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Certified Referee Observers


The Certified Referee Observer will help to identify and train referees at the regional level, with the dual purposes of ensuring the best Regional referee cadre we can produce and shepherding those referees who wish to move on to the National referee cadre.


The goals of the Certified Referee Observer program are to:

Build a stronger base of local and regional referees. Historically, some areas of the country have higher numbers of referees, and more frequent seminar opportunities. The CRO program will ensure that each region has ample representation, with the goal of providing more equitable learning opportunities for developing referees. As more individuals sit through referee seminars and exams, more potential referees are created. While not everyone who participates in the seminar and passes the exam decides to referee, for those that do, it is imperative that they be formally observed to be awarded a rating. As they continue to work, their skills should increase, and they should be encouraged to handle the level of difficulty of higher-level bouts in order to seek higher ratings. In addition, a new requirement that all sanctioned tournaments must have at least one rated referee present means that some regions will have to create more referees than they currently have on hand. 

Encourage consistency of officiating among regions. Certified Referee Observers maintain a close tie with the national cadre, and referee at national events as often as they are able. This ensures that they stay current with changes to and interpretations of rules and right of way application. When they work as a CRO at a regional or local event, they bring with them the experience of national officiating, and the resulting observations help to guide these developing referees. 

With CROs being present and active at more events each season, there are more opportunities to study developing referees’ abilities, and recommend that some of these be hired for a national event. 


The Domestic Referee Development Committee is charged with identifying individuals among the cadre who have the experience, desire, and time to commit to serving as a Certified Referee Observer. 

Criteria to be considered:

1.    A CRO must be current with their own refereeing activity. They must referee at a minimum of one Division 1 NAC or Championship event per season. (The first half of Summer Nationals ie Div 1, Div 1A, Junior, Cadet)
2.    Must be a referee in good standing.
3.    Must have been active for 3 seasons prior to becoming a CRO
4.    They must either be a multi weapon referee with an N2 in two weapons or an N1 in a single weapon. Must have a minimum of a R1 in any weapon that they are submitting an observation in.(Exceptions to be made on a case by case basis, depending on region need. These exceptions are reviewed by the RC as a whole prior to approval)
5.    Candidates can request appointment as a CRO by emailing the Vice-Chair of Domestic Referee Development. The vice- chair of Referee Development will approve on a rolling basis.

Responsibilities of Certified Referee Observers:

1.    Actively Engage: Actively engage at regional events and coordinate with regional event organizers and Head Referees to coordinate observations of referees at local and regional events. Engage with CRIs in the region to identify observational opportunities for all referees. Engage with local organizers in the region to address seminar needs.

2.    Provide Feedback: Use the online tool for submitting observations with appropriate and complete feedback. A CRO may recommend a rating upgrade to a maximum of level R1. A CRO must hold a rating at least 1 level above the rating that they are recommending in each weapon. Provide feedback to the RC regarding potential developing referees with ability and desire to work on the national circuit.

3.    Participate in regular CRI/CRO development events as scheduled throughout the season by the RC. These events will be virtual to accommodate schedules and location.

For more information on the goals of the CRO program as well as consideration and responsibilities of CROs, click here.

To contact a CRO listed below, please email


Last Name First Name Region Division
Barton Peter 1 Utah-Southern Idaho
Martin Tasha 1 Oregon
Wolfson Kyle 1 Oregon
Lu AnnaMaria 2 St. Louis
O'Brien Sean 2 Michigan
Torchia Dan 2 Wisconsin
Vesper Jim 2 Michigan
Barnhart William 3 Hudson-Berkshire
Belanich Susan 3 New England
Bissdorf Joan 3 New England
Brown Zack 3 New Jersey
Decker Laura 3 Metro NYC
Dreyer Matt 3 Long Island
Frye Mary 3 Philadelphia
Gamaleldin Hanan 3 New England
Herring Josh 3 Philadelphia
Jacobson Tyler 3 New England
Mahmoud Taysir 3 New England
Sach David 3 New England
Taggersell Cara 3 New England
Tucker Matthew 3 New England
Zeljkovic Jelena 3 Philadelphia
Alperstein Donald 4 Colorado
Borgos Susan 4 Colorado
Donnelly Devin 4 Northern California
Hill Molly 4 Northern California
Milestone Jessi 4 Southern California
Porter George 4 New Mexico
Waters Essene 4 New Mexico
Benson Jerry 5 Oklahoma
Curry Allan 5 North Texas
Ross Michael 5 South Texas
Balog Marcus 6 Capital
Del Gaizo Robert 6 Capital
Gibbs Bobby 6 Capital
Greene Charles 6 Maryland
Matt Ryan 6 Capital
Pashby Stephen 6 North Carolina
Thornton Ron 6 Capital
Koehler Kelly INT Oregon