Patrick Smith, freelance for Getty Images
We Were Penn State: In a Pennsylvania town known as “Happy Valley” football is religion. But in 2011, a scandal exposed State College for sin. Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, once the winningest coach in major college football, a title he received just 10 days before he was fired in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, died at the age of 85, on Jan. 22, 2012 in State College, Pa. Paterno ended his historic career marred in scandal, as former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 charges of child sex abuse five-months to the date of Paterno’s death. This news shocked and horrified the Penn State community and, on a national level, cast light on the nature of pedophilia and the silence and denial that often accompany it. Six months after his death, the Paterno statue was removed and the worst scandal in the history of college sports led the NCAA to impose unprecedented penalties against the Penn State football program for its involvement in the sexual abuse scandal that centered on Sandusky. Among other sanctions, Penn State football wins from 1998 to 2011 were vacated, which meant that Paterno, who oversaw the Nittany Lions’ football program for nearly 46 years, was no longer is the sport’s all-time winningest coach. Loss and celebration, shock and confusion, these are the images that document the aforementioned, and emotions, that consumed the school’s psyche during a tranquil year in 2012, and that took an emotional toll on the Penn State community that left them in disbelief following Paterno’s death.
Patrick Smith, freelance for The Baltimore Sun
Nightmare at Bull Run: What many call the “The Toughest Three Miles in Cross-Country” the Maryland Public Schools Cross-Country State Championship at “Bull Run” is a nightmare race for its participants. A grueling course, boasting slower than average times, it’s noted for challenging: hills, twists, turns, and a steep ravine known as “The Dip.” Runners start the course shoulder-to-shoulder at the start, stretching out by midway, only to find themselves at the end, laying side-by-side with teammates and their competition, as they gasp for oxygen.
Andrew Harnik, The Washington Times
The Rookie: Hopes and pressure soared for Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III as he entered the NFL. While almost all NFL rookies struggle in their first season, Griffin electrified his new team and his new fans. He showed flashes of brilliance on the field, leading the Redskins to their first playoff appearance in years, only to come up short with a devastating knee injury that throws his future in the NFL into question.
Award of Excellence
David Burnett, freelance for Contact Press Images
London 2012 in Black and White: Views in black and white of the 2012 London Olympic Games, seen mainly from stepped back positions, trying to show the viewer what the scene looked like in the stadium.
Award of Excellence
Shutdown of US Government: Tea Partier Freshman Congressman Ted Yoho Leads the Charge Toward Fiscal Conservative
Matt McClain, The Washington Post
Derby Days: The art of creating something only to destroy it is on full display during a demolition derby. Beginning in the 1950’s, the sport can still be found at small venues throughout the United States. Although it is ingrained in small communities and passed down from fathers to sons, people find it harder to spend money on cars that they plan on wrecking and the price of scrap metal is making it harder to find potential derby cars.