Ryan Holmgren of the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune and the team of Kalle Oakes, Justin Pelletier, Fred Gage, Lauren Schneiderman, Carl Natale, Russ Dillingham and C. Ernie Anderson of the Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine) tied for first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2015 contest in the projects category in the Under-30,000 circulation category.

The Sun Journal’s project looked back at the controversial 1965 heavyweight championship fight between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston in Lewiston. Holmgren’s project examined the challenges of the University of Wyoming and other schools in the Mountain West.

The winners will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2016 APSE banquet. The banquet and awards dinner concludes the APSE Conference June 22-25 at the Omni-Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C.

Balloting by six APSE judges ranked two entries in a tie for first place. Third place went to Scott Parks, Adam Boedeker, Steve Gamel, Patrick Hayslip and Brett Vito of the Denton (Texas) Record-Chronicle. The contest is open to APSE members. Click here to join.

Sports editors in the Under 30,000 circulation category submitted a total of 19 project entries written or directed by APSE member sports departments in 2015. Contest chair and APSE first vice president Tommy Deas 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 late February-early March at Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., preliminary judges selected a top 10 ranked, with each judge listing the stories in order from 1 to 10 separately on a secret ballot. The final 10 were given to a second judging group, which also ranked the entries 1-10 in the same fashion. The winner and final rankings are determined by tallying the ballots, giving a team 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for second and so on down to 1 point for a 10th-place vote.

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


T1. Ryan Holmgren, Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, 51 points, 2 first-place votes

Life in the Mountain West


T1. Kalle Oakes, Justin Pelletier, Fred Gage, Lauren Schneiderman, Carl Natale, Russ Dillingham, C. Ernie Anderson, Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine), 51 points, 3 first-place votes

The Phantom Punch turns 50


3. Scott Parks, Adam Boedeker, Steve Gamel, Patrick Hayslip and Brett Vito, Denton (Texas) Record-Chronicle, 45 points

Head in the Game

School officials talk football helmet safety

Trainers tasked with protecting driven athletes

Assessment has evolved; still an inexact science

Football: Coaches focus on tackling to improve safety

Getting time to heal after concussions helps UNT grad get back on the court

T4. Aaron Reiss, Columbia Missourian, 33 points

McDonald’s All-American Sophie Cunningham wants ‘everything’

Cunningham makes connections during charity visit

During McDonald’s All-American festivities, Cunningham revels in support of family, fans

Lindsey Cunningham paved the way for All-American younger sister

In final night on McDonald’s All-American stage, Cunningham embraces every moment


T4. Caitlin Swieca, Mike DeFabo, Joey Kaufman, Jon Styf, Alex Ortiz and Jake Bartelson, Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, Ill.), 33 points

Money matters: Series on college athletics and impact of money


6.  Tommy Deas, Aaron Suttles, D.C. Reeves, Kelly Ward, Sean Landry, Sean Shore and Joel Kight, The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News, 30 points

Crimson Chapters, an oral history of the University of Alabama’s 2014 football season


7. Dave Vilhauer and Jacque Scoby, American News (Aberdeen, S.D.), 26 points

Losing state tourneys would mean losing revenue

Aberdeen will remain host, could see fewer events


8. Chris Derrett, Alexandria Alejandro, Jordan Rubio, Jake Harris, Kiko Fieg, Sarah Rothberg and Frank Tilley, Victoria (Texas) Advocate, 25 points, 1 first-place vote

Water Safari resurfaces

Water safari ‘Hot Mess’ team on a mission

Boat No. 150 – Texas Flood – wins Texas Water Safari

Victoria teams approach Texas Water Safari finish

Record-setters among top 50 Water Safari finishers

Father-son Victoria tandem brings Water Safari course to a close

Your guide to the Texas Water Safari

Texas Water Safari guide to coverage


9. Phil Terrigno, Krista Pirtle and  Nicholas Talbot, Lubbock (Texas) Avalanche-Journal, 23 points

Winning on both courts: Is there a correlation between success in volleyball and basketball?

The Long Ball: Is soccer bad in West Texas?

The Long Ball: Part II

West Texas behind in efforts to add high school soccer

Dollars and gyms: The cost of launching a volleyball program

Idalou ISD to add middle school volleyball

How the Idalou volleyball initiative began

Bold Move: Area Girls Look To Baseball If Softball Opportunities Aren’t There


10. Brett Hudson, The Post-Star (Glens Falls, N.Y.), 13 points

Records: A look at the people and stories behind six local records