USQ announces its Referees of the Month for Spring 2019: Sam Doughton, Toby March, and Ricky Nelson.
The USQ Referee of the Month program runs throughout the season, selecting six referees who demonstrate a strong commitment to high quality officiating. These winners are also eligible for the Referee of the Year award, chosen in March.
Doughton, a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), has been a certified head referee for three years. In addition to refereeing at tournaments his team at UNC attends, Doughton has made a habit of traveling both in and out of region as a non-playing official to facilitate USQ games throughout the southeastern United States. Some of his favorite locations he has traveled to ref at include Columbia, SC, Blacksburg, VA, Auburndale, FL, and Tuscaloosa, AL. He has head refereed at multiple USQ Regional Championships and US Quidditch Cups, and has had the honor of being on the referee crews for both the Mid-Atlantic and the South Regional Championship finals this season, in addition to the community division final at US Quidditch Cup 11.
Doughton started his refereeing career as a soccer and flag football official at his local YMCA in high school. He has been able to hone his craft on the pitch by combining the skills he learned during high school with the advice from countless referee mentors across the Southeast. Doughton is now a two-time winner of the Referee of Month award, having also won in February 2018.
Doughton would like to thank the players and coaches of USQ–as well as every assistant referee he has worked with–for making his work as a referee one of the most rewarding experiences of his time in college.
Making his initial debut in the community as a player, Nelson has been a quidditch referee for eight years. He has officiated at every national championship since World Cup V in New York. By traveling to tournaments on both coasts to referee and snitch, he helps make tournaments possible by filling in wherever he is needed. This year, he attended three USQ Regional Championships: Mid-Atlantic, West, and Southwest. Nelson continues to look to improve his officiating and is always receptive to ways he can improve his performance.
This is Nelson’s third time receiving this award. He has also continued to help develop the sport by serving as a field test proctor to help certify other officials and works with USQ’s Rules Team to make changes to the rules so that they may improve the experience of both the players and the officials.
March joined the quidditch community as a member of the Ithaca College Hex, and started reffing in 2012 within the Snow Belt Conference in central New York. Since then, he has significantly expanded his scope of practice by traveling throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe for major tournaments. March has officiated over 300 games in the past three years alone. This year, March attended three USQ Regional Championships: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and West.
Off the pitch, March has also held several volunteer positions for both US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch, and he enjoys diversifying his skillset by refereeing flat-track roller derby as a member of the WFTDA.
He would like to thank the previous generation of quidditch officials who mentored him at the start of his career, and hopes to have a similar opportunity to pass on knowledge to the refs that have come up after him.
Now in the fifth season of the program, the Referee of the Month award is open to all USQ-certified head referees. Recipients are primarily selected based on referee reviews, which include feedback from coaches, peer referees, tournament directors, and players. The number of games a referee oversees within that month and their overall contributions to the quidditch community as a referee are also taken into account. All these data points are reviewed by the USQ Referee Team, who then select the recipients of this award.
Members of USQ’s Referee Team are eligible to be selected for the award. However, any member who is up for discussion as a potential winner is required to recuse themselves from the conversation to avoid potential conflicts of interest. In addition, any Referee Team member who is selected as a Referee of the Month is not eligible for the US Quidditch Cup travel grant.
For questions about the Referee of the Month program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.