COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association annual writing and photography contest results were announced Monday, with writing awards given in five categories in each of four divisions based on circulation size, as well as photography award winners in two categories.

The contest, which was delayed this spring due to many offices being closed from the coronavirus pandemic, received 190 submissions and was judged by 33 OPSWA members from around the state. Entries were accepted from the 2019 calendar year.

Earning Writer of the Year honors were Jon Spencer from the Mansfield News Journal in Division 1, Tom Nader from the Kent Record-Courier in Division 2, Rob McCurdy from the Marion Star in Division 3, and Jarrod Ulrey from Columbus ThisWeek Newspapers in Division 4.

New this year, writers and photographers were judged on a body of work that included up to three submissions per category, rather than each article or photograph receiving an individual score.

OPSWA judges included Jon Behm, Julie Billings, Steve Blackledge, Curt Conrad, John Cummings, Jeff Gilbert, Aaron Gross, Scott Halasz, Dave Hanneman, Mark Hazelwood, Bruce Hefflinger, Scott Hennen, Don Hohler, Matt Horn, Mark Huber, David Jablonski, John Kampf, Bev Keller, Michael Kelly, Melanie Laughman, Chris Lillstrung, Jim Naveau, Barb Perenic, Tim Rogers, Richard Russell, Joe Scalzo, Keith Spare, Jon Spencer, Rick Thorp, Jarrod Ulrey, Kevin Wannemacher, Skip Weaver, Tom Wilson

The OPSWA membership roster now stands at 182 writers and photographers around the state, which marks the most in its 48-year history. The OPSWA annual luncheon in April was cancelled.

Founded in 1972, the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association works to support and enhance the coverage of high school sports in Ohio and to recognize superior writing among sports journalists. In 2010, the OPSWA partnered with the Ohio High School Athletic Association to create a website, establish electronic communications and increase its membership and recognition.

The OPSWA website is located at http://www.ohsaa.org/news/OPSWA and includes the membership directory, officers information, hall of fame inductees and other updates.

2019 OPSWA SPORTSWRITERS OF THE YEAR

DIVISION 1 – Jon Spencer, Mansfield News Journal

DIVISION 2 – Tom Nader, Kent Record-Courier

DIVISION 3 – Rob McCurdy, Marion Star

DIVISION 4 – Jarrod Ulrey, Columbus ThisWeek Newspapers

2019 OPSWA Writing Contest, Division and Category Results

Four divisions based on circulation size. Point totals for Writer of the Year: 1st Place = 6 points, 2nd = 4 points, 3rd = 3 points, 4th = 2 points. Categories receiving less than nine entries awarded two places, categories receiving 10-15 entries awarded three places and categories receiving 16 or more entries awarded four places.

Division 1 – Daily Circulation over 25,000 and Websites

Division 1, Game Stories

1. Jon Spencer, Mansfield News Journal

Tie-2. Eric Frantz, Dayton Daily News and MaxPreps.com

Tie-2. Grant Pepper, KnoxPages.com

4. Curt Conrad, RichlandSource.com

Division 1, News Stories

1. Jon Spencer, Mansfield News Journal

2. Jake Furr, Mansfield News Journal

3. Curt Conrad, RichlandSource.com

Division 1, Feature Stories

1. Joe Scalzo, Canton Repository

2. John Kampf, Willoughby News-Herald

3. Steve Blackledge, Columbus Dispatch

Division 1, Columns

1. John Kampf, Willoughby News-Herald

2. Joe Scalzo, Canton Repository

3. Jon Spencer, Mansfield News Journal

Division 1, Investigative/Enterprise Stories

1. Larry Phillips, RichlandSource.com

2. Jon Spencer, Mansfield News Journal

3. Steve Blackledge, Columbus Dispatch

Division 1 Writer of the Year: Jon Spencer, Mansfield News Journal, 19 points

Runners-up: John Kampf, Willoughby News-Herald and Joe Scalzo, Canton Repository, both with 10 points

