Five Montgomery County officials have worked the state boys basketball tournament in the 111 years the event has been put on by the IHSA, but never have two county officials worked at the same state tourney.
That will change this year as Allen Poggenpohl of Raymond and Carl Fesser of Fillmore have been assigned to officiate the Class 1A and Class 2A IHSA Boys Basketball State Finals, which will take place on March 8-9 at Carver Arena in Peoria.
While this will be the first time the two veteran officials will be at the boys state tournament together, it's not the first go-round for either. Poggenpohl also worked the 2014 and 2015 Class 1A and Class 2A state tournaments, getting the nod in the Class 2A championship game in 2015.
Fesser was last at the state tournament just two years ago, making his state debut in 2017 in the Class 1A and Class 2A events.
In addition to Poggenpohl and Fesser, three others have officiated games at state. Denny Held of Raymond worked the 1994 and 1995 tournaments, then returned five years later to do the 2000 tournament, including the championship game in Class A, of what was then a two-class system.
Rick Tolle of Witt also officiated a championship game, officiating the Class 2A title in 2013, a year after making his state debut in 2012.
The first Montgomery County official to work an IHSA Boys Basketball State Finals was Edward Marfell, of Hillsboro, who officiated in the 1940 and 1941 single class state tournaments, which were won by Granite City and Berwyn-Cicero respectively.
In addition to the five from Montgomery County, several others from the Palmer Officials Association, which includes Poggenpohl and Fesser, have worked games at state. Don Huddleston, John Fahl and Chad Waterman, all of the Morrisonville/Palmer area, have eight appearances between them, with Fahl working in 1995 and 2000 with Held and Waterman working in 2014 and 2015 with Poggenpohl.
Like all good officials, unassuming Poggenpohl and Fesser would rather you not notice their work this coming weekend, letting the basketball take center stage instead. Still, making it to the pinnacle of their sport speaks for itself and is an accomplishment not many can claim.
Officials At IHSA State
Boys Basketball Tournaments
Denny Held (3): 1994; 1995; 2000*
Allen Poggenpohl (3): 2014; 2015*; 2019
Carl Fesser, Fillmore(2): 2017; 2019
Rick Tolle, Witt (2): 2012; 2013*
Edward Marfell, Hillsboro (2): 1940, 1941