The four winners of the FWAA’s 27th Annual Best Writing Contest announced today range in age from 29 to 82.
One first-place recipient is a seven-time winner (Ivan Maisel, 59, ESPN.com). Another winner (retired Bob Hammel, 82, Bloomington Herald-Times) hadn’t entered the contest in 23 years. A third winner (Jake Trotter, 38, ESPN.com) wrote about a star running back who made his mark in 1988 when the writer was seven years old. And the final winner (Mike DeFabo, 29, Anderson Herald-Bulletin) captured first place writing about Purdue football, but now is covering an NHL team.
DeFabo, who now works for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette covering the Penguins, collected a first in Game Story and also a second in Columns. Other writers who claimed double awards were Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports (two honorable mentions) and David Barron of the Houston Chronicle (two honorable mentions).
At the FWAA’s Annual Awards Breakfast on Jan. 13 in New Orleans at the CFP National Championship Game, first-place winners will receive footballs, certificates and cash prizes. Second and third-place finishers will receive certificates and cash prizes. Honorable mentions will receive certificates.
Click on the links below to read the first-place winning entries.
First Place — Mike DeFabo, Anderson Herald-Bulletin
Second Place — Michael Lev, Arizona Daily Star/Tucson.com
Third Place — David Teel, Daily Press
Honorable Mention — Alex Scarborough, ESPN.com; Bill Bender, Sporting News; Edward Aschoff, ESPN.com
First Place — Bob Hammel, Bloomington Herald-Times (retired)
Second Place — Ron Higgins, Times-Picayune/NOLA.com
Third Place— Paul Payne, The Montgomery Advertiser
Honorable Mention — Pete Thamel, Yahoo Sports; Dave Wilson, ESPN.com; Glenn Guilbeau, USA Today Network; David Barron, Houston Chronicle
First Place — Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com
Second Place — Mike DeFabo, Anderson Herald-Bulletin
Third Place — Harry Minium, odusports.com
Honorable Mention — Dick Gabriel, WKYT/Big Blue Insider; Pete Thamel, Yahoo Sports; Mark Rea, Buckeye Sports Bulletin
First Place — Jake Trotter, ESPN.com
Second Place — Christopher Walsh, SEC Country
Third Place – Adam Rittenberg, Heather Dinich, Tom VanHaaren, ESPN.com
Honorable Mention — Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; Matt Fortuna, The Athletic; David Barron, Houston Chronicle