– Eight individuals who have been involved in high school sports refereeing for many years have been selected as recipients of the 2022 National and Sectional Awards by the Association of Officials of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
Two people receive the National Contributor and National Active Official awards, while the other six receive the Section Active Officials of the Year awards.
John Dehan of Olathe, Kansas is the recipient of the National Contributor Award, and Mike Stanley of Harlan, Iowa is the 2022 recipient of the National Active Official Award.
Industry awards went to Teri Connor, Allenwood, New Jersey, Section 1; Margaret Kondracki, Fairfax, Virginia, Section 2; Joseph Erwin, Lake Worth, Florida, Section 3; Mark Hopper, Terre Haute, Indiana, Section 4; John Wonder, Manhattan, Kansas; Section 5; and Gene Monterastelli, Casper, Wyoming, Section 8.
Below are biographical sketches of the eight recipients of the NFHS Officials Association Award for 2022:
John Dehan-Olathe, Kansas
John Dehan began his officiating career in 1983 when he first umpired youth basketball and intramurals before registering with the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) in 1992.
Perhaps his greatest contribution to interscholastic officiating is the “Call The Game” initiative, which also led to the founding of the Kansas Sports Officials Association (KSOA). “Call The Game” focuses on recruiting new sports officials through unique efforts including the use of social media, television and radio interviews, advertising and networking. This includes promoting the development of new officials through matching recruits with experienced officials in appropriate games and training, while providing ongoing feedback through the use of discussion forums and videos to review game scenarios.
Dehan has umpired four sports at the high school level. In his soccer officiating, he has been assigned to 12 KSHSAA regional contests, five sectional contests, six substate contests, and two state championships at the Class 5A level. In basketball he has officiated 17 substate tournaments and 12 state tournaments in grades 4A, 5A and 6A.
ACTIVE NATIONAL OFFICER OF THE YEAR
Mike Stanley – Harlan, Iowa
Mike Stanley has been a registered interscholastic sports official with the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) since 1970. He first dabbled in officiating during the summers of 1967 and 1968 as baseball umpire, who blossomed into a combined 200 years of high school umpiring experience in five sports.
Stanley has been a staple at IHSAA and IGHSAU state meets, serving as starter (umpire) for respective boys’ and girls’ state meetups for seven years, also serving as starter for co-ed and cross country state meetups for 18 and 10 years respectively. Additionally, he was a starter in over 60 district/regional/state qualifiers.
A 2013 inductee of the IHSAA Officials Hall of Fame, Stanley served as two-term president of the Iowa Association of Track Officials. There, he served as co-editor of the state athletics procedure manual, which is endorsed by the IHSAA and IGHSAU. Stanley was recognized by the Iowa High School Athletic Directors Association as a member of its Class of 2005 Hall of Fame.
ACTIVE OFFICERS SECTION OF THE YEAR
Section 1: Teri Connor – Allenwood, New Jersey
Teri Connor, who has directed high school soccer in New Jersey since 1997, is considered a pioneer in the state for official women’s soccer. Thanks to her hard work and commitment, Connor was awarded the best games in men’s and women’s soccer, which opened the door for more female officers. She became one of the top officials in the Shore Conference and she earned the respect of coaches across the state.
Connor has been responsible for the cadet training program for the Shore Soccer Officials Association (SSOA) for the past 10 years, spearheading on-field instruction for new officers each year. Thanks to his efforts, the membership increased to more than 200 members before the pandemic. Connor has served as SSOA president since 2016, having been re-elected three times in two consecutive years. In 2015, Connor was inducted into the SSOA Hall of Fame.
At the state level, Connor officiated numerous New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) state tournament football games. She has become soccer’s “go-to” person with the NJSIAA and the New Jersey Soccer Officials Association (NJSOA). She is also active with the US Soccer Federation and the NCAA, serving as an assistant referee at the 2009 NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Championships.
Section 2: Margaret Kondracki – Fairfax, Virginia
Margaret Kondracki began her involvement with lacrosse in 1997 as an official for women’s lacrosse at the youth, middle, high school and collegiate levels. She has served as a teacher, trainer, clinician, evaluator, presenter, mentor and sports leader for the Washington Lacrosse Umpires Association (WLUA), USA Lacrosse and the Collegiate Women’s Lacrosse Officials Association. She has been a member of WLUA since 1997, including seven years as a game awardee and eight years as local council president.
