top of page

Connecticut chapter of SPJ names 2021 Excellence in Journalism winners

Connecticut Sports Media Alliance

The Connecticut chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists recently announced the winners of their annual Excellence in Journalism competition for stories, photos and content produced in 2021.

Two members of the Connecticut Sports Media Alliance won awards.

Vickie Fulkerson of The Day of New London won first place in the Sports Feature competition for Regional A division – the largest media organizations in the state – for her story on NFA’s Valeria Yraita-Zavallos and her journey growing up as an immigrant from Peru.

Gerry deSimas won a first place in the Sports News competition for Hyperlocal publications for his story at Collinsville about the Avon High football team winning a Central Connecticut Conference divisional title – an impressive achievement considering that the program struggled to field a team when the current seniors were freshmen.

He also won second place awards in Region B for a story at Connecticut Wrestling Online about a state wrestling official earning a spot at the NCAA Division I national championship tournament and two second place awards for stories at Collinsville Press in the hyperlocal division.

All the sports-related awards are listed below.

2021 Excellence in Journalism contest winners

Sports-related awards in the 2021 Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) writing and photography contest.


Regional A 1) A Daughter’s Promise: Sheehan helps St. Joseph to title days after mother loses battle with cancer; Hearst CT Media; Jeff Jacobs 2) Baylor coach Kim Mulkey’s COVID comments ignorant and dangerous; Hearst CT Media; Jeff Jacobs 3) Like father, like son, both knew UConn football was a challenge Jim Mora couldn’t resist; Hartford Courant; Dom Amore

Regional B 1) Gildea, Strand shared a special bond; The Chronicle; Mike Sypher 2) Rich kids sports offer road to Ivies; Greenwich Time; David Rafferty 3) When it comes to sports gambling, the game is rigged; Greenwich Time; David Rafferty


Regional A 1) NFA senior Valeria Yraita-Zevallos draws strength from the women who raised her; The Day; Vickie Fulkerson 2) UConn’s top 5 recruiting class five years later. Things didn’t go as planned; Hearst CT Media; David Borges 3) The Equus Effect, an experiential equine program, helps veterans, first responders, frontline health care workers who have experienced trauma; Hartford Courant; Lori Riley

Regional B 1) ‘Big Guy’ leaves a lasting legacy; The Chronicle; Mike Sypher 2) Preparation, practice have helped Nick Grosso get to the NCAA tournament; Connecticut Wrestling Online; Gerry deSimas, Jr. 3) A guardian over all of us: Maloney’s Jaylon Nixon; Record-Journal; Bryant Carpenter

Hyperlocal 1) She just wanted to play (Joan Joyce); Valley Courier; Pem McNerney 2) Remembering Newington co-op’s historic 5 OT win;; Gerry deSimas, Jr. 3) Being grateful a key for Helstein during pandemic; Greenwich Sentinel (Page 14); Paul Silverfarb

Magazine 1) Okwandu relishes recollection of UConn title; Today Magazine (page 2); Nishant Gopalachar 2) Raising the game: Sammy Davis, Jr., took Connecticut’s signature golf event to new heights; Seasons Magazine; Andrew Kelsey 3) The beloved Hartford Whalers: A team that continues to inspire to this day; Seasons Magazine; Dennis House

Broadcast 1) Adaptive blind baseball; NBC 30; Matt Finkel 2) Grandma Marge; News 12; Marissa Alter, Jim Mennino 3) A perfect game; NBC 30; Matt Finkel

SPORTS NEWS Regional A 1) Bueckers will get paid; Hearst CT Media; Paul Doyle 2) COVID lab at UConn: How a group of scientists made UConn athletics possible this season; Hearst CT Media; Mike Anthony 3) UConn pitcher Justin Willis, family survived harrowing escape from collapsed condos in Surfside, FL; Hartford Courant; Dom Amore

Regional B 1) Coventry’s Prior has plenty in reserve; Journal Inquirer; Adam Betz 2) UConn offer serves as motivation for Windsor football senior Samuels; Journal Inquirer; Kyle Maher

Hyperlocal 1) Avon stops Lewis Mills to win CCC Tier 4 title and secure a playoff berth;; Gerry deSimas, Jr. 2) Avon beats Wallingford to win first American Legion baseball state championship;; Gerry deSimas, Jr. 3) Hand defeats Guilford 43-18, qualifies for playoffs; The Source; Dean Bibens

Broadcast 1) Play like Danni; News 12; Marissa Alter, Jim Mennino 2) UHart moves to Division III; NBC 30; Matt Finkel

Sports Photo

Regional A 1) Out of the box; The Day; Sean D. Elliot 2) Sweet leap; Hartford Courant; Mark Mirko 3) Pass defended; The Day; Sean D. Elliot

Regional B 1) Interference; Record-Journal; Dave Zajac 2) Manchester beats Peabody; Journal Inquirer; Jim Michaud 3) Endzone elation; Record-Journal; Dave Zajac

Hyperlocal 1) A flat out; The Sound; Kelley Fryer

Non-Page 1 layout

Regional B 1) UConn basketball preview; Journal Inquirer; Hollister Breslin

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page