Division 2 – Daily Circulation Between 10,000 and 25,000

Division 2, Game Stories

1. Ted Radick, Findlay Courier

2. Tom Nader, Kent Record-Courier

Tie-3. Jeff Gilbert, Springfield News-Sun

Tie-3. Kurt Snyder, Newark Advocate

Division 2, News Stories

1. Dave Hanneman, Findlay Courier

2. Tom Nader, Kent Record-Courier

3. Jeff Gilbert, Springfield News-Sun

Division 2, Feature Stories

1. Tom Nader, Kent Record-Courier

2. Mike Vernot, Defiance Crescent-News

3. Andy Wolf, Findlay Courier

Division 2, Columns

1. Tom Nader, Kent Record-Courier

2. Aaron Gross, Defiance Crescent-News

Division 2, Investigative/Enterprise Stories

1. Dave Hanneman, Findlay Courier

2. Kurt Snyder, Newark Advocate

Division 2 Writer of the Year: Tom Nader, Kent Record-Courier, 20 points

Runner-up: Dave Hanneman, Findlay Courier, 12 points

Division 3 – All Other Daily Newspapers (4+ Editions Per Week)

Division 3, Game Stories

1. Mark Hazelwood, Norwalk Reflector

2. Pat Magers, Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune

3. Rick Thorp, Martins Ferry Times Leader

Division 3, News Stories

1. Rob McCurdy, Marion Star

2. Mark Hazelwood, Norwalk Reflector

3. Matt Horn, Fremont News-Messenger

Division 3, Feature Stories

1. Rob McCurdy, Marion Star

2. Mark Hazelwood, Norwalk Reflector

Tie-3. Zachary Holden, Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum

Tie-3. Matt Horn, Fremont News-Messenger

Division 3, Columns

1. Tom Wilson, Lancaster Eagle-Gazette (only category to receive a perfect score from both judges)

2. Rob McCurdy, Marion Star

3. Pat Magers, Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune

Division 3, Investigative/Enterprise Stories

1. Rob McCurdy, Marion Star

2. Matt Horn, Fremont News-Messenger

Division 3 Writer of the Year: Rob McCurdy, 22 points

Runner-up: Mark Hazelwood, Norwalk Reflector, 14 points

Division 4 – Non-Daily Newspapers and Specialty Publications

Division 4, Game Stories

1. Jarrod Ulrey, Columbus ThisWeek Newspapers

2. John Cummings, Miami Valley Newspapers

3. Scott Hennen, Columbus ThisWeek Newspapers

Division 4 – News Stories

1. Julie Billings, Pike County News Watchman

2. Jarrod Ulrey, Columbus ThisWeek Newspapers

Tie-3. Frank DiRenna, Columbus ThisWeek Newspapers

Tie-3. Dave Purpura, Columbus ThisWeek Newspapers

Division 4 – Feature Stories

1. Scott Hennen, Columbus ThisWeek Newspapers

2. Frank DiRenna, Columbus ThisWeek Newspapers

3. John Cummings, Miami Valley Newspapers

Division 4 – Columns

1. John Cummings, Miami Valley Newspapers

Tie-2. Dave Purpura, Columbus ThisWeek Newspapers

Tie-2. Jarrod Ulrey, Columbus ThisWeek Newspapers

Division 4 – Investigative/Enterprise Stories

1. Jarrod Ulrey, Columbus ThisWeek Newspapers

2. Julie Billings, Pike County News Watchman

Division 4 Writer of the Year: Jarrod Ulrey, Columbus ThisWeek Newspapers, 19.5 points

Runner-up: John Cummings, Miami Valley Newspapers, 13 points

Game Action Photography Division

1. Erin Caldwell, Sandusky Register

2. Joe Negrich, Maumee Mirror

3. Robert McGraw, Chillicothe Gazette

Portrait Photography Division

1. Robert McGraw, Chillicothe Gazette

Email at jbillings@newswatchman.com; follow on Twitter @ Julie_Billings

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