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2019 NFHS Swimming and Diving Committee Welcomes New Members

By NFHS on March 07, 2019 swimming & diving article Print

The NFHS is pleased to welcome Melissa Mertz as the new chair of the Swimming and Diving Rules Committee. Mertz will serve a four-year term (2019-2022), replacing the former chair Kristine Palle.

Mertz is the associate executive director of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) where she has worked for 20 years. She is the tournament director for field hockey, competitive spirit, boys and girls swimming and diving, boys and girls lacrosse, and softball. In addition to her tournament responsibilities, Mertz also works with public relations, sanctioning, student leadership, member schools and interpretation of PIAA By-laws. In addition to serving as the chair of the NFHS Field Hockey Rules Committee, she has also served two terms on the NFHS Strategic Planning Committee. Currently, she is serving on the NFHS Technology Committee.

Mertz earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Shippensburg University. While a student at Shippensburg, Melissa played both field hockey and lacrosse. She was a three-time All-American and four-time All-Conference in field hockey. In 2008, Mertz was inducted into the Shippensburg University Athletic Hall of Fame. Mertz and her husband Jason have twin children, Ryder and Hailey.

The NFHS also welcomes two new members who will join the 2019 Swimming and Diving Rules Committee: Darren Bilberry and Rod Garman.

Darren Bilberry - Section 2

Darren Bilberry is an assistant commissioner with the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA), serving as director of eligibility for hearing officer matters. Bilberry works with student eligibility and due process, he is the Title IX compliance officer, administrator of the Title IX site visit and Education Project Program, and the KHSADA/NIAAA Liaison. Bilberry has been with the KHSAA since February of 2007. Prior to working with the KHSAA, he taught special needs students and was an assistant football coach at Henry Clay High School. He has also worked for several years at the collegiate level at various universities as an academic counselor for student-athletes.

Bilberry is a 1990 graduate of the University of Kentucky where he played football while earning a degree in journalism. He also received a Master of Science in education from the University of Kentucky in 2001 as well as a Master of Arts in education from Georgetown College in 2006. He is married to Cathy Bilberry and they have two daughters, Emma and Jane. Bilberry will serve a four-year term (2019-2022).

Rod Garman - Section 5

Garman is in his first year as an assistant executive director for the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) where he administers boys and girls swimming and diving, boys and girls soccer, student council, Scholars Bowl, and works with the KSHSAA Student Advisory Team. Prior to joining the KSHSAA, Garman served 25 years in education as a teacher, coach, athletic director, principal, and district administrator. He continued coaching boys and girls swimming even as a school and district administrator. He coached at the summer league, club, and high school levels, and guided Seaman High School to the 5-1A Boys State Championship in 2018. Garman has been honored as the National Distinguished Elementary Principal for Kansas (2013), KAHPERD Administrator of the Year (2016), as well as the Kansas 5-1A Boys Swim & Dive Coach of the Year (2016 & 2018).

Garman was a three-sport athlete in high school and participated in tennis in college. Garman and his wife, Kristin, reside in Topeka, and have twin sons who are freshmen in college. Garman will serve a four-year term (2019-2022).

The NFHS Rules Writing Committees consist of experts in their given sport or activity and each are nominated by their state association. The committee chair works with the NFHS liaison to prepare the annual meeting agenda, chairs the meeting, and guides the committee through the rules proposal deliberation process. Committee members represent one of the eight sections as divided by the NFHS Bylaws. Each member obtains feedback from their section regarding submitted rules proposals. A member of the NFHS Coaches Association and the NFHS Officials Association also serve on the committee and represent their constituent group. Each committee member serves a four-year term. The 2019 NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Committee Meeting will take place March 24-26, 2019, in Indianapolis.