Alabama Media Group Sports Staff Wins 10 ASWA Writing Awards
The Alabama Media Group athletic staff took home 10 awards, including five top performers, at the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s annual awards banquet on Sunday night.
ASWA has named Steve Savarese, outgoing Executive Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, its first recipient of the ASWA Presidents Award, which is presented to the individual who displays outstanding community service activities and the overall excellence while exemplifying the spirit of athletics in the state.
AL.com, meanwhile, scanned three categories:
- Best Power 5 or NFL Football Program
- Best basketball feature
- Best Company / Explanatory Story
Creg Stephenson, Ben Thomas, Tom Green and Mark Heim all won awards.
Stephenson has won four awards, including Best Baseball Film in its history, “The Story of Al Worthington, who once quit baseball for stealing signs.”
He won second place in the Best Power 5 football program or in the NFL column for its history, “What if Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant had accepted the position of the Miami Dolphins in 1970?”
His story, “’He put recruiting on the front page;’ Catching up with Forrest Davis, ”took second place in the category for best general football feature.
Stephenson, who covers South Alabama Rhythm among other things, also received a second prize in the business / explanation category for his play “From All the Morality of the Thing; The Oakland Raiders boycott of mobile gaming in 1963 was an early example of athlete empowerment.
Green, who covers Auburn’s pace, won first place in the best Power 5 or NFL football program in history, “Tega Wanogho almost walked away from football. Sacrifice, the family brought him back won two each.
It also won first place in Best Corporate / Explanatory Story for Its History, “Another Kind of Game Day for SEC Live Mascots in 2020”.
It secured a second place in the basketball feature film category for its history, “Former Mr. Basketball Kerron Johnson stranded in Romania during pandemic as his pregnant wife awaits the birth of her first child in Alabama. “
Thomas, who covers high school sports, won first place for best sports reporting writing on a deadline, prep or other amateur for his article, “Thompson scores 10 points in the final 18 seconds, stuns Auburn in the match for the 7A title. “
He also placed second in column writing for the following pieces:
Heim took top honors in the basketball feature film category with his story, “COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the spring and summer basketball circuit. “
Other awards presented were Mr. Baseball at Maddux Bruns of UMS-Wright, Miss Softball at Annabelle Widra of Spain Park and Emma Dempsey of Belgreen won the Jimmy Smothers Courage Award for overcoming adversity.
For Athletes of the Year, the winners were Derrick Henry (pro), Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (amateur), Samford quarterback Liam Welch (junior college) and Central Alabama golfer Hayden Carner (community college).
Aaron Suttles of The Athletic won the Herby Kirby Memorial Award for History of the Year for “Landon Dickerson played in National Championship game after tearing ACL”.
ASWA Writing Contest Winners
Best sports history writing on a professional or university event
1. Aaron Suttles, The Athletic: Landon Dickerson played in the National Championship game after tearing the ACL
2. Christopher Walsh, BamaCentral: As Alabama basketball celebrated its greatest legend, another emerged
Best sports report writing on a deadline, preparation or other amateur
1. Ben Thomas, AL.com: Thompson scores 10 points in final 18 seconds, stuns Auburn in 7A title game
2. Stacy Long, Montgomery Announcer: Calhoun and Central-Hayneville rekindle their long-standing rivalry with high school basketball
1. Christopher Walsh, BamaCentral
– Wendell Hudson the perfect choice for the first jersey to retire in Alabama
– College football can only blame themselves for unleashing Alabama’s attacking potential
– Jaylen Waddle’s injury is not just a blow to Alabama, but all of college football
– With clutch consistency, DeVonta Smith will never be overlooked again
2. Ben Thomas, AL.com
– The clear message for the 2020 HS football season: Savor the moment
– Safe to shore: Hurricane brings more challenges, chances to grow
– The story behind Thompson’s unique comeback victory
-Choose joy: look back and learn from week 1
Best Power 5 or NFL Football Program
1. Tom Green, AL.com: Tega Wanogho almost quit football. Sacrifice, the family brought it back
2. Creg Stephenson AL.com: What if Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant accepted the job for the Miami Dolphins in 1970?
Best Football Film, General
1. Tony Tsoukalas, BamaInsider: Will Reichard, Hoover High School kicker with coach Josh Niblett
2. Creg Stephenson, AL.com: “He put recruiting on the front page; Catching up with Forrest Davis
Best basketball feature
1. Mark Heim, AL.com: COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the spring and summer basketball circuit
2. Tom Green, AL.com: Former Mr. Basketball Kerron Johnson stranded in Romania during pandemic as his pregnant wife awaits the birth of her first child in Alabama
Best baseball feature
1. Creg Stephenson, AL.com: The Story of Al Worthington, who once quit baseball for stealing signs
2. Gregg Dewalt, Florence TimesDaily: Former Hackleburg baseball players remember the deadly 2011 tornado and the playoff series they played five days later
Best overall characteristic
1. Christopher Walsh, BamaCentral: For the Alabama pitcher, “BC” doesn’t just stand for his initials, but also “Beat Cancer”
2. Christopher Walsh, BamaCentral: Alabama’s Next Upcoming Superstar Is Called Montana
Best Company / Explanatory Story
1. Tom Green, AL.com: Another Kind of Game Day for SEC Live Mascots in 2020
2. Creg Stephenson, AL.com: “The whole morality of it; The Oakland Raiders boycott of mobile gaming in 1963 was an early example of athlete empowerment
Best Investigation Story
1. Tyler Martin, BamaCentral: Former Crimson Tide Gymnast Tia Kiaku Explains Why She Left Alabama
1. Tyler Martin, BamaCentral: SEC Cancels Men’s Basketball Tournament, Suspends Spring Sports Due to COVID-19
2. Joey Blackwell, BamaCentral: Alabama Athletes March Against Racial Injustice
1. Christopher Walsh, BamaCentral: The Saban Top 100, ranking of the best players in Alabama of the Nick Saban era
Best column or feature, not daily
1. Arthur Mack, Call News: Saints train great Tate to retire at 78
2. Tommy Hicks, Lagniappe: CFP proves once again that it is not open to everyone
Best gaming story, not daily
1. Tommy Hicks, Lagniappe: Spanish Fort finds disappointment again in title match
2. Tommy Hicks, Lagniappe: St. Paul’s wins 5A State Championship
Herby Kirby Memorial Award (Story of the Year)
Aaron Suttles, The Athletic: Landon Dickerson played in the National Championship game after tearing the ACL