State Stories

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2015 Boys Track & Field Honorary Referees: Crenden Keller & Charles Rod Shurtz

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The following individuals will be honored for their contributions to the sport of high school track & field in Illinois as the 2015 IHSA Boys Track & Field Honorary Referees at the Spring Spectacular on Saturday, May 30, 2015:

CRENDEN KELLER
Crenden Keller took a roundabout way to becoming a track & field coach and 30-plus year veteran of the IHSA Boys Track & Field State Finals. He was a golfer while attending Galena High School, a sport he continued to play at Aurora University, where he also joined the wrestling team.

He was hired by Jacobs High School in Algonquin shortly after graduating from Aurora University, beginning a 34-year tenure at the school that included time as a Business teacher, Dean of Students, Assistant Athletic Director and Athletic Director before his retirement in 2011.

Much of that time also coincided with Crenden serving as a track & field coach, including 21 years as the head coach of the Golden Eagle girl’s program, and six coaching weights for the boys’. He also served as an assistant coach in both cross country and wrestling during his time at Jacobs.

Crenden is approaching 25 years of experience as a certified IHSA track & field and cross country official. He remains active officiating middle school and high school meets, including several IHSA Sectionals.

His work at the Spring Spectacular spans over three decades, starting as a picker on the line during his first year. He was also a triple jump judge for a year, discus judge for two years, and has worked in the ring or judged the shot put ever since, ascending to his current role as Shot Put Ring Judge. Crenden has attended every IHSA Boys Track & Field State Final meet since 1979 as a coach or volunteer.

CHARLES ROD SHURTZ
As a life-long track & field and sports enthusiast, Charles Rod Shurtz began working at the IHSA Boys Track & Field State Finals in 1985. He started in the pole vault event and ascended to work in several different roles, including working as an Assistant Starter, Starter and Referee. Rod is currently serving as a Finish Line Marshall, working in tandem with his wife, Marjorie.

The Waltonville native is still an active IHSA track & field official, currently in his 30th year of service to the sport. He has served as a Starter and Referee at numerous Sectionals throughout Southern Illinois, and was honored in 2001 by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) as the Boys Track & Field Official of the Year.

In addition to working track meets, Rod has volunteered his services at the IHSA Cross Country Finals, while also working two National Junior College Cross Country Finals at Rend Lake College. He has served on the chain gang at Benton High School home football games since 1975 and has attended the IHSA Basketball State Finals nearly every season since 1948, with the exception of four years while serving his country in the United States Navy.

Reflecting on his career, he says “it’s been a blessing to watch my sons, grandsons, and granddaughter participate in the IHSA State Finals. I am 82 years young and still have enthusiasm for all the things mentioned above. The journey continues!”