John Cerna named to WIAA board

Seeks to return Hardwood Classic to 16-team format

Toppenish School District Superintendent John Cerna has been named to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Board.

Cerna will fill the Region C seat vacated by Dr. Pam Veltri, who had served on the Board since 2010.

Cerna was nominated, then asked if he would accept. He was also interviewed.

“They asked if I had any changes I’d like to see , and I said I had a few,” he said.

Cerna is well known in the area he represents. He’s been a Toppenish educator 40 years. As a coach, he’s had several state caliber teams.

Two changes Cerna will promote are a return to 16-team state basketball tournaments and 32-man state wrestling tournaments.

Cerna said he would seek equity in conduct rules for wrestlers. A wrestler can be disqualified from advancing through tournaments for unsportsmanlike conduct. Players in team sports don’t face such banishment, even if they curse or swear.

Cerna doesn’t want wrestlers to get a break. He wants athletes in team sports to be disqualified the same way for similar conduct.

Cerna coached high school football, wrestling and baseball, earning four WIAA State Championships. As an interscholastic athlete, Cerna was a three-sport performer at Toppenish and twice qualified for Mat Classic.

Cerna attended Yakima Valley Junior College before earning his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Central Washington University and his master’s degree from Heritage University, while earning his Superintendent’s credentials from Washington State University.

The WIAA Executive Board is comprised of 13 school or athletic administrators.

“They’re never had the perspective of a wrestling coach on the board,” Cerna said. “They do now.”

Cerna began teaching in the Toppenish School District in 1979 before moving into administration. He has served in his current position as Superintendent  since 2010 after spending seven years as the Assistant Superintendent.

The Board consists of representatives from each of the nine districts, three regional members and one at-large representative.

Assistant Athletic Director of Seattle Public Schools, Pat McCarthy, will serve as the Board President for the 2018-19 school year while Greg Whitmore, Athletic Director at Lind-Ritzville High School will assume the role of Vice President.


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