Black Bears take 2nd place at 3A State Journalism

Sterling High School State Journalism Contest participants Raegan Mantz, Dallas Lackey, Kylah Comley, Lindsay Gilmore, Grace Rowland, Alex Veliz, Veronica Norez, Morgan Anderson, Anna Tuszynski, and Baylee Maskil pose with the Jayhawk outside of the University of Kansas Student Union Saturday after competing against other student journalists from across the State. Sterling ended up taking 2nd Place in the contest.

LAWRENCE — For the second year in a row, Sterling High School journalism students took 2nd Place at the Kansas Scholastic Press AssociationState Journalism Contest, which took place Saturday at the University of Kansas.

To earn the 2nd Place spot, Sterling earned 11 points in the overall sweeps contest, coming up short against the 43 points scored by 1st Place winner Humboldt High School, which is located south of Iola.

Sweeps points are earned by students placing in each category. A 1st Place is worth five points, a 2nd Place is worth four points, a 3rd Place is worth three points, and an Honorable Mention is worth one point. Points are broken down by Kansas State High School Athletic Association size classifications, so Sterling competed against other 3A schools for the sweeps title.

However, during the individual competitions in which 11 students competed in 16 events, the Black Bears competed against schools from both 3A and 4A after earning a spot at State by placing at the Regional Contest held in February.

Senior Kylah Comley came away as the lone 3A/4A state champion for Sterling, taking 1st Place in News Writing.

Freshman Grace Rowland took second place in Online Photo Gallery. Her entry can be seen at

Comley also earned an Honorable Mention in Infographics, and junior Lindsay Gilmore brought home an Honorable Mention in Copy Editing.

“I am incredibly proud of all of the students,” journalism adviser Todd Vogts said. “They work hard every day, and their efforts were rewarded in Lawrence.”

Since Sterling is a Class 3A school, Vogts said his students competed against other 3A schools and 4A schools in the individual categories. Of all the 3A/4A schools competing, 27 placed in the contest, including Sterling.

“That takes the level of competition up a notch,” he said. “There are solid journalism programs in the 3A and 4A classifications, and there are a lot of them. All the students had to bring their A-game to this contest, and they did. In each category they only give out three honorable mentions in addition to the first, second and third designations. So, an honorable mention means you are still in the top six of Class 3A/4A student journalists. That’s outstanding.”

Other Black Bears competing at State included senior Baylee Maskil, senior Veronica Norez, senior Alex Veliz, junior Dallas Lackey, junior Lexi Rose, junior Anna Tuszynski, sophomore Raegan Mantz, and freshman Morgan Anderson.

Prior to the day’s competitions, the Black Bears were awarded a plaque proclaiming the All-Kansas designation the 2015 Cub Yearbook received earlier this year.

“Overall, I’m incredibly pleased with how the day went,” Vogts said. “We had a strong performance. For the seniors, it was their last time to compete in Lawrence. They will be missed next year. Their leadership has been phenomenal, and this particular group of seniors is special to me because they were freshmen my first year here at Sterling. They are leaving big shoes to fill, but next year we have a good staff selected. I expect to do well next year too.”

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About toddvogts 843 Articles
Todd R. Vogts, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of media at Sterling College in Kansas. Previously, he taught yearbook, newspaper, newsmagazine, and online journalism in various Kansas high schools, and he ran a weekly newspaper in rural Kansas. He continues to freelance as a professional journalist from time to time. Also, Vogts is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Journalism Education Association (JEA), and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), among others. He earned his Master Journalism Educator (MJE) certification from JEA in 2022. When he’s not teaching or writing, he runs his mobile disk jockey service and takes part in other entrepreneurial ventures. He can be reached at or via his website at