Officials Spotlight

Meet our officials!

Our officials come from all walks of multisport life!  Some are active triathletes, others are former triathletes, family or friends of triathletes, coaches, race directors, fans or simply long-term volunteers.  

Click here for a great story on our Officials from the USA Triathlon Women's Committee

Mike Baker - Rocky Mountain Region

Official Level:  CRO - Cat 2 
ROC for the Rocky Mountain Region

Mike has been an official since 2016 and was certified in Socorro, NM. 

Why did you become an official? 
I sought to become an official in order to continue participating in the sport I love after I retired from serious competition. I also wanted to contribute back to the sport. After all, without race directors, staff, volunteers, etc. there would be no multisport events”

What's the most rewarding part of being an official and what is the most challenging? 
“The most rewarding part of being an official is the education of the rules to competitors, especially regional talent who could impact national and world stages. If I penalize a competitor, I look forward to not only explaining the penalty, but also to explaining how they can stay within the rule(s) while bettering their racing. The most challenging part of officiating is penalizing close friends, especially when it impacted their placing for awards.”

What are some of your accomplishments as an official/athlete? 
“As an athlete, I competed on the national and world stages, having finished 40 Iron distance races including 8 in Hawaii and over 90 half-Iron distance races. After two years of being runner up, I finally won the national long course championship in 1994.”

What do you think is the most important quality you need to be a successful official? 

“I believe the most important quality for an official is to be impartial, and closely followed by honesty.”

What is your favorite race as an official/athlete? 
“My favorite race as an official is the Milkman Triathlon in Dexter NM. It has endured the test of time running its 34th year this year, and no race can beat the town's hospitality. It is not "Triathlon Central", but no one would it by the enthusiasm of the town and its volunteers.”

What has been the highlight of your career as an official/athlete so far? 

“The highlight as an official came from a young national caliber athlete when he thanked me for a penalty I had assessed to him. He competed in the national championship and saw the same (kind) of penalties assessed to other competitors, and the strictness of the calls. He said that if I had not penalized him in that previous race, he would most likely have been penalized with the others, affecting his race status (he got 3rd place in his age group).”

What are some of your hobbies, any "hidden talents"? 

“Though I rarely compete any more, I still love training. The difference is that at the end of the year, I remember more than a pool's lane line, and a highway's white stripe. My other interests are woodworking and archery.”

Bryan Jones - South-Midwest North Region

Official Level:  CRO - Cat 2 – Elite Rules Certified

Bryan has been an official since 2012 and was certified in Fayetteville, AR.

Why did you become an official? 
“My wife thought it would be a great idea. She was right.”

What's the most rewarding part of being an official and what is the most challenging? 

“When I am able to help an athlete understand some of the nuances of the rules and I can see that they are genuinely grateful for my help. I find dealing with upset parents of younger athletes to be particularly challenging.”

What are some of your accomplishments as an official/athlete? 
“As an athlete, the accomplishment I am most proud of is completing my first 50k trail race.

What do you think is the most important quality you need to be a successful official? 

“I think you need to be personable, and you need to be able to establish a good rapport with your race directors.”

What is your favorite race as an official/athlete? 
“I love working children's races. There is just something exciting and endearing about watching young kids race. They have an enthusiasm that most of us adults lose. My favorite race to participate in is the Rivercities Triathlon in Benton, LA.”

What has been the highlight of your career as an official/athlete so far? 
“Whenever a RD specifically asks for me to officiate one of their races, I consider that to be one of the highest compliments I can receive as an official.”

What are some of your hobbies, any "hidden talents"? 
“My son has gotten involved in scouting and I am currently the Cubmaster for his Cub Scout Pack.”

Bridget Jobes - Mid-Atlantic North Region

Official Level:  CRO - Cat 3 – Elite Rules Certified
Regional Officials Coordinator Mid-Atlantic North 

Bridget has been an official since 2014 and was certified at Musselman in Geneva, NY. She came to the clinic figuring it would be something fun to do and did not realize how much she would love officiating.

