Curt Conrad action photo

Richland Source sports reporter Curt Conrad is shown here shooting at event at the Value City Arena in Columbus.

JEROMESVILLE -- Richland Source sports reporter Curt Conrad was selected the state's sportswriter of the year Thursday night, according to the Ohio Prep Sportswriter's Association.

Conrad's work was judged tops in the biggest division in Ohio. The runner-up was Bailey Johnson, of the Columbus Dispatch.

"We are tremendously proud of Curt," said Richland Source publisher Jay Allred. "Anyone who has been around this area for any length of time knows the quality of his work for many years. It's thrilling to see him earn such a prestigious honor.

"Richland Source is grateful to have Curt as a pillar of our team."

Curt Conrad column mug logo

Curt Conrad

Conrad has worked at Richland Source for nine years. The Hillsdale High School graduate (Class of 1991) earned a journalism degree at Ohio University and began his sports writing career at the Ashland Times-Gazette. He later worked for the Mansfield News Journal before arriving at Richland Source in 2013.

"Curt is humble and self-effacing, which means he would never tell you that he basically 'invented' the Source’s sports department in 2013, when he joined us as a freelancer months after we launched. But that’s what he did. We were nowhere on sports, etc, and Curt saved us," Allred said.

"Curt, like all prep sportswriters, covers a part of community life that over 50% of American teenagers participate in. He’s an ambassador for news into the lives and families of these kids, and his work validates their sweat and effort."

The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association announced the results of its annual writing and photography contest in a statewide email blast. There were five writing categories in two divisions based on circulation size, as well as photography awards in one category. The contest included submissions from the 2021 calendar year and was judged by OPSWA members from around the state.

"The times a local newsroom covers a student athlete are often their very first interaction with a reporter. And it may be the only time they ever see themselves represented in media," Allred said. "That’s how important the work of prep sportswriters can be to these kids."

Rob McCurdy from the Marion Star was the winner in Division 2. McCurdy has worked at the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum and the Mansfield News Journal previously.

Writers and photographers were judged on a body of work that included three submissions per category.

The OPSWA membership roster now stands at 204 writers and photographers around the state, which marks the most in its 49-year history. Founded in 1972, the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association works to support and enhance the coverage of high school sports in Ohio and to recognize superior writing among sports journalists. In 2010, the OPSWA partnered with the Ohio High School Athletic Association to create a website, establish electronic communications and increase its membership and recognition.

The OPSWA website is located at http://www.ohsaa.org/news/OPSWA and includes the membership directory, officers information, hall of fame inductees and other updates.

2021 OPSWA SPORTSWRITERS OF THE YEAR

DIVISION 1 – Curt Conrad, Richland Source

DIVISION 2 – Rob McCurdy, Marion Star

2021 OPSWA Writing Contest, Division and Category Results

Two divisions based on circulation size. Point totals for Writer of the Year: 1st Place = 8 points, 2nd = 6 points, 3rd = 5 points, 4th = 3 points. Number of placers dependent on number of entries in each category.

Division 1 – Daily Circulation over 10,000 and Websites

Division 1, Game Stories

1. Jake Furr, Mansfield News Journal

2. Aaron Blankenship, PressProsMagazine.com

3. Curt Conrad, Richland Source

4. Eric Frantz, MaxPreps.com/Dayton Daily News

Division 1, News Stories

1. Bailey Johnson, Columbus Dispatch

2. Jake Furr, Mansfield News Journal

3. Curt Conrad, Richland Source

4. Jeff Gilbert, Dayton Daily News

Division 1, Feature Stories

1. Bailey Johnson, Columbus Dispatch

2. Tom Nader, Ravenna Record-Courier

3. Randy Roberts, Defiance Crescent-News

4. Jim Naveau, Lima News

5. Steve Blackledge, PressProsMagazine.com

Division 1, Columns

1. Tom Nader, Ravenna Record-Courier

2. Steve Blackledge, PressProsMagazine.com

3. Aaron Gross, Defiance Crescent-News

Division 1, Investigative/Enterprise Stories

1. Curt Conrad, Richland Source

2. Dave Hanneman, Findlay Courier

Division 1 Writer of the Year: Curt Conrad, Richland Source, 19 points

Runner-up: Bailey Johnson, Columbus Dispatch (16 points)

Division 2 – All Other Daily Newspapers (4+ Editions Per Week)

Division 2, Game Stories

1. Rob McCurdy, Marion Star

2. Matt Horn, Fremont News Messenger

3. Lonnie McMillen, Upper Sandusky Daily Chief-Union

4. Scott Halasz, Xenia Daily Gazette

5. Aaron Dorksen, Holmes County Bargain Hunter

Division 2, News Stories

1. Matt Horn, Fremont News Messenger

2. Julie Billings, Pike County News Watchman

3. Jarrod Ulrey, Columbus ThisWeek News

4. Aaron Dorksen, Holmes County Bargain Hunter

5. Scott Halasz, Xenia Daily Gazette

Division 2, Feature Stories

1. Rick Noland, Medina Gazette

2. Mark Hazelwood, Norwalk Reflector

3. John Behm, Cleveland Lutheran High School Association

4. Aaron Dorksen, Holmes County Bargain Hunter

Division 2, Columns

1. Rob McCurdy, Marion Star

2. Rick Noland, Medina Gazette

3. Mark Hazelwood, Norwalk Reflector

Division 2, Investigative/Enterprise Stories

1. Rob McCurdy, Marion Star

2. Mark Hazelwood, Norwalk Reflector

3. Jarrod Ulrey, Columbus ThisWeek News

Division 2 Writer of the Year: Rob McCurdy, Marion Star (24 points)

Runner-up: Mark Hazelwood, Norwalk Reflector (17 points)

Game Action Photography Division

1. Julie Billings, Pike County News Watchman

2. Erin Caldwell, Sandusky Register

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