By Robert Gagliardi

APSE Third Vice President

Mike Vorel of the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2016 contest in Feature Writing for the 30,000-75,000 circulation category.

Vorel won for his story on Notre Dame football player Will Mahone. Vorel will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2017 APSE banquet. The banquet and awards dinner will conclude the APSE Summer Conference, which takes place June 26-29 at The Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans.

Vorel beat out Nate Mink of the Syracuse Media Group. Tom Schad of the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn., finished third.

Sports editors in the 30,000-75,000 category submitted 126 feature 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 has 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 for second and so 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 features category judges a single story on human interest, reader interest, quality of writing and thoroughness of reporting.

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

  1. Mike Vorel, South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, 54 points (4 first-place votes)

           Notre Dame football player Will Mahone

  1.    Nate Mink, Syracuse Media Group, 51 points

            Struggle to rescue ex-Syracuse football player

  1.    Tom Schad, Commercial Appeal, 43 points (1 first-place vote)

            Riding along on a University of Memphis football recruiting trip

  1.   Austin Meek, The Register-Guard (Eugene, Ore.), 39 points (2 first-place votes)

           Eugene boxer lives through aftereffects of career in the ring

  1.   Grace Raynor, The Post & Courier (Charleston, S.C.), 34 points

           RiverDogs pitcher struggles to make ends meet

  1. David Teel, Daily Press (Newport News, Va.), 30 points

        Graduating W&M gymnast all about family

  1. Josh Weir, The Repository (Canton, Ohio), 27 points

        Australian woman interning with McKinley football

  1. Chris Hansen, The Register-Guard (Eugene, Ore.), 20 points

        Back from the brink

  1. Lake Morris, Anderson (S.C.) Independent Mail, 18 points

       Vaughter plays football without right hand


  1. Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle, 14 points   

          K-State football uniform an island in sea of change