What are the most rewarding parts of being an official?
"I just love being part of the event and ensuring everyone has a fair race that day. Seeing everyone getting ready on race morning, feeling the nervousness in the air and I get to be part of it…..and on this day without the effort…it is an awesome experience every time"

What is the most challenging part of being an official?
"It is tough to see people work so hard to get to the race but then not take the time to understand the rules, or worse, see some athletes legitimately cheating; but that is why I love being an official. I can educate the newbies and provide a fair race"

What are some of your accomplishments as an official/athlete?
"As an official, getting my Elite Rules Certification. I was so nervous, but I passed on my first try. As an athlete, doing Ironman Florida with my niece who is also named Bridget!! My niece has competed with me at my first half marathon, marathon and Ironman.”

What do you think is the most important quality you need to be a successful official?
"Honesty and Integrity. If you are going to judge others, you need to be able to judge yourself and be proficient”

What is your favorite race as an official/athlete?

"As an athlete that is a tough choice between the Miami Marathon (they give you shots of Patrón on the course!!) and the Marine Core Marathon. I had no idea about the storm at the time but we finished the race and got home just as it started"

What are some of your hobbies?
"I’m a triathlete; I don’t have time for hobbies.”

Have any “hidden talents”?

“I am awesome at air drum”

Michael Wagner - Midwest Region

Official Level: CRO - Cat 3

Michael has been an official since 2016 and was certified at the Indianapolis Triathlon in July of 2016. After competing in triathlon for 15 years he saw officiating as a way to give back to the sport that challenged him mentally and physically.

What are the most rewarding parts of being an official?
"The most rewarding part of being an official is helping new athletes who are entering the sport."

What is the most challenging part of being an official?
"The most challenging part of being an official is maintaining a sense of calm on race day when you are getting hit with all kinds of issues."

What are some of your accomplishments as an official/athlete?
"As an athlete, competing in my first half ironman distance race and taking first place in my age group at the club nationals. As an official, my promotion to CAT 3 in only four months.”

What do you think is the most important quality you need to be a successful official?
"The ability to maintain a positive attitude, treat everyone with respect and consistently apply the competitive rules fairly to all athletes.”

What is your favorite race as an official/athlete?
"As an official, my favorite race is The Des Moines Triathlon. As an athlete, The Pigman Triathlon is my favorite."

What has been the highlight of your career as an official/athlete so far?
As an official, completing the official’s clinic and as an athlete placing first in my age group at Club Nationals."

Have any “hidden talents”?
"Just getting into photography, metal working and drone technology."

Joy Wolf - Mid-Atlantic North Region

Official Level: CRO - CAT 1 – Elite Rules Certified. 
Joy has been an official since 2007 and was certified in Lake Anna, VA.

Why did you become an official?  

“As my children were growing up, many times for the sports they participated in, they would need a referee or umpire or the teams would not be able to play. So being the good parent I was, I became whatever was needed. Such as a swim referee, basketball referee (timekeeper) and soccer coach. When I started doing triathlons, I thought I should do it for myself instead of my kids, so I did.”

What's the most rewarding part of being an official and what is the most challenging? 
 “The most rewarding is helping people in transition before the race starts. Helping them understand the rules, helping calm down new people who are stressing out, and helping them understand why some rules are in place to name a few. The most challenging would be when race directors have no respect for officials.”

What are some of your accomplishments as an official/athlete?  

“I enjoy working with and teaching new head officials and help them learn what to do or not do, when to keep a straight face and when to empathize.  I also think I accomplish my goals every time I race or officiate to stay safe, have a good time and don’t sweat the small stuff.”

What do you think is the most important quality you need to be a successful official? 

 “The other officials that I work with would say that I would say the most important quality is common sense, since I am always preaching that to them. I would say it is to be able to put yourself in the athletes’ shoes and understand why they did what you saw them do. Did they pass on the right because someone else was blocking the road in front of them? If the answer is yes, then the person blocking should get the penalty not the person who passed on the right. You have to use your common sense to officiate.”

What is your favorite race as an official/athlete? 

“My favorite race is a love-hate relationship. It is Savageman in Deep Creek, MD. The area is beautiful and the hills there are unbelievable. It is awesome to watch people go up the Westernport Wall at a 31% grade with all the sides of it lined with people cheering them on. I have stayed a week in the campground, enjoying the hiking and kayaking all close to the race site. But some of the downhills are steep and the athletes on bicycles go screaming past the motorcycle which makes my heart go in my throat with fear.”

