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Two Alliance members wins awards in SPJ Excellence in Journalism contest

NEW HAVEN, May 24 -- The Connecticut chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) held its annual Excellence in Journalism awards banquet on Thursday.

Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance members Vicki Fulkerson of The Day in New London and Gerry deSimas, Jr., of the Collinsville Press were recognized with two first place awards.

Fulkerson won a sports feature award for her story on Montville High cross country coach Steve LaBranche and his quest to complete the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning – four 100-mile races in four months and a sports news award about Cromwell High transgender athlete Andraya Yearwood, who won two events at the Class M outdoor track and field championships.

Fulkerson also won a second place award in the sports feature category about how Hurricane Maria hitting Puerto Rico cut short the pro basketball career for former Waterford High star Adily Martucci in October 2017.

DeSimas won first place awards for his column about a fundraising walk in May 2017 to honor the memory of a Canton Middle School student who passed away in a tragic backyard accident and a sports news award for a story about the first basketball game after Canton High students taunted students from Classical Magnet in Hartford in March 2017.

We're sharing the award winners in the sports categories. Some comments from the judges were included in some of the categories of the award-winning pieces.

Sports Column Regional A 1) Davina Hernandez struggles for refuge; Hartford Courant; Lori Riley Judge’s comment: “Well-told story that reminds us how one person's actions can affect so many others, including friends and family.” 2) UConn chasing a championship and a conference; Connecticut Post; Brian Koonz 3) Familiar, tragic story of addiction; Hartford Courant; Lori Riley

Regional B 1) Longway shines in a variety of roles; The Chronicle; Rich Zalusky 2) PAPI & CIRCUMSTANCE: State’s final football poll should stand on principle; Record-Journal; Bryant Carpenter

Magazine 1) Why I’ll never stop loving UConn basketball -- men and women; Connecticut Magazine; Michael Lee-Murphy

Hyperlocal 1) Friends, family come together to remember Ally and support each other; Collinsville, Gerry deSimas, Jr.

Sports Feature Regional A 1) Family's bond; Hartford Courant; Desmond Conner Judge’s comment: “Great reminder that we don't simply write about games, but about the people who play them. Puts a human face on a complex issue.” 2) Scrambling for solutions; Connecticut Post; Doug Bonjour 3) A new obsession; Hartford Courant; John Altavilla

Regional B 1) Montville coach tackles grand slam of distance running; The Day; Vickie Fulkerson 2) Devastation of Hurricane Maria puts Martucci’s pro career on hold; The Day; Vickie Fulkerson 3) Roxbury native and Army reservist pursues Olympic dream to compete in 2018; Register Citizen; Ben Lambert

Magazine 1) West Haven's Jimmy 'Quiet Storm' Williams carries us with him into the ring; Connecticut Magazine; Michael Lee-Murphy 2) High as a kite; Seasons Magazine; Patricia Ann Chaffee 3) Raising the flag; Seasons Magazine; Carol Latter

Broadcast 1) 26; News 12; Mark Sogofsky, Andrew Hurley, Marissa Alter

Hyperlocal 1) On the job with: Todd Salamone, golf course superintendent;; James Lomuscio Judge’s comment: “Good details on underappreciated role of man in charge of golf course maintenance. Good example of an ‘on the job’ type of article.” 2) In Memory of Floyd Parness; The Sound; PJ Foti 3) A home away from home; Wethersfield LIFE; Mara Dresner

Sports News Regional A 1) Crumbling foundations?; Hartford Courant; Dom Amore 2) Edsall won't sign contract; Hartford Courant; Mike Anthony 3) UConn sports on outside of big money conferences; Hartford Courant; Mike Anthony

Regional B 1) Transgender athlete takes spotlight in girls’ meet; The Day; Vickie Fulkerson

Hyperlocal 1) In shadow of the chanting discussion, Canton girls shut down Windham; Collinsville; Gerry deSimas, Jr. 2) North Haven football supports Amelia DePino in her battle against leukemia; North Haven Courier; Chris Piccirillo 3) Morgan Boys’ soccer reaches Class S final by defeating Old Saybrook in PKs; Harbor News; Chris Negrini

Sports Photo Regional A 1) Mid-air pass; Connecticut Post; Christian Abraham Judge’s comment: “Very strong, compelling image. Great caption.” 2) Guilford sweeps season series from Hand; New Haven Register; Arnold Gold

Regional B 1) Goalie hero; The Day; Sean D. Elliot Judges comment: “Wonderful, joyful celebration image with a very clean background.” 2) Incomplete pass; Stamford Advocate; Matthew Brown 3) To the floor; The Day; Dana Jensen

Hyperlocal 1) Out at home plate; The Source; Kelley Fryer Judge’s comment: “Great peak moment captured. Love seeing the background of the umpire and teammates watching.” 2) Airborne; Greenwich Time; Tyler Sizemore 3) Get outta my way; Branford Eagle; Bill O'Brien

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