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Earning his stripes

Ken Wilcoxen has earned his stripes.

The longtime official from Princeton will be honored as the Illinois High School Association’s Official of the Year for boys basketball in Saturday’s 14th annual IHSA Officials Conference in Peoria.

The IHSA will recognize an official of the year in each of its 19 sports.

“The best thing about this is following in my dad’s footsteps and having some great partners to work with made the difference to get that award,” Wilcoxen said. “I’ve had a real good collection of partners over the years.”

Wilcoxen, 54, has officiated IHSA basketball and football for 34 years, including three state finals in girls basketball, two in boys basketball and four in football. He got his start umpiring summer league ball in his hometown of Walnut at age 16, a position he holds today along side his son, Kris.

The Officials Conference is expected to draw over 500 IHSA officials to Peoria, where they will team with other officials to contribute in general and sport-specific workshops, reflect on their experiences to help teach others and participate in networking activities. The theme of this year’s conference is “Sportsmanship. It Starts With Us.”

“We are one of the few high school state associations in the country who have an official’s education program of this magnitude,” said IHSA Assistant Executive Director Craig Anderson. “We have worked very hard on the Officials Conference curriculum and offerings. Our goal is to improve the event each year by adding new and relevant topics and speakers. We look forward to another successful event in 2013.”

Saturday will be comprised of over 40 breakout sessions in 11 IHSA sports, ranging from topics such as “Softball Interference and Obstruction,” “Roundtable On Working With Athletic Directors” and “10 Things You Can Do Tomorrow To Make Yourself A Better Official.”

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