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Hugh Birgenheier, Wrestling

There’s a reason Hugh Birgenheier’s Western Washington Wrestling Officials Association colleagues elected him as their president for seven years running.  The deputy Pierce County prosecuting attorney gets things done in a manner that allows the association to operate at a high, efficient level, and he does it the right way in the eyes of his peers.

Consider:

  • He helped rebuild the organization’s infrastructure so that it would be more responsive to both schools and to the needs of wrestling officials;
  • He helped rewrite the WWWOA’s constitution, bylaws and operating principles;
  • He elevated the association’s credibility by working to make officials more accountable for performance and commitment.

Birgenheier has been officiating 34 years and worked 25 WIAA regional tournaments.  He can  be found presenting rules clinics for local leagues and school parent nights.  He is called upon to be guest speaker in law classes and at school job fairs. Hugh has served as a timer/scorer for the Mat Classic state wrestling finals and volunteers to serve wherever there is need, including refereeing youth wrestling matches and high school pre-season challenge matches.

There is no mistaking the level of his dedication.  Two years ago Hugh was hit by a car, suffering a severely broken leg.  Following surgery he spent a lengthy period in a hip-toe cast, survived a life-threatening blood clot followed by more surgery and many hours of physical therapy.  The next season he was unable to officiate but remained in his role as president and “grand problem solver.”  He attended and ran every meeting, traveled to local tournaments to take video of referees in action and provide constructive comment to improve the level of officiating.  A year later he was back on the mat.  

Birgenheier associates say he not only is an excellent and highly knowledgeable official but also  an inspirational example of dedication, integrity and commitment to excellence.   

2010 D-2 West Regionals