Outdoors columnist Dennis Anderson and Star Tribune sports reporter Rachel Blount received National Headliner Award honors this week.

Anderson won the national Sports Column competition, with his range and style being applauded by the competition judges. They wrote: “Dennis Anderson shows us a different side of sports-column writing with his detail-filled style, resulting in articulate storytelling on topics not common to every-day sports writing. We wanted more!”

Some of Anderson’s highlights from 2018 included a recounting of a bear attack, a piece on long drives and new horses and a sharp opinion column on species die-off and the public’s indifference on the topic.

Blount won third-place in the Sports Writing competition. Her busy 2018 included a profile of Jessie Diggins ahead of the Winter Olympics, a story about a Triple Crown champion’s colt born on a Minnesota farm and a powerful profile of Maggie Nichols, the Star Tribune’s 2018 Sportsperson of the Year.

U softball climbs in polls

The Gophers softball team (32-10, 13-1) moved up to No. 16 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and No. 11 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball polls this week.

Minnesota plays a doubleheader at Wisconsin starting at 1 p.m. Wednesday, a series that was postponed from last week.

Future Gopher honored

Fargo Force forward Ben Meyers, who has signed with the Gophers, was named to the All-USHL second team.