State Stories


2016 Cross Country Honorary Officials

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The following individuals will be honored for their contributions to the sport of high school cross country in Illinois as the 2016 IHSA Cross Country Honorary Officials at the State Final Meet on Saturday, November 5, 2016:

The husband-wife tandem of Curt and Anita Durham have been involved with the IHSA Cross Country State Finals since the mid-1980’s. Curt has been working with timing in some capacity since 1983, while Anita began volunteering in 1985 when her running club, the Illinois Valley Striders, began to work the race.

Both reflect fondly on the evolution of finish line timing throughout the years, starting from a single chute with bib tags paper clipped to each runner’s shorts that were collected and collated at the finish line. That progressed to two chutes and bib tags, which grew into timing mats, shoe or bib chips and video review. They are proud of the race’s evolution, which eventually included adding mile spit times and real time team scoring as the race progresses.

Curt and Anita continue to work at the back of the finish line today, providing manual backup timing in case of a failure by the primary equipment. In addition to experiencing all sorts of weather during 30+ years working the meet, Anita recalls a state final race once being delayed because a squirrel getting into the power substation.

Curt also worked on the Steamboat Classic from 1982 to 2014 and continues to serve on the Steamboat committee. During the middle 1990’s, he served as the President of the Illinois Valley Striders. Curt and Anita still continue to run in races today, while also facilitating the timing for regular-season and State Series races leading up to the state meet.

David Mitchell discovered the joy of officiating later in life than many of his colleagues. He had so much fun volunteering at his daughter’s cross country and track & field meets that he decided to get licensed by the IHSA in 2003. He has made a big impact in a short amount of time, being named the Illinois Track and Cross Country Officials Association Rookie of the Year in his inaugural season, and then being selected as the Class 1A Girls Starter at the 2011 IHSA Cross Country State Final meet. He has since been designated to serve as the Assistant Referee for Conflicts at the 2015 state meet, and as the Assistant Competition Referee at the finals in 2016.

David also works Sectional meets for the IHSA and IESA annually in both cross country and track & field, while serving as the head umpire at the IHSA Track & Field state finals.

David and his wife April have one daughter, Jonita, and reside in Peoria. David works as a machinist at Performance Pattern and Machine. He is also a Board of Education member in District 63 and a car enthusiast with world class certified technician status.

Steve Schoch has worked behind the scenes at the IHSA Cross Country State Finals for over two decades, helping maintain a safe and first-class experience for the competing student-athletes. Steve is the meet medical liaison with Great Plains Orthopaedics, who oversees the safety of runners as they compete in and complete the race.

Steve also performs a service by posting the official meet results on the main IHSA boards, which were especially critical for coaches, runners and fans alike in the days before the internet and smartphones.

A 25-year veteran of the state meet, Steve continues to volunteer and his duties continue to evolve, as he will be helping with PA responsibilities this fall. Steve is ardent supporter of high school events in Peoria, as each March he also helps with various duties at the IHSA Boys Basketball State Finals at the Peoria Civic Center.

After attending Bradley University, Steve spent 33 years working in Peoria Public Schools. He coached Cross Country, Football, Softball and Swimming, while also serving as a teacher, Dean and Assistant Principal, during his time at Peoria and Richwoods High Schools.

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