OAKLAND -- Bay Area News Group photographers received top honors for sports images in an annual regional news contest for photos taken in 2012.

Bay Area News Group photographers received 15 awards in the competition sponsored by the San Francisco Bay Area Press Photographers Association. The awards were the most of any news organization in the 39th annual contest.

Jose Carlos Fajardo won first place in the General News category for a photo of the UC Berkeley marching band. He also received a second-place award in the Sports Feature category for an image taken at an Oakland Raiders preseason game and second place in the Sports Action category for a photo of San Francisco 49ers players tackling the St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson.

Joining Fajardo in the sweep of the Sports Feature category were Karl Mondon, who received a second-place award for a photo of the U.S. women's Olympics team soccer game against France and a third-place award for his shot of Hungarian water polo players in their bronze medal match.

Nhat V. Meyer took an award of excellence for his shot of the women's soccer gold medal match during the Olympics. Mondon also received an award of excellence in the Best San Francisco Giants Season Photo(s) category.

Ray Chavez's photographs about 5-year-old Gabriel Martinez Jr., who was killed at his parents' taco truck in Oakland, received a third-place award in the News Picture Story category. Chavez also received third place and an award of excellence in the Best Oakland Athletics Season Photo(s) category.


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Two multimedia projects won awards.

Dai Sugano received a second-place award in the Best Mini-Doc Multimedia Package (longer than 2¿1/2 minutes) category for "Gayla's Goodbye," which was part of the Bay Area News Group's yearlong Cost of Dying series that examined the emotional and financial costs of end-of-life care.

LiPo Ching won second place in the Best Short Multimedia Package (less than 2¿1/2 minutes) category for a story about Bay Area table tennis Olympian Ariel Hsing.

In the Portrait/Personality category, Jim Gensheimer won third place for a portrait of Olympian Alysia Montano; and John Green received an award of excellence for a photo of Brian Wong, CEO of the Kiip mobile rewards network.

Patrick Tehan took home an award of excellence in Features for a photograph of Fuego Nuevo Ballet Folklórico Mexicano performing in San Jose.

Justin Sullivan, of Getty Images, was named Ken McLaughlin Photographer of the Year; and Dean Smith, of KGO-TV ABC-7, was named the Ken McLaughlin News Video Photographer of the Year.

Gil Riego Jr., of San Francisco State, won top student honors as recipient of the Greg Robinson Memorial Award; and James Tensuan, of San Jose State, took the Luci S. Williams Houston Memorial Award, named for the slain Mercury News photographer.

The awards were presented during a banquet in Oakland on Sunday night.