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17th Annual IHSA Officials Conference Set For July 22-23 in East Peoria

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The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) will hold its 17th annual Officials Conference on Friday and Saturday, July 22-23 in East Peoria. The event will unfold at the East Peoria Embassy Suites and East Peoria Community High School. The theme of this year’s conference is “Excellence Has No Offseason.”

“The IHSA Officials Conference is a great kickoff to our school year,” said Sara Flanigan, a state final cheerleading and dance official from Crystal Lake who will present this weekend. “It is also an opportunity to network with and learn from officials from around the state to help us all become the best we can be for the student-athletes.”

The IHSA Officials Conference is expected to draw over 500 officials to the Peoria area, where they will collaborate with other officials by participating in general and sport-specific officiating workshop sessions. In addition, they will share firsthand experiences to better prepare fellow officials, while also enjoying a variety of networking activities.

“Being an official affords me the opportunity to make a positive contribution to the players, coaches and fans of volleyball,” said Nancy Nester, a volleyball official from Gurnee with over 40 years of officiating experience. “As a former athlete, coach, and teacher there is no better way to stay involved and give back to a sport that I love than being an official.”

Walk-up registration is welcome (Friday at Embassy Suites 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday at EPHS 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.) for any official who does not register in advance.

The conference begins Friday with educational sessions for IHSA officials serving as Clinicians during the day, while a golf outing will also unfold at Coyote Creek Golf Course in Bartonville on Friday morning. Following conference registration, Friday evening features a workshop for first-time officials in all sports and an opening session that will honor all of the state final officials from the 2015-16 school year.

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson will preside over the opening session along with IHSA Assistant Executive Director Sam Knox, a 20-year baseball and basketball official who is entering his first year overseeing the IHSA Officials Department.

Anderson and Knox will be followed by keynote speaker Marc Davis, a Chicago native who graduated from St. Ignatius High School, who has served as an NBA Referee since 1998. Davis’ experience includes nearly 100 NBA playoff games and 10 NBA Finals contests, including two from this year’s seven-game tilt between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.

“From the speakers to the sessions, we continue to raise the bar at this conference,” said Anderson. “We are excited to have Marc Davis come share his experiences with his fellow officials and believe the whole weekend will be top-notch. We appreciate the efforts of all the officials who make this weekend possible.”

Saturday will be comprised of over 40 breakout sessions in 11 IHSA sports, ranging from topics such as a football session highlighting “The Difference Between Personal Foul and Unsportsmanlike Fouls”, “Controlling the Flow of a Baseball Game” and “New Cheerleading Rubric Review”. Many include video review and interactive “you make the call” type scenarios from actual IHSA games.

OSF Saint Francis Medical Center ATC Greg Gaa will offer a session on concussion updates as they relate to officiating, while Ohio High School Athletic Association Assistant Commissioner and long-time official Beau Rugg will provide perspective on officiating education and assigning from The Buckeye State.

The 2016 IHSA Officials Conference culminates with a reception and awards program early Saturday evening. The honorees include officials who reached milestone years of service (15, 25, 30, 40, 50) and the IHSA Officials of the Year (listed below).

“Attending this conference gave me the motivation to become an elite official,” said Bill Honeycutt, a wrestling official from Woodridge who has officiated IHSA wrestling since 1973. “There is no better place to learn, discover, and build relationships. You only get out of it what you are willing to put in, but coming away from it with even just one piece of new information makes it worthwhile.”

The Officials of the Year who will be recognized on Saturday include:
Sport Official of the Year
Hometown
 Boys Soccer
Larry Cooper
Collinsville
 Girls Soccer
Michele Waldbeesser
West Peoria
 Football Jim Glueckert
Arlington Heights
 Boys Basketball
Tom Huster
Elmhurst
 Girls Basketball
Gail Huster
Elmhurst
 Baseball Steve Besse
Frankfort
 Softball Tom Starr
Rock Falls
 Girls Volleyball
Augie Werner
Belleville
 Boys Volleyball
Connie Scott
Winnebago
 Boys Swimming & Diving
Ken Cherwin
Crystal Lake
 Girls Swimming & Diving
Kathleen McWhorter
East Dundee
 Water Polo
Nick Cargola
Elk Grove Village
 Cross Country
Jim Rhode
Dwight
 Boys Track & Field
Roger Brown
Chicago
 Girls Track & Field
Tim Cross
Metamora
 Wrestling Don Mekeel
Sterling
 Boys Gymnastics
Joseph Skowronski
St. John (IN)
 Girls Gymnastics
Howie Sokol
Park Ridge
 Competitive Cheer
Betty Moore
Taylorville
 Competitive Dance
Cyndi Kraemer
Decatur
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