Judged by Matt Gade. Judge’s comments are at the bottom of this post.
The uniqueness to a knee to the face is what elevated the first place above the others. While the crop feels a little too square, perhaps a little more room on the sides and come down slightly from the top to just above Gobert’s hair line would balance it a little more.
The body language, along with that peak moment of catching a running back in the air while being tackled was great. Also, while the yellow is a bit bothersome, the rest of the background is well compressed and non-distracting for to the subject matter.
Third place was a nice peak moment on the catch. A slighter tighter crop, from the right and top could clean up that orange distraction in the corner and just tighten it up a little bit. Just a solid image.
The faces and layering of this image made this image worth recognizing. The lack of a true peak sports actionable moment is why it stayed out of placing, but is still a great photo. Although a crop from the top could help eliminate the orange coolers and from the bottom to just below “Memphis” would help in tightening up the photo and eliminating some unnecessary empty space.
Loved this high school football image. Only unfortunate that the photographer captured the back of the player instead of the front, that makes the difference between an honorable mention and a possible first place winner. The action is great, but lack of faces and the ball hidden on the opposite side of the player is what hurt the photo.
There was a great soccer goal image entered in this category, but unfortunately was clearly sports feature image rather than an action photo and because it was in the wrong category didn’t get recognized when it traditionally would have.