Kondracki officiated at the Virginia High School League (VHSL) Women’s Lacrosse State Championships seven times and was awarded the VHSL state final game on three occasions. She was honored by WLUA with the 2008 Madeline B. Kirlin Award, which recognizes a women’s lacrosse official who has gone out of her way to give time to the sport of women’s lacrosse. In 2017, Kondracki was inducted into the US Lacrosse Potomac Chapter Hall of Fame.
In addition to lacrosse, Kondracki has umpired girls’ field hockey at the middle and high school levels, first with Metro Field Hockey (2014-19) and currently with the Washington Field Hockey Umpires Association (WFHUA).
Section 3: Joseph Erwin – Lake Worth, Florida
Joe Erwin has been a Florida high school basketball official for 34 years. He is currently the president of the East Coast Basketball Officials Association (ECBOA), which is the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) sanctioned basketball officials’ association for Palm Beach County, Florida.
Erwin has been a member of the ECBOA board for 29 years, including 23 years as treasurer and six years as president. He has been an FHSAA state assessor since 2013 and served as the FHSAA representative on high school arbitration before the Florida state legislature. Erwin officiated three FHSAA Boys Basketball State Finals championship games and two FHSAA Girls Basketball Finals championship games. He has been in 27 FHSAA Regional Championship games and has a “1” rating 21 years in a row.
Among his accolades, Erwin was selected as the Florida State Men’s Basketball Official of the Year by the NFHS Officials Association in 2007 and Florida Women’s Basketball Official of the Year in 2009.
In addition to his on-court accomplishments, Erwin has had numerous articles published in Referee Magazine and its Advisor publication, as well as in the NFHS Officials’ Quarterly.
Section 4: Mark Hopper – Terre Haute, Indiana
Mark Hopper’s 27 years of officiating have led him to five state finals in women’s basketball, four state finals in men’s basketball and two state finals in football. He was honored as the 2017-18 Women’s Basketball Official of the Year and 2021-22 Men’s Basketball Official of the Year. He spent a lot of time mentoring younger officials.
Hopper is known for his contributions to local refereeing associations and professional organizations. He dedicated a decade of his life as president of football and basketball for the Wabash Valley Officials Association (WVOA) and served as president from 2012 to 2014. He is also an Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) clinician for basketball is football. Hopper combines his love of family with his passion for athletics by coaching his grandchildren’s baseball and softball teams.
“Mark Hopper possesses all the qualities we could ask of an IHSAA officer, person and representative of our association,” said Brian Lewis, IHSAA Assistant Commissioner. “Mark displays professionalism, hard work, dedication and a love of education-based athletics every time he sets foot on the court or field.”
Section 5: John Wonderra – Manhattan, Kansas
John Wondra was drafted as a basketball official his freshman year at Dodge City Community College and has been fascinated ever since. “The vocation changed the career path I originally thought about when I started college. It connected me with some of the best and closest friends I have in my life,” Wondra said. He created a legacy refereeing high school basketball for 28 years, soccer for 25 years, volleyball for 24 years and baseball for 21 years.
Wondra was selected to be a basketball area supervisor for the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) 15 years ago due to his knowledge of the rules, presentation skills and understanding of umpiring mechanics. In this role, he led meetings, mentored new officials and worked at nearly 60 football, baseball and basketball tournaments.
Between an impressive track record of affiliations and professional accomplishments, Wondra has been heavily involved in the KSHSAA since 2000. He served as KSHSAA President of Basketball from 2002 to 2008, President of Football (2004-2014), Baseball Umpires Committee Member (2008 -2014) and is the current vice president of the association.
Section 8: Gene Monterastelli – Casper, Wyoming
Gene Monterastelli has been an asset to the Wyoming High School Activities Association (WHSAA) for more than 50 years due to his dedication to high school sports and officiating. Monterastelli began his officiating career as a basketball referee, and has also refereed football for 40 years and soccer for more than 20 years. In terms of activities, Monterastelli has been a gang judge for almost 50 years as well as a forensic judge. He is known locally as the go-to professional in high school athletics.
Monterastelli has received numerous awards and special recognition for his work in interscholastic refereeing. He was named WHSAA Boys and Girls Soccer Official of the Year in 1991 and received the Wyoming Coaches Association Distinguished Service Award in 2009 and the NFHS Outstanding Service Award in 2013. Also in 2013, Monterastelli was inducted into the Wyoming Sports Officials Hall of honor of the Association.
Monterastelli has a reputation as a community leader, largely due to his initiative and involvement in professional organizations. He joined the Central States Judge Association 40 years ago. Since then, he served many years as an assignee on the Casper Basketball and Soccer Officials Board and spent two years as chairman of the Wyoming Sports Officials Board.