State high jump champ honored in Wauconda
Illinois high jump champion Grace Daun was honored by the Wauconda village board on Tuesday for her trailblazing accomplishment.
Daun, a 17-year-old Wauconda resident, became the first female Wauconda High School athlete to win a state title last month with a 5-foot, 8-inch leap in the Illinois High School Association Class 3A meet at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
During Tuesday's village board meeting, Mayor Lincoln Knight gave Daun a plaque and a large metal sign proclaiming her title win -- just like those that soon will be installed at various spots in town.
Daun, who is headed into her senior year at Wauconda High, called the title win a thrilling experience.
"It's definitely empowering," she said. "I'm grateful for everyone who has been there for me."
Additionally, Daun tied for seventh in the Class 3A high jump state contest as a freshman and tied for sixth as a sophomore.
Wauconda High Athletic Director Mark Ribbens couldn't be prouder of Daun. He noted the teen, who is diabetic, won the Class 3A title despite being ill the morning of the competition.
"She jumped so well that day despite feeling lousy," Ribbens said. "She found the energy to focus and only missed four jumps all day long. It was amazing."
Ribbens believes Daun's championship will inspire all of the school's female athletes to believe in themselves and to be confident that their athletic efforts are meaningful.
"Having a female athlete win a state championship for (Wauconda High) puts us on the map," he said.
Daun's parents were Wauconda High athletes, too. Her dad, Jason, wrestled; her mom, Kristen, ran hurdles.
Both are on the school's wall of fame.
Daun isn't done with public accolades just yet. She will be honored Aug. 24 during the Bulldogs' varsity football home opener against Richmond-Burton High School.