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Cherokee County Herald's Shannon Fagan wins top award from Alabama Sports Writers Association

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MOBILE, Alabama — Shannon Fagan of the Cherokee County Herald received the Alabama Sports Writers Association's highest writing award.

Fagan was presented with the award and two others Sunday night at the group's 44th annual convention.

The Herby Kirby Award is given in memory of longtime Birmingham Post-Herald sports writer Herby Kirby, who died in the press box after covering Notre Dame's 24-23 national football championship win over Alabama in the 1973 Sugar Bowl.

The Tuscaloosa News took home a convention-high eight awards.

Three journalists won two awards apiece, including Tom Green of the Opelika-Auburn News and Tommy Deas and Cecil Hurt, both of The Tuscaloosa News. The other winners included Rob Ketcham of the Cullman Times, Tony Tsoukalas and Robert DeWitt of The Tuscaloosa News and Christopher Walsh of Saturday Down South.

A list of the award winners honored Sunday in Mobile:

Best Sports Story, Writing On A Deadline, Professional Or College Event

Co-Runners Up: Teddy Couch, The Gadsden Times, JSU Tops Eastern Illinois to clinch DVC title; Christopher Walsh, Saturday Down South, Crimson Tide will remember 2014 SEC title as truly something special

Winner: Tommy Deas, The Tuscaloosa News, Longtime University of Alabama gymnastics coach Sarah Patterson retires

Best Sports Story, Writing On A Deadline, Prep Or Other Amateur

Runner Up: Tommy Deas, The Tuscaloosa News, Hale County girls basketball team playing after the death of a teammate

Winner: Tom Green, Opelika-Auburn News, Rashaan Evans signs with Alabama

Best Column, Four Columns Any time Of The Year

Runner Up: Mike Szvetitz, Opelika-Auburn News

Winner: Cecil Hurt, The Tuscaloosa News.

Best Football Feature Without A Deadline

Runner Up: James Crepea, Montgomery Advertiser, Chris Davis Jr. journey to the NFL far longer than 109 yards

Winner: Tom Green, Opelika-Auburn News, David Eastridge battles back from car accident, coma

Best Basketball Feature Without A Deadline

Runner Up: Tommy Deas, The Tuscaloosa News, Former University of Alabama basketball player is reunited with his SEC Championship ring four decades after losing it

Winner: Rob Ketcham, The Cullman Times, Good Hope's Cofer shakes off visual impairment, blazes trail to scoring milestone, Eli Thomas Award

Best Baseball Feature Without A Deadline

Co-Runners Up: Stacy Long, Montgomery Advertiser, Outfielder Ty Morrison endures the same surgery and rehab that derailed his brother's Olympic decathlon hopes; D.C. Reeves, The Tuscaloosa News, Feature on heckling fans in right field at University of Alabama baseball games

Winner: Tony Tsoukalas, The Tuscaloosa News, Feature on Tim Anderson, who went from high school kid with one junior college scholarship offer to first-round draft pick

Best Outdoors Feature Without A Deadline

Runner Up: Kim Craft, The Gadsden Times, Tharp leads Bassmaster Classic while Carden passes Alabama anglers

Winner: Robert DeWitt, The Tuscaloosa News, Red Snapper

Best General Sports Feature Without A Deadline

Runner Up: Tommy Deas, The Tuscaloosa News, Death of University of Alabama swimmer John Servati

Winner: Cecil Hurt and Tommy Deas, The Tuscaloosa News, University of Alabama reverses decision and reaches out to NCAA to support immediate eligibility of transfer women's basketball player after she alleges Title IX violations

Best Enterprise Story

Runner Up: Mike Szvetitz, Opelika-Auburn News, Auburn's athletic budget grows to $100 million-plus

Winner: Christopher Walsh, Saturday Down South, Reclaiming the crown; How Alabama can get back to the apex of college football

Best Story or Series Writing, Column - Non Daily

Runner Up: Shannon Fagan, Cherokee County Herald, -"Just one of the guys" Sophomore Kaitlyn Rogers kicking for Spring Garden this season

Winner: Shannon Fagan, Cherokee County Herald, "A Starr at Cinderella's Ball" Centre native receives "No Excuses" award in Washington

Best Story or Series Writing, Non Daily, Game Story

Runner Up: Shannon Fagan, Cherokee County Herald, "Drought ended" Spring Garden rallies, hold on to defeat Cedar Bluff, 21-20

Winner: Shannon Fagan, Cherokee County Herald, "Ready for Round 3" Cedar Bluff survives shootout against Hackleburg, 56-48

Best Headlines

Runner Up: Michael Wetzel, The Decatur Daily

Winner: Staff, The Tuscaloosa News

Best Sports Layout

Runner Up: Michael Wetzel, The Decatur Daily

Winner: The Tuscaloosa News

Best Supplement or Special Edition:

Runner Up: The Gadsden Times, Kickoff with The Times

Winner: The Tuscaloosa News, Reboot, Alabama makes fresh start for the playoff era

Herby Kirby Memorial Award

Best Story From All Categories Above

Shannon Fagan, Cherokee County Herald, "A Starr at Cinderella's Ball" Centre native receives "No Excuses" award in Washington

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