Mail Tribune photographers Bob Pennell and Jamie Lusch captured first-place honors for their work and the Mail Tribune took second place in general excellence in a five-state regional competition.

Mail Tribune photographers Bob Pennell and Jamie Lusch captured first-place honors for their work and the Mail Tribune took second place in general excellence in a five-state regional competition.

In the Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists, Pennell took first place in the photo page category for "The Greatest Loss," a photo essay on the Ashland Oak Knoll fire, and Lusch took first in sports photography for "Showcase," a photo of an Ashland kayaker.

The Mail Tribune finished second overall in the general excellence category among daily newspapers with circulation of 25,000 or less. The winner was The Daily News in Longview, Wash. The competition was in SPJ's Region 10, which comprises Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

Other awards in the competition for Mail Tribune work went to editorial page editor Gary Nelson, second place in editorial writing; reporter Mark Freeman, third place in spot news reporting for "Rogue Rage," a story about the premature breaching of Gold Ray Dam; and sports editor Tim Trower, third place in sports reporting for "Powers Played through Heartache," a story about a high school golfer who lost her father to cancer.