Tying with the Smithville Times for the best newspaper in south Texas in the South Texas Press Association, the Hays Free Press ended up taking second in sweepstakes after two tie-breaking rounds.
Both newspapers received 725 points in the contest.
The Hays Free Press received first place in categories of Feature Writing (Kim Hilsenbeck), Sports Coverage, Lifestyle Page and Page Design. Of the feature writing, the judges wrote, “Breath of fresh air. Hilsenbeck writes with feeling and fluidity. A touching glimpse at the struggles of Linda and Roberto face.”
Second place certificates were awarded to Moses Leos III and Lincoln Ramirez for their sports photos of the Lady Rebels on the road to the state softball tournament (Leos) and of a young football player jumping through blocks (Ramirez).
The Hays Free Press received third place in General Excellence, News Writing, Editorial Writing, Humor Columns (Clint Younts) and Headline Writing.
Leos received Honorable Mention in the Journalist of the Year category.
Comments from judges, who are members of the Louisiana Press Association, about Younts’s humor column, “Clever vegan piece. Great Uncle Bob tribute. You are an asset to the paper and community.”
Hays Free Press sports coverage received glowing praise. “Great layout, good quote boxes. Well written, good photos. It was clearly the best to me.”
And about the Lifestyle pages, the judges wrote, “Entry shows thoughtful planning and sections packed with informative local content. This is a clear winner.”