What has been the highlight of your career as an official/athlete so far? 

“I think my highlight as an official is that race directors trust me. They like me being a head official for their race because they know that I am a professional. I know the triathlon rules but I use my common sense as well. They know I will be there and I will be the athlete’s advocate with any violations that are brought to me.”

What are some of your hobbies, any "hidden talents"?  
“I have many hidden talents. I am a teacher, not by profession but by nature. Some of the things I do are teach swimming lessons to special needs individual as well as typical ones. I teach classes about essential oils and how to use them. I teach others how to correct MS Word and/or PDF documents to make them accessible to people with disabilities (508 compliant).”

John Meyer - Florida Region

Official Level:  CRO Cat 1 – Elite Rules Certified 

John has been an official since 2001 and was certified in St. Petersburg, FL at St. Anthony’s Triathlon.


Why did you become an official? 

“I was officiating several high school sports and was doing some adventure racing, this seemed like a logical bridge between the two. I would later realize the similarities between adventure racing & tri were few & far between, but I was hooked.”

What's the most rewarding part of being an official and what is the most challenging? 

“The rewarding parts are getting thanked by athletes after the race, and the camaraderie with the other officials. The most challenging is biting my tongue when I really want to tell an athlete C'mon, man, really?”

What are some of your accomplishments as an official/athlete? 

“2016 St. Anthony's was my 100th race as a Competitive Rules Official, it was more special because it was the race where it all started for me, as well as a race that most of the veteran officials work each year, due to the large elite field.”

What do you think is the most important quality you need to be a successful official? 

“Keep cool under pressure and be impartial. I actually make it a point to not recognize the pros by their faces. I don't ever want to think to myself, Ooh, I wish I didn't have to stand down THAT guy."

What is your favorite race as an official/athlete?

“Obviously St. A's would be one because of the large pro field & I've only missed working it twice in 18 years, but there are other races I enjoy going to each year, especially Pineapple Man in Melbourne and Heartland in Sebring.”

What has been the highlight of your career as an official/athlete so far? 
“Other than working 100 races and getting to cat 1, I thought it was pretty cool a few years ago when my IT skills helped our computerized Head Referee report print just the number of lines it needed. As a professional software developer, it's not something I'd brag about”

What are some of your hobbies, any "hidden talents"? 
“I'm a licensed radio amateur, which fits a similar geek hat as my career. Other than that, just trying to be the best father, husband, & Christian I can be.”

Daria Vander Veer - Northeast Region

Official Level:  CRO - Cat 1 – Elite Rules Certified
Regional Officials Coordinator for the Northeast Region

Daria has been an official since 2001 and was certified in Farmington, CT.

Why did you become an official? 
“It matters to me as a triathlete that races are fair and free of cheating. I decided I should contribute my time and effort if I wanted to see that happen.”

What's the most rewarding part of being an official and what is the most challenging? 

“I love getting a chance to teach athletes - new AND old - about the rules. It's fun to help people understand so they can improve their race experience! As for most challenging, it's never easy dealing with an athlete who's unhappy about a call.”

What are some of your accomplishments as an official/athlete? 
“I've raced in the US and abroad, on team USA and every distance from sprint to ironman. I've had a lot of fun making presentations to athletes over the years, sometimes even using humor to help them understand the rules better.”

What do you think is the most important quality you need to be a successful official?
“A successful official needs to conscientious and professional but also needs to keep perspective. I try to always remember that come Monday, we all go back to our day jobs, and the triathlon stuff is supposed to be fun.”

What is your favorite race as an official/athlete? 
“As an official, I love working the Hartford Women's triathlon for its very special atmosphere. As an athlete, I'm not sure I can choose - after 25 seasons there are so many candidates.”

What has been the highlight of your career as an official/athlete so far? 
“As an athlete I'd have to say winning my age group at the Beach 2 Battleship ironman in North Carolina in 2009. As an official, it's a highlight every time I meet someone who says, "I raced at XXX. I remember you were the official! Thanks so much!"

What are some of your hobbies, any "hidden talents"? 
“I always wanted to be an actress. Or a singer. Or a ballerina. I did all three in high school and college and sometimes I still dabble in them for fun.”