FARGO, N.D. (AP) _ Chris Wheeler of KARE in Minneapolis was named the 1986 National Press Photographer Association's television photographer of the year, the group announced Monday.

Wheeler won top honors in the categories of general news and news features in the association's annual contest.

A total of 228 television photographers entered the contest, which was judged at WDAY-TV in Fargo.

Tressa Verna of NBC in Washington was given an editing award for her work on a piece entitled ''Great Race.'' KUSA in Denver was named the station of the year.

Here are the winners in various categories:

Spot news: 1, Hormel Riot, Brian Augustin, KARE Minneapolis; 2, Bartlesville Flood, Tim Yoder, KOTV Tulsa, Okla.; 3, Space Shuttle Visitor, Manny Sotelo, KUSA, Denver; Honorable mention, Five Alarm Fire, Dan Wood, KUSA Denver.

General news: 1, Tony Anoka, Chris Wheeler, KARE Minneapolis; 2, Farmtown Hoopla, Chris Wheeler, KARE; 3, Oak City, John C.P. Goheen, KUTV Salt Lake City; Honorable mention, Homeless, John C.P. Goheen, and Dorothy, David Delozier, KUSA Denver.

Sports: 1, Night of Championship, Jay Jennings, WRAL Raleigh, N.C.; 2, Moto Cross Rider, Dan Wood, KUSA Denver.; 3, Blind Golfer, Gary Stafford, KPNX Phoenix.; Honorable mention, Boston Celtic Fantasy, John Baynard, WNEV Boston.

News features: 1, And To All A Good Night, Chris Wheeler, KARE Minneapolis; 2, Earl Wadsworth, John C.P. Goheen, KUTV Salt Lake City; 3, Light Sculpture, Paul Staat, KOTV Tulsa; Honorable mention, Heat Essay, Michael Simon, KWTV Oklahoma City.

Features: 1, School, Don Cadorette, KYTV Springfield, Mo.; 2, Crop Dusters, David Dellaria, KRON San Francisco; 3, A Man And His Town, Robert Brandon, Denver free lancer; Honorable mention, Bluegrass, Patrick Slattery, WSMV Nashville.

Magazine features: 1, Shadows and Great Race, Lou Zapata, NBC, Burbank, Calif.; 2, Matterhorn Climb, Chris Wheeler, KARE Minneapolis.; 3, Portrait of a Desert Sea, John C.P. Goheen, KUTV Salt Lake City.

Documentary: 1, Every Fourth Child, Art Howard, WRAL Raleigh, N.C.; 2, Being A Cop, Gregory Andracke, New York freelancer; 3, It Happened One Day, 18 photographers, KRON San Francisco; Honorable mention, Heartbreak Hotel, Scott Jones, KUTV Salt Lake City.

Station of the year: KUSA Denver.

Photographer of the year: Chris Wheeler, KARE Minneapolis.

Editing award: Tressa Verna, NBC Washington, D.C.