DECATUR -- St. Teresa veteran track coach and athletic director Todd Vohland has a lot of track and field award hardware.
Regional titles, sectional titles, and in October he was selected for induction as a member of the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
One piece of hardware Vohland was missing was a team trophy from the Class 1A state track meet. In fact, no St. Teresa track coach, boys or girls, had ever captured one.
This year's team changed that.
Led by junior DaeLin Switzer, the team got Vohland a 1A third-place trophy for the cabinet and made him the Herald & Review's Macon County Girls Track Coach of the Year, his 10th time winning the award.
"I was really happy with our kids and thought that they put together a fantastic season," Vohland said. "I thought we would be pretty good just based on that we had some really good athletes in a lot of different events and those kids performed."
Vohland had the Bulldogs primed as the team to beat around Central Illinois as the Bulldogs racked up wins at the Piatt-Macon County Meet, the Macon County Meet and the Class 1A Sullivan Sectional.
"When you can win a few invitationals like we did it gets everybody more excited because it becomes not just an individual thing, it becomes a team thing," he said. "Obviously DaeLin was huge but Noelle DeJaynes was amazing and we also got great throwing performances from Anna Hooker. And we knew Marli Mcleod would get us points in the pole vault, but Sophia Thompson, in only her second year of pole vaulting, ended up qualifying for state, so it was some unbelievable efforts across the board."
Although Vohland is thrilled with the team's third-place finish, the Bulldogs' 35 points were within striking distance of first-place St. Joseph-Ogden's 43 points. St. Teresa may have finished higher had injuries gone a different way.
"Sade Oladipupo had one of the top long jump marks in the season and had really come on and looked like a threat in the 200, plus she really helped our relay," Vohland said. "She missed the last third of the season with a stress fracture in her foot and I would have loved to have her come sectionals and state time, but I’m really proud of other kids that had to step up in the relays and fill in and did a great job."
Oladipupo's injury moved Switzer to the 200-meters, where she won a silver medal, and switched around St. Teresa's 4x200 lineup.
"Originally they were both going to run (the 4x200 relay)," Vohland said. "I really felt that with both of them we would have had a 4x200 that could have challenged for the state title. DaeLin took advantage of that opportunity."
While Vohland said he thought his current team was strong entering the season, the future looks even brighter for the Bulldogs as Switzer returns for her senior season and underclassman improve, particularly Morgan Brummer, Sydney McNamara and Katie Dunscomb.
"It is always a thrill to coach when you see some kids that maybe you didn’t know, maybe they are freshman or they are out for track for the first time and they come through," Vohland said. "Seeing those kids work really hard, and then see that work pay off, is one of the great joys of coaching."