By Todd M. Adams, APSE Second Vice President

Vahe Gregorian of The Kansas City Star won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2017 contest in column writing for the Over 175,000 circulation category.

Gregorian will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2018 APSE Summer Conference Banquet at the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University on June 20.

Gregorian edged runner-up Bill Plaschke from the Los Angeles Times. Dave Hyde from the South Florida Sun Sentinel placed third.

Sports editors in the Over 175,000 category submitted 47 column entries. The contest is open to APSE members. Click here to join.

Contest chair John Bednarowski and fellow APSE officers Todd M. Adams, Robert Gagliardi and Jeff Rosen 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 St. Petersburg, 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 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 winner in each category will receive a plaque at the 2018 APSE Summer Conference at the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University on June 17-20. The second- through 10th-place writers will receive frameable certificates.

The column writing category is judged based on style, writing quality, originality and local appeal. Entries were limited to 5 stories. The top 10 is listed below with links to writers’ Twitter pages, APSE member websites and winning entries.

  1. Vahe Gregorian, The Kansas City Star, 49 points, 2 first-place votes

Royals share pain with Yordano Ventura’s family at funeral in Dominican Republic

Former KU and Chicago Bears great Gale Sayers is battling dementia

Loving football has never been more of a dilemma for this former player

Michael Vick’s past remains appalling but shouldn’t disqualify him from coaching

As an organ donor, Eric Driskell’s final acts gave new life to others

2.  Bill PlaschkeThe Los Angeles Times, 47 points, 3 first-place votes

Not forgotten: For every Super Bowl star, there’s an equally talented player who didn’t make it

A cautionary tale of what can happen when a sports parent pushes too hard

She flashed a Dodger Stadium crowd and became a viral sensation. Now Rally Granny is making national headlines

Stuttering isn’t stopping the Astros’ George Springer, who’s now talking the talk

On anniversary of Gibson’s blast, it’s a Turner classic in Game 2 for Dodgers

3.  Dave HydeSouth Florida Sun Sentinel, 43 points, 1 first-place vote

The full, uncomfortable truth comes out about Jose Fernandez’s death

Jimmy Johnson in pain, in tears — and in resolve to rebuild in the Keys

Decades later, Don Shula and Bob Griese have a friendship that transcends coach and quarterback

Earth to Jeter — the Marlins need you, not the Dolphins

A father, a son and a wonderful baseball journey

4.  Martin FennellyTampa Bay Times, 35 points

College Football Playoff: Alabama’s Nick Saban and the friend who helped show him the way

Meet the Bucs fan who took Gerald McCoy up on his offer

Man falsely imprisoned for 27 years returns to his Tampa field of dreams

Think you’re a big basketball fan? Meet ‘Pops’ DeBose

Rays playing zombie baseball at worst time

5.  Greg CoteMiami Herald, 31 points

At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what’s missing

Marlins’ Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose

NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering

What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie’s unlikely, accidental love of soccer

With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn’t goodbye

6.  Christine BrennanUSA Today, 30 points

How I made a pen pal in Bill Belichick

USA Hockey can’t win fight vs. women’s team

Sports radio host comes to rescue in flooded Houston

High schooler had similar injury as Zach Miller and now plays with prosthetic leg

USGA struggles to denounce sexual assault on eve of U.S. Women’s Open

7.  Ian O’Connor, ESPN, 29 points

Joe Girardi managed the Yankees the only way he knows

Rick Pitino couldn’t avoid trouble forever

Love, not rage, fueled Tom Brady’s legendary Super Bowl LI win

How the player who wasn’t there won the day

Davante Adams was a hero, but way too soon

8.  Mike SielskiPhiladelphia Inquirer, 24 points

Alshon’s brother was better Charles Ben was better than his younger brother Alshon Jeffery. But they took divergent paths

BIG WIN, BIGGER LOSS? Birds clinch division but lose their superstar, Wentz 

Philly nun helped grow St. Anthony Sister Mary Alan Barszczewski became the AD in 1980 and built a N.J. boys’ basketball dynasty. The school will close this year

Most Courageous, and Generous Former Inquirer columnist Bill Lyon is an inspiration and a mentor

Team that selects him:Be honest about why

(Tied) 9.  David LennonNewsday, 23 points

Yanks need to extend protective netting before there’s a tragedy

Girardi not up to the challenge in ALDS Game 2 loss

Why did Mets let Collins twist in the wind

Sorry Joe Morgan, can’t keep steroid users out of Hall

HR Derby the star of All Star Game

(Tied) 9.  Jerry BrewerThe Washington Post, 23 points

I have loved football for years, but this NFL season is making me queasy

Sorry for the inconvenience fans, but black athlete activism is multiplying

Anthem protests put NFL in a difficult spot. Good.

Racist vandals didn’t demean LeBron James. They gave him a platform for dialogue.

In Redskins-Scot McCloughan saga, neither side can cry victim