Kansans Recognized for Officiating Leadership

By: Press Release
| Published 01/18/2024


TOPEKA, Kan. — The National Federation of High School and Kansas State High School Activities Association would like to announce that Rodney Palen was named the National Federation Officials Association (NFOA) Active Official Award for Section 5. Section 5 includes the states of Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Palen, the Beloit native, began his officiating career in 1986. He has served as a registered official in the state of Kansas for 38 years in basketball, 31 years in football, 19 years in softball and baseball, and 13 years in volleyball. He also serves as a league commissioner for the Northern Plains League as well as the North Central Activities Association. Rodney has had opportunities to work several state tournaments in a variety of sports.

“Rodney serves as a great resource for officials with his leadership and mentorship in the variety of sports he serves in,” said KSHSAA Executive Director Bill Faflick.

The NFHS also recognized 12 other active officials as 2023 State Officials of the Year. These officials have made significant contributions to high school officiating as a KSHSAA registered official.

Baseball – Chad MacFarland, Olathe
Boys Basketball – Will Meier, Olathe
Girls Basketball – Doug Richter, Garden City
Football – Phil Lombardi, Kansas City
Boys Soccer – Chris Johnson, Wichita
Girls Soccer – Joe House, Topeka
Boys Track & Field – Van Schaffer, Lawrence
Girls Track & Field – Eric Deitcher, Berryton
Boys Track & Field – Van Schaffer, Lawrence
Softball – Cameron Chandler, Sterling
Volleyball – Karen Thornton, Garden City
Wrestling – Andy Hutchinson, Manhattan
Gymnastics – John Comstock, Kansas City

Congratulations to all these officials for being recognized by the NFHS and KSHSAA for their contributions to officiating.