points for a first-place vote, five for second, etc. The winner and final rankings are determined by tallying the ballots.

A project sheds new light on personalities and issues in the news, including trends and original ideas. It is pre-planned content that is conceived and executed as a larger body of work. What it is not is ongoing coverage of a news event over a period of time where a number of stories are compiled for an entry. For judging purposes, the project is limited to 10 stories. Additional material may be attached and read at the judges’ discretion.

The top 6 are listed below, with links to the writers’ Twitter pages, APSE member websites and winning entries.

  1. Dirk Chatelain, Omaha World-Herald, 30 points, 3 first-place votes

Peer pressure pushes volleyball coaches to recruit phenoms like Rylee Gray earlier and earlier

Restoring Faith: How an Omaha softball prodigy lost her talent and found her way


Competitive drive: At 15, Kalynn Meyer has the talent to be great in three sports. Does she have the time?


Singular focus — traditionally powerful high school programs like Marian try to survive without multi-sport athletes


2t. Gary D’Amato, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 26 points, 1 first-place vote

     The Making of Erin Hills: The complete story


2t. Ross Dellenger, David Ching and Luke Johnson, The Advocate, 26 points, 1 first-place vote


   Drawing lines: Alabama’s recent dominance over LSU often begins with these huge reasons


   How to build a contender: Grambling, Southern offer different methods to roster construction


   Recruiting Louisiana: How and why LSU is impacted by state’s output of certain players —  and where they end up


   Tiger territory: LSU treats Texas as an ‘in-state’ recruiting area — and must keep it that way


   Is it really important to dominate recruiting in your own state? It depends …


   Why out-of-state recruiting — especially in ‘the Big Three’ — is a must for nearly all football staffs


  1. Staff, The Tennessean, 20 points


   We’ve Got Your Number: From Peyton Manning to Eddie George to Penny Hardaway, the top jerseys in Tennessee history


 Peyton Manning, Eddie George help Tennessee all-time jersey list hold up vs. any other state


 Nashville’s all-time jersey number


 Knoxville’s all-time jersey number


 Memphis’ all-time jersey number


Photo gallery




  1. Bryce Miller, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 points


  African life, death shaped remarkable marathon star Keflezighi


  Death-defying journey of Meb Keflezighi’s father led family to San Diego


  ‘Fifth lap’ around Earth spurs Keflezighi to reflect on amazing run


  Video: Meb Keflezighi in Africa


  1. Staff, The Indianapolis Star, 10 points


   The best Peyton Manning stories you’ve never heard


   Peyton Manning’s man cave for 14 seasons in Indy was St. Elmo Steak House


   Unveiling of Manning statue will feel like Super Bowl for Indy sculptor


   Local 6th-grade actor makes Peyton his foil in DirecTV commercials


   Peyton Manning legacy is also hospital that bears his name, young patients he still helps


   Archie Manning on Peyton Manning: Indianapolis became part of him


   Gregg Doyel: Peyton Manning now a statue, and our forever quarterback


   Insider: With Peyton Manning statue celebration, No. 18 finally on the receiving end


  Does Peyton Manning’s statue look different than you thought? An art expert explains why


  Story No. 10