Two women will work as part of the same officiating crew this Saturday at Connor Field in Atherton, Calif., when Menlo College hosts Whitworth University in a nonconference college football game.
It will be the first time two women will work the same officiating crew for a game involving an NCAA member institution. In 2007, Sarah Thomas became the first woman to work a major college game when she was on the crew for the Memphis-Jacksonville State game September 15 in Memphis.
Catherine Conti will work as the head lineswoman and Mary Podesta will be the line judge during Saturday’s Menlo-Whitworth game. Both are employed by the Northwest Intercollegiate Football Officials Association (NIFOA), which makes assignments for games involving the Division III Northwest Conference, the Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference and Menlo, which is an independent from the NAIA.
“The NIFOA and the Northwest Conference are proud to be leaders in equality for all and will take another step toward that goal with Cat Conti and Mary Podesta working together as football officials for the Whitworth-Menlo game,” said Mike Burton, longtime commissioner of NIFOA.
“Both Cat and Mary were hired after being evaluated in their high school and community college careers, and they were rated at the top in officiating ability. This first comes about due to their ability and skill. The NIFOA and Northwest Conference have some of the finest football officials in the country. As commissioner of the NIFOA I am proud to have them on my staff.”
Conti, from Carmarillo, Calif., has worked the last five years in the Southern California community college leagues. She was rated the top line judge in that association before being hired by the NIFOA.
This year, Conti worked the Southern Arkansas at Texas State game for the Southland Conference in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision, and she also was hired by the Division III Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for five games. She works full time as high school teacher.
Podesta, from San Mateo, Calif., is originally from the Bay Area and is a former NCAA Division I volleyball player at the University of San Francisco.
She is a coach and athletics director at Menlo-Atherton High School and was rated one of the top officials from the Northern California community college league, where she worked for four years.