Class of 2016
Kenneth Watkins began wrestling at Argo Community High School and Proviso East before joining the US Army from 1979 – 1987. He served for 8 years and obtained the rank of Sergeant as a Calibration Technician (35H) and Electronic Instrument Repairman (35B). He competed in many open wrestling tournaments during his military career which included tours of duty at White Sands Missile Range (New Mexico), Ft Wainwright (Alaska) and Seoul Korea.
During his Army career, Ken followed Illinois wrestling by having his mom send him clips from local Newspapers. After returning home, he continued following wrestling and went to many State post season tournaments. His love of the sport found him at West Leyden High School where he watched the Dual Team State Championships. During a break he spoke with one of the officials and inquired how he could become an official. After the conversation and a news report on the lack of officials for high school sports he obtained his officials license in 1993.
Since obtaining his official’s license Ken’s passion for the sport of wrestling has led him on a path whereby he has officiated many High School, State and National tournaments. His officiating accomplishments include IHSA Individual State Championships, IHSA Dual team championships, IKWF Individual State Championships, IKWF Dual Team State Championships, IESA Individual State Championships, Hinsdale Central Rex Whitlatch, Dvorak, Barrington, Disney Duals, Ohio Tournament of Champions, NHSCA Senior Nationals, Beast of the East, Reno Tournament of Champions, Rocky Mountain Nationals, Reno World of Wrestling, AAU World Folkstyle Championships, The Clash, AAU Middle School Duals, USA Middle School Duals, Brute Frosh / Soph Nationals, Dixie Duals, Super 32, Tulsa Nationals, Black Hills Nationals. Frosh / Soph State, CPS Championships, NHSCA Pre-season Open, NHSCA Duals and Midwest Nationals.
Ken’s service to wrestling include Illinois AAU officials Rep, TOC Illinois Official’s Rep, AAU Core Official, IKWF West Chicago Sectional Official’s Chairman (Retired), AAU Middle School Duals Head official (2X) and he was the AAU Folkstlye official of the year in 2003.
Ken currently resides in Maywood with his Wife of 20 years (Marcella) and his children (Xavier 19 and Mickayla 14). He has officiated for 23 years and truly believes the wrestling community is a tight knit family. He would like to thank everyone that has helped, encouraged and supported him throughout his career!