DECATUR — DaeLin Switzer's high school athletic career is the stuff of legend around Macon County.
In her four years at St. Teresa, she accumulated 12 state track medals — four gold, four silver, three bronze, and one fourth place — and propelled the Bulldogs to consecutive Class 1A third-place state trophies, a first in program history.
Switzer's performance at this year's state meet earned her the Herald & Review Macon County Girls Track Athlete of the Year, an award she won last year as well.
There is little double where Switzer sits with her track coach Todd Vohland, who is the Herald & Review's pick for the Area Girls Track Coach of the Year for an 11th time in his career.
"I think she is one the greatest female athletes to ever come out of this area. She is all-conference in volleyball, all-conference second team in basketball, and then a multi-medal-winning track athlete," he said. "There are some other good athletes around who have done some good things in one sport and some in two sports, and DaeLin did it in three sports."
As a middle hitter on the volleyball team, Switzer was key in the Bulldogs taking third-place at this year's Class 1A tournament. On the basketball team, she was a part of three regional championship teams.
"It is hard to find a better resume in this area in history. That's not overlooking all the great athletes from around here but I challenge someone in three sports that has that resume," Vohland said.
At this year's state meet, Switzer was looking to match history as the second female athlete to win four consecutive state gold medals in high jump. The dream fell just short with a bronze medal. and she was crushed with her first loss at state high jump competition.
"I was ready to walk away. I was so sad after the high jump and I said, 'Coach, I’m so terrible, I don’t know what I’m doing.’ I didn’t want to run (my other events) and my whole mood was ruined," Switzer said.
Vohland, in response, reminded Switzer she wasn't a quitter. He also gave her some chocolate.
"I was like, 'I’m not a quitter, OK coach, lets go.' He talked me through it and everything and got me some chocolate milk to calm down," Switzer said. "He wouldn’t let me drink too much of it but it helped. Coach Vohland is the best track coach ever. "
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In the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and 200-meter dash that followed, Switzer set personal bests and school records.
"I'm really proud of her that she regrouped. She had never lost at high jump at state so that was certainly a difficult thing. To go out an hour later and (set personal records) and set school records in the 100 hurdles and break her own school record in the 300 hurdles and then the 200 meters, it was amazing," Vohland said.
Setting a school record in the 100 hurdles had been a Switzer's goal for a long time.
"After the high jump, I had 100 hurdles and I consider that my worst event. I told coach, 'I don’t know how I’m going to do this.' With hurdles you have to have so much focus and I was not focused on the race and my head was not in it," Switzer said. "I really had to think: OK DaeLin, you have to calm down, you have to focus on your lane and your lane only. Do this for you. Don’t worry about who is next to you, don’t worry about your team. Go out and do what you know you can do."
Although she took home silver medals in the 100 and 300 hurdles, her times (14.40 and 43.75) would have won her the Class 2A 100 hurdles gold and the Class 2A and 3A 300 hurdles gold.
"What I hope doesn't get overlooked is even though her places weren't as good, her times were better. In three of her four events she was better than she ever has been," Vohland said.
With a little bit of time from the state meet, Switzer is proud of her performance.
"Of course I wanted to win, but overall I can’t do any better than how I did. If I (set personal records) then I tried my best and I left it all out in the track," Switzer said. "I was a little disappointed about high jump because I didn't PR there but I have four more years to work on that though."
Switzer is moving on to set new PRs at Northern Illinois University where she will compete in the heptathlon.
"I’m nervous because I’ve never been that far away from home and everything, but I’m ready and I’m really excited to run with such a great group of girls. The coaches are amazing and once I get the training I need I’m excited to see how far I will go next year," she said. "I’ve been seeing (St. Teresa's) volleyball team at their summer tournaments and I’m a little bit sad that I’m not there but you have to move on to the next chapter. I am excited because there are people working on track all year round and I think sometimes if I just did that who knows how much better I could have been. College is where that can all take place."