By Tommy Deas

APSE President

Travis Gibson of The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2016 contest in the Beat Writing category for the Under 30,000 circulation division.

Gibson won for his coverage of high school sports in the San Luis Obispo area. 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.

Gibson beat out runner-up Daniel Jones of the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. Mike Miller of The Herald-Times (Bloomington, Ind.) placed third.

Sports editors in the Under 30,000 category submitted 57 Beat Writing entries. The contest is open to APSE members. Click here to join.

Contest chair Jeff Rosen and fellow APSE officers Tommy Deas, John 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 beat writing category judges a portfolio of five stories by a single author that shows authoritative, newsy and innovative coverage of a beat. Entries included at least one breaking news story; one event or game coverage story; one enterprise piece and two wild-card stories from any of the aforementioned categories (or other stories or analysis related to the beat).

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

  1. Travis Gibson, The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, Calif.), 56 points (3 first-place votes)

Paso Robles unleashes ‘The Beast’ in win over Atascadero

By chance, I hiked with Templeton’s Isaac Lindsey to the top of Cerro Alto

Making a Splash: Facelift set to begin at Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo high schools this summer

Arroyo Grande grad Ryan Teixeira finds bone marrow match in younger brother

Paso Robles High football coach Rich Schimke placed on leave, investigation ongoing

  1. Daniel Jones, Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune, 42 points

CPS swim coach fired after controversial comments at practice

Tolton wins first state championship in epic fashion

Tate Cooper may leave Tolton baseball behind, but his impact will be remembered

For Crawfords, pole vaulting is a family affair

Hickman High School Football Coach Arnel Monroe Memorial Service

  1. Mike Miller, The Herald-Times (Bloomington, Ind.), 38 points

Fort Wayne stuns No. 3 Indiana, 71-68, in OT

Zach McRoberts to walk on at Indiana

’81 Hoosiers went from rock bottom to NCAA title

Former Hoosier Todd Jadlow finding purpose in life

Tom Crean exclusive: “It’s going to be extremely competitive when we get everyone here”

  1. Andrew Ramspacher, The Daily Progress (Charlottesville, Va.), 37 points (2 first-place votes)

Counts: Win over UNC would provide big jolt for JMU football program

Upset bid slips through Virginia’s fingers

UVa football signee Aidan Howard files federal complaint, alleging hazing

Virginia expects 40,000-plus fans for Mendenhall’s debut

Becoming a ‘UVa guy’: Mendenhall quickly absorbs Cavaliers’ culture

  1. Ryan Miller, The Spectrum & Daily News (St. George, Utah), 31 points

SUU’s LeShaun Sims is a silent but deadly defensive back in this year’s NFL Draft.

SUU tabs Warren as head football coach

Big Sky football: Grad transfers have big effect on conference

SUU football: Desean Holmes — found in Cedar City

SUU football: Thunderbirds defeat Portland State on Homecoming

  1. Brett Vito, Denton Record-Chronicle, 29 points (1 first-place vote)

Rick Villarreal set to end run at UNT

UNT on hook for $90K monthly for buyouts

UNT coach learned value of work from family business

Report highly critical of UNT athletics

Tac on another win

  1. (tie) Erik Bacharach, Opelika-Auburn News, 28 points

Unbreakable Spirit: Football career cut short by injury

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

From the Trail Up

Glenwood captures 21st state baseball title

Brandon Cobb resigns as Beauregard head softball coach

  1. (tie), Stephen Meyers, Fort Collins Coloradoan, 28 points

Nelson becomes first woman to win Horsetooth Half

Gould snup highlights inconsistencies with Olympic selection

5,600 fish killed in Big Thompson from chemical runoff

Beautiful hike, horrific parking: Larimer County struggles with increased visitation

Camaraderie, Colorado views the soul of Ride the Rockies

  1. Jane Allison Havsy, Daily Record (Parsippany, N.J.), 21 points

MVP Karle helped Mount Olive make volleyball history

Randolph grad on long, winding road to find himself

Stuck in traffic? Just ask Ali

NFL trainers provide workout inspiration at N.J. sports club

Controversy mars Morristown’s state title

  1. Jason Butt, The Telegraph (Macon, Ga.), 20 points

At 500 games, Hester still in building mode

Access to UGA athletics records to be slowed by last-minute amendment

What occurred on Tennessee’s desperation pass, which Smart called a ‘sick way to end the game’

Rivers works toward redemption at ‘Last Chance U’

First, he was paralyzed, then his home flooded. But player remains grateful