20th Annual IHSA Officials Conference Set For July 19-20 in East Peoria

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20th Annual IHSA Officials Conference Set For July 19-20 in East Peoria

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The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Officials Conference celebrates 20 years on Friday and Saturday, July 19-20, as the 20th annual event will once again unfold in East Peoria. The conference will be hosted at the East Peoria Embassy Suites and East Peoria Community High School. The theme of this year’s conference is “20/20 Vision: Educating Officials in 20 Sports for 20 Years”.

The IHSA Officials Conference is expected to draw nearly 700 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.

“I learn something new every year,” said Joe Ewers, a veteran basketball and football official from Bourbonnais. “I’ve been an official for 30-plus years and the conference never fails. It’s a great opportunity to learn new and better ways of officiating, as well as reconnecting with fellow officials from all sports.”

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 invite-only training sessions for IHSA officials serving as Clinicians, while a golf outing will be played at Coyote Creek Golf Course in Bartonville on Friday morning. Following conference registration, Friday afternoon features a workshop for first-time officials in all sports.

The conference will officially kickoff with a welcome from current IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson and Assistant Executive Director Sam Knox, along with retired admin Dave Gannaway, who oversaw the formation of the first conference during his tenure at the IHSA.

“This was one of the first events of its kind in the country 20 years ago, and it continues to grow and thrive,” said IHSA Anderson. “It’s an honor to play a part in its history, but it’s a greater honor to be able to recognize so many of the deserving men and women who give back to the sports they love by officiating. This conference is about them.”

After honoring the State Final Officials from all sports during the 2018-19 school year, the stage will belong to keynote speaker Doug Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum currently serves as the NFL’s Regional Supervisor of Officials, and will talk about his decorated career that includes working an NCAA Division I national championship game and two Super Bowls.

Saturday will be comprised of over 40 breakout sessions in nearly a dozen IHSA sports, ranging from topics such as Bloomington resident Justin Bowling explaining the intricacies of the lineup card to his fellow baseball umpires, or Peoria’s Kevin Moss providing swimming officials the proper procedure for making time adjustments. Many sessions include video review and interactive “you make the call” type scenarios from actual IHSA games.

“I began attending the conference as a young official in order to learn as much as I could about officiating and how to become a better official,” said Joe Meyer, a Springfield native and four-sport IHSA official (baseball, basketball softball, volleyball). “As a veteran official, I continue to attend the conference to see friends I have grown to know and to network. I continue to learn things each and every year.

The 2019 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, 60 years) and the IHSA Officials of the Year (listed below).

The Officials of the Year who will be recognized on Saturday include:

Official of the Year
Boys Soccer
Joseph Heyden Collinsville
Girls Soccer
Gene Matlock St. Louis, MO
Football Robert Smith Centralia
Boys Basketball
Marc Parker Collinsville
Girls Basketball
Ronald Ritter Westchester
Boys Lacrosse David Krok Grayslake
Girls Lacrosse Margaret Carlson Geneva
Baseball William Mushrush St. Charles
Softball Jay Miller Centralia
Girls Volleyball
Crete LeFevre Mt. Morris
Boys Volleyball
Krystian Krzyzak Arlington Heights
Boys Swimming & Diving
Thomas Strunk Evanston
Girls Swimming & Diving
Wendy Wozniak Darien
Water Polo
Matthias Casey Chicago
Cross Country
Richard Miller Naperville
Boys Track & Field
William Drennan Schaumburg
Girls Track & Field
Jay Marshall Richmond
Wrestling Nathaniel Kessen Sugar Grove
Boys Gymnastics
Lora Boehne Kalka Pingree Grove
Girls Gymnastics
Robin Straus Deerfield
Competitive Cheer
Cindy Rueter Columbia
Competitive Dance
Courtney Vanderheiden Louisville, KY


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