Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News took first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2015 contest in Features writing for the Over 175,000 circulation category.

Wilner’s winning entry told how Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is guided by the life examples set by his father, Malcolm Kerr, a Middle East scholar who was murdered in 1984. Wilner 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 Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.

Wilner garnered 47 points and two first-place votes in the final balloting to best runner-up Kate Fagan of (44 points, two first-place votes).’s J.R. Moehringer finished third with 43 points and one first-place vote.

Sports editors in the Over 175,000 category submitted a total of 100 Features 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 Feature Writing category is judged on human interest, reader interest, quality of writing and thoroughness of reporting. Each member news organization was permitted up to three entries in this category.

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


  1. Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News, 47 points, 2 first-place votes

A dad’s legacy: Warriors’ Kerr guided by father’s example


  1. Kate Fagan,, 44 points, 2 first-place votes

Split image


  1. J.R. Moehringer,, 43 points, 1 first-place vote

The education of Alex Rodriguez


  1. Kent Babb, The Washington Post, 38 points, 1 first-place vote

Chip Kelly, football’s most intriguing figure, is also its most unknown


  1. Erik Brady, USA TODAY Sports, 34 points

At Hurley High, Confederate battle flag is everywhere and means everything


T6. J. Brady McCollough, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 31 points

Leaving Cuba: Why Pirates bullpen coach Euclides Rojas risked everything for freedom


T6. Josh Peter, USA TODAY Sports, 31 points

The ex-champ and his champion


  1. David Whitley, Orlando Sentinel, 27 points

There’s more to 7-foot-6 UCF signee Tacko Fall than meets the camera’s eye


  1. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, 18 points

Ex-NFLer Tim Shaw fights ALS


  1. Sarah Lyall, The New York Times, 17 points
    A Life in Motion, Stopped Cold