Sam King of the Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2015 contest in Game Story writing for the Under 30,000 circulation category.

King won the division for his recap on a local high school girls basketball team winning semistate just days after the death of its coach. King 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 Omni-Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C.

King’s story surpassed runner-up Anthony Zilis of the Ames (Iowa) Tribune. Ryan Holmgren of The Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune came in third.

Sports editors in the Under-30,000 category submitted 103 game story entries. The contest is open to APSE members. Click here to join.

Contest chair 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 and early March, preliminary judges at the APSE Winter Conference at Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., 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 Gamy Story category judges a collection of articles that recount specific games, describing the event and the final outcome. Entries were limited to 10 stories, with optional material allowed to be read at the discretion of judges.

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

1. Sam King, The Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier, 51 points, 2 first-place votes

Central Catholic wins semistate with miraculous finish


2.  Anthony Zilis, Ames (Iowa) Tribune, 49 points, 1 first-place vote

Boys’ Track: Improbable Ames 4×800 team breaks 28-year-old Iowa record


3. Ryan Holmgren, The Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, 37 points

Brian Hill shares record breaking moment with his mother


4. Travis Hines, Ames (Iowa) Tribune, 35 points

Men’s Basketball: Cyclones come back again to win second straight Big 12 title


5. Julie Jag, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 33 points, 1 first-place vote

Monterey Bay Crossing: Relay team reaches shore in record time


6. Andrew Ramspacher, The Daily Progress, 32 points

Virginia clams College World Series title


7. Aaron Reiss, Columbia Missourian, 31 points, 2 first-place votes

Gary Pinkel lets loose after final game in Kansas City ends


8. Brad Elliott Schlossman, Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald, 22 points

UND men’s hockey beats Miami 2-1, celebrates winning NCHC title outright


9. John McWilliams, The (Florence) TimesDaily, 19 points

Gurley’s kick sends Lions past Deshler


10. Jacob Bogage, Columbia Missourian, 17 points

After ‘The Week,’ Tigers bring home a win