By Jeff Rosen

APSE First Vice President

Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times won first place in Column Writing in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2016 contest’s Over-175,000 circulation category.

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo was runner-up to Plaschke, with Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald placing third.

Plaschke will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2017 APSE banquet in June. The banquet and awards dinner concludes the APSE Summer Conference in New Orleans.

Sports editors submitted a total of 56 entries in the large-organization Columns category this year. 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 in this category, 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 then given to a second judging group, which ranked the entries 1-10 in the same fashion. The winner and final rankings were determined by tallying the two sets of ballots.

The winners in each category will receive a plaque at the 2017 APSE Summer Conference at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans June 26-29. The second- through 10th-place entrants will receive frameable certificates. (Click here to register for the conference.)

Judges evaluated the column entries on style, writing quality, originality and local appeal.

Here is the top 10, with links to writers’ Twitter pages (where applicable), APSE member websites and winning entries.

1- Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, 46 points, one first-place vote

Kobe Bryant goes out shots blazing in magical finish, even for him

He has always been there for fans, and now writer Joe Resnick receives honors he earned

Groundskeeper Ted Haller built a Little League community from the ground up in Glendora

Transgender teenage ballplayer at Santa Monica prep school spreads message of hope and acceptance

His job is a hunt-and-peck type of thing at Dodger Stadium

2- Dan Wetzel, Yahoo, 41 points

Roger Goodell owes Tom Brady an apology

Penn State’s scapegoat in Sandusky saga finally gets some redemption against university

Starring now in Brazil’s theater of the absurd: Ryan Lochte’s one-act play of stupidity

Pat Summitt’s legacy as champion of female sports will forever endure

Olympics 2016: So Team USA walks into a Rio brothel, and …

3- Armando Salguero, Miami Herald, 40 points, two first-place votes

Kiko Alonso turns ‘bad blood’ for Colin Kaepernick into great performance

Unrepentant hypocrite Colin Kaepernick defends Fidel Castro

Miami’s legendary family returns to the Super Bowl with the Carolina Panthers’ Mike Shula

After this latest loss, it’s the Dolphins players who are on notice

‘My heart breaks’: Team’s reaction shows true worth of Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill

4- Jeff Passan, Yahoo, 39 points, two first-place votes

The tragic final night of Jose Fernandez’s life

Meet the Olympic handball team made up almost exclusively of well-paid foreigners

The colossal, inexplicable mistake of Buck Showalter

The hypocrisy of Tony La Russa and the understandable fears of black baseball players

What the iconic 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck card means to a generation of fans

5- Ian O’Connor, ESPN, 35 points

Laremy Tunsil didn’t deserve draft-night humiliation

You can knock Colin Kaepernick — don’t call him un-American

The officials blew it, but so did Cam Newton’s team on Thursday

The force that drove Arnold Palmer

Story of Ralph Branca and Jackie Robinson still resonates

6- Jerry Brewer, Washington Post, 30 points, one first-place vote

I’m black and I can’t swim. Simone Manuel showed America why it must change.

The agony of Jordan Burroughs’s Olympic defeat

The title wait is finally over for Cleveland, and a native son helps end it

Muhammad Ali was world-famous, but Louisville knew him in a special way

Absent the thrill of victory, Redskins and Bengals provide the absurdity of the tie

7- Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, 28 points

Calvin Johnson leaves us wanting more

Pavel Datsyuk says he will leave the Red Wings after playoffs

In Gordie Howe, a legend passes, but stories remain

Inside Jim Harbaugh’s nonstop, high-octane world

Anthem protesters may want to look at a calendar

8- Martin Fennelly, Tampa Bay Times, 25 points

Jameis Winston, The Letter and the lost art of writing it down

A police stop story that might surprise you

Monsignor Laurence Higgins had strong sports background

Fennelly: College is definitely Greg Schiano’s comfort zone

Fennelly: NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson goes from last to legend

9- TIE Vahe Gregorian, The Kansas City Star, 23 points

As Tyreek Hill emerges as a playmaker, so does dilemma for Chiefs fans

City Police Department’s PAL program is changing lives

K-State basketball assistant mourns loss of 15-year-old son, his ‘sweet prince’

MU’s bronze-medal wrestler J’den Cox represents his country well

Mom and Dad are the real MVPs of cancer survivor Eric Berry’s epic homecoming

9- TIE Sam Mellinger, The Kansas City Star, 23 points

Why no amount of ‘due diligence’ can predict Tyreek Hill’s future with the Chiefs

Concussed: How the NFL failed Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith

David Glass’ stance on 2017 payroll shortchanges Royals’ championship core

Hungry Pig Right: How the 346-pound Dontari Poe found himself scoring a Chiefs touchdown

How a simple play by KU won one of the greatest college basketball games you’ll ever see



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