The following individuals will be honored for their contributions to the sport of high school track & field in Illinois as the 2016 IHSA Boys Track & Field Honorary Referees at the Spring Spectacular on Saturday, May 28, 2016:
Geza became an IHSA licensed official 39 years ago with the help of his high school track coach Phil Salzer. In that time, he has officiated over 60 sectionals, served as a starter and referee at both IHSA Spring Spectacular state final meets, and has served as the Coordinator of Officials for the girls and boys state meets for the past 11 years. He has also served as the Coordinator of Officials for the State Cross Country meet for the past seven years.
Geza founded the Illinois Track and Cross Country Officials Association 20 years ago and served as its first President and is still actively involved in mentoring officials.
Geza has served as the Head Clinician for IHSA Track & Field and Cross Country since the inception of the clinician program. He has been inducted into the Peoria High School Athletic Hall of Fame and the ITCCOA Hall of Fame. He was the recipient of the NFOA Illinois Cross Country Official of the Year in 1999 and 2000, the NFOA Girls Track Official of the Year in 2012 and the Boys Track Official of the Year in 2015.
Geza was also named the Honorary Referee for the State Cross Country Meet in 2002 and for the Girls State Track Meet in 2007. In 2008, Geza was recognized with the IHSA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, which is awarded to individuals who have gone above and beyond to give back to young people in Illinois through IHSA sports and activities.
Mike Sullivan graduated from Niles Township High School, where he participated in cross country and track & field. He attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and then began his teaching and coaching career at Sterling High School. During his time in Sterling he coached girls’ and boys’ cross country and was an assistant boys’ track & field coach for the distance runners for nearly 30 years.
As cross country coach, his teams won five North Central Illinois Conference championships, three Regional championships and one Sectional crown. Three of his Golden Warrior teams recorded Top 10 finishes at the IHSA state meet, while also tallying 302 combined dual- and tri-meet victories in his career.
Another part of his legacy at Sterling remains in the cross country course he designed in 1974 that closely resembles that of Peoria’s Detweiller Park and is still in use by the high school today.
After retiring from coaching, Mike followed the advice of friends by getting involved in officiating. He was first licensed in 2002 and continues to work a full schedule of meets in Northern Illinois, while also working the IHSA state finals for the past 20 years in a variety of roles from timing to the clerk’s tent.
Mike and his wife have three children and five grandchildren. In retirement, his passion for the sport continues as he still coaches the cross country teams at Sauk Valley Community College.
John Wehmeier began his track & field officiating career as a field judge in the St. Louis Public School system in 1962 and went on to become a registered IHSA official in 1966 when he began teaching and coaching in the Belleville school district. 50 years later he is still going strong, as the Millstadt native continues to work track meets in Southern Illinois as a referee and starter.
When the IHSA added girls track in 1973, John was the referee-starter for the inaugural IHSA Girls Sectional meet in Southern Illinois and has gone on to serve as a Starter, Assistant Starter, and Referee at countless boys and girls sectional meets throughout the years.
John also officiates high school cross country in Illinois, earning numerous accolades along the way. In 2007, he served as the starter for the IHSA Class 1A Girls Cross Country State Final race and a year later was named the Illinois honoree for the NFHS Cross Country Official of the Year award.
One of the things that John is most proud of from his storied career is that many of the individual he has encouraged to become officials during his 50 years of service have gone on to not only officiate, but to excel at the state final level.