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Connecticut chapter of SPJ names 2020 Excellence in Journalism winners

The Connecticut chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) released their annual Excellence in Journalism awards on Thursday.

The awards, for work done in 2020, were announced Thursday afternoon. Two Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance members brought home awards.

Gerry deSimas., Jr., of Collinsville received first awards in the Hyperlocal division for stories in the Sports Feature category about baseball players returning to the diamond after the long break due to the pandemic and in the Sports News category for a story about Canton’s historic conference championship game win over Granby days in February, days before the pandemic shut down sports.

Vickie Fulkerson of the Day of New London was recognized with a second place award in the Sports Feature category in Regional A division. She wrote about former members of the Montville High girls cross country program that won consecutive Class M titles each year from 1978-83 and what they are up to in 2020.

We're pleased to share with you the winners in the respective sports categories.

Sports Column

Regional A

(1) Connecticut idol George Springer must find a way to repair his reputation as Astros cheating scandal; Hartford Courant; Dom Amore

(2) Room in lineup for No. 42; Connecticut Post; Ken Dixon

(3) Born with one hand, this Connecticut high school basketball player is defying the odds; Hartford Courant; Dom Amore

Regional B

(1) Paying tribute to the late great Ted Moynihan; Record-Journal; Bryant Carpenter

(2) It’s time to create the Mets way; Greenwich Time; David Rafferty

(3) Attending New Britain Bees baseball game during pandemic; New Britain Herald; David Glovach

Sports Feature


(1) Area baseball players savor the chance to play again;; Gerry deSimas, Jr.

(2) Dan Rooney inducted into Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame; Glastonbury LIFE; Mara Dresner

Regional A

(1) This Suffield couple attended thousands of Connecticut high school basketball games; Hartford Courant; Lori Riley

(2) Where are they now? Montville girls’ cross country put together a long run of dominance; The Day; Vickie Fulkerson

(3) It was 25 years ago when the 1995 UConn women beat Tennessee for their first title; Hartford Courant; Alexa Philippou

Regional B

(1) Thanksgiving memories burrow deep, and they’ll resume next year; Record-Journal; Bryant Carpenter

(2) CCSU quarterback Aaron Winchester prepares for NFL Draft; New Britain Herald; David Glovach

(3) Former Aquinas, St. Paul soccer star Bajek talks recovery, redemption; New Britain Herald; Ryan Chichester

Regional C (Magazine)

(1) Staying the course; Seasons Magazine; John Torsiello

(2) A horse of another color; WAG Magazine; Phil Hall

(3) Eyes on the prize; Connecticut Voice; John Torsiello

Regional D (Broadcast)

(1) A hawk flying high; WFSB; Elliott Polakoff

(2) Believe: Farmington’s toughest opponent; NBC 30; Matt Finkel

(3) Setting the standard; WFSB; Elliott Polakoff

Sports News


(1) Canton outlasts Granby for historic conference championship win;; Gerry deSimas, Jr.

(2) Claiming the title; Guilford Courier; Dean Bibens

(3) CIAC cancels state tournaments; North Haven Courier; Chris Piccirillo

Regional A

(1) Dealing with travel restrictions; Hartford Courant; Alexa Philippou

(2) Steve Dalkowski, flame-throwing figure of baseball lore, dies of coronavirus in New Britain; Hartford Courant; Dom Amore

(3) Black runners in Connecticut didn’t need Ahmaud Arbery as a warning: ‘You’re a target’; Hartford Courant; Lori Riley

Regional B

(1) In coda to perfection, Southington ends season with CCC regional crown; Record-Journal; Bryant Carpenter

(2) Jack Cochran talks New Britain football job, the controversy surrounding him applying; New Britain Herald; David Glovach

(3) No. 4 Xavier rallies to beat No. 2 Simsbury for Class L championship; Connecticut Wrestling Online; Gerry deSimas, Jr.

Regional D (Broadcast)

(1) A special meeting; WFSB; Elliott Polakoff

Sports Photo


(1) The winner; The Sound; Kelley Fryer

Regional A

(1) League champions; The Day; Sean D. Elliot

(2) Finish line emotion; Hartford Courant; Brad Horrigan

(3) Hearts fend off Crusaders; Waterbury Republican-American; Bill Shettle

Regional B

(1) “Wrestling: 10, 9, 8, 7 — boom! Carr lands late takedown to capture State Open crown”; Record-Journal; Aaron Flaum

(2) Headed for home; Journal Inquirer; Jim Michaud

(3) Volleyball player; The Hour; Erik Trautmann

Other sports-related award winners

Video Storytelling

Regional A

(3) Volleyball with masks;; Pete Paguaga

Regional B

(2) ‘Let us play!’ is the cry heard ‘round Hartford as players rally at Capitol; Record-Journal; Aaron Flaum

All 2020 Connecticut chapter SPJ awards

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