ORLANDO, Fla. â€” Gazette Assistant Sports Editor Rick Noland is among 10 finalists for best columnist in the nation in the annual writing contest sponsored by the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Ten selections in each of the six writing categories, which are broken into five divisions based on circulation, were announced Wednesday. Placers one through five in each category will be announced in June at the APSE convention in Minneapolis, with the remaining five receiving honorable mention honors.
Noland, who has earned 133 writing awards since joining The Gazette in 1983, submitted five columns published in 2007 in the under-40,000 circulation category.
One dealt with the death of longtime Medina sports figure Harry Orr, while another was on 1956 Olympic boxing gold medalist Pete Rademacher coping with the death of his wife of 53 years, Margaret.
Nolandâ€™s other submissions were a piece on the lack of student support for the Brunswick girls basketball team at a regional semifinal game, a story on Wadsworthâ€™s football team winning the Suburban League title and an article on Tony Stockman returning from a professional basketball league in Germany to be with his infant son.
This is the fourth time Noland, 46, has been honored by the APSE.
In 2003, he finished first in the nation in the game story category. That article was on former Cavalier Ricky Davis trying to get the last rebound he needed for a triple-double by intentionally missing a shot at the opponentâ€™s basket.
Noland finished second in the game story category in 1999 for a piece on Wadsworthâ€™s Kate Lyren thinking about butterflies while shooting pressure-packed free throws in a regional tournament contest.
In 1997, Noland placed fourth in the feature story category for an article on Medina High coach John Carrickâ€™s battle to overcome a massive stroke.
Kevin Aprile, the sports editor at The (Elyria) Chronicle-Telegram, The Gazetteâ€™s sister paper, is among the 10 finalists in the best game story category in the under-40,000 division.