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Southern Tier Sports Report
SOUTHPORT — Four Notre Dame sports standouts will continue their careers at the next level as they signed last month to play collegiate sports.

Two softball players, a runner and a softball player signed to play in college.

Here’s a look at each athlete and what’s next.

Playing softball at Corning Community College
The two-time IAC MVP and first-team all-star. A three-time all-state selection, including second team twice. She was the all-STSR Pitcher of the Year this year.

The daughter of Larry and Darcy Switzer plans to study biology at CCC.

“It makes me so happy, there is no place I’d rather be than on the softball field,” Switzer said. “So, the fact that I can play for two, maybe four more years is so exciting.”

Switzer feels comfortable joining a CCC team that’s been to three straight national finals.

“It’s a lot more comforting,” Switzer said. “I like to win, like anyone else. Coach (Stacy) Johnson does a great job. She’s a great coach, she’s a great person, so that makes it a little more comforting to go to college.”

The Notre Dame standout knows there’s a lot of work to be done before college.

“A lot of hard work,” she said. “I know it’s going to be a huge step up. I know I have to do a lot of hard work to compete at a different level and that’s what I’m going to do.”

The winning tradition of CCC played a big role in Switzer’s choice.

“Winnig, the fact that they travel and I’ve met a few girls on the team, they are great, it’s really exciting,” Switzer said.

And, she’ll have one of her college teammates on the team as Horseheads’ Kailee West is also going to CCC.

“I love Kailee,” Switzer said. “So, I’m so excited to be back on the field with her. It’s been since last summer, so I’m really excited.”

Playing softball at Chipola College
The all-STSR Offensive Player of the year is a three-time al-state selection, including first team twice. She’s a three-time first-team IAC all-star.

The daughter of Kelli and James Bigelow plans to study history at art at Chipola College.

“I think it’s absolutely crazy,” Bigelow said. “I expected it, and hoped for it all along, but I think it’s crazy it’s finally coming into perspective and happening and it’s about to become part of my everyday routine.”

Chipola, a national power in junior college, seemed like the right fit for Bigelow.

“I think it’s just the right fit for me to keep me in line,” Bigelow said. “Keep me with what I’m good at and what I love and just a perfect way to get out there more.

“I hope to be able to be a good fit for my school. I don’t need to go out and be a huge person there. I just want to go out and help the team, use my assets. The program was the right fit for me because the girls were amazing when I met them there and the coaching is fantastic. It’s just a really good place to start if you want to go big D1.”

For Bigelow the toughest part of leaving Notre Dame is leaving her teammates.

“I think I’m just going to cherish being able to be with my girls,” Bigelow said. “I’m just so sad about leaving behind my juniors and leaving behind a legacy I hope everyone else looks up to.”

Running track and field and cross country at Chatham
The Crusaders standout has been a state qualifier five times in cross country every year of her career that there was a state meet, and she’s been a state qualifier in track and field throughout her career as well.

“I’m incredibly excited,” Young said. “It’s been a wonderful past six years and I’m so excited to keep going.”

Chatham was a school that Young visited later on in the process and fell in love with.

“Originally I was looking at big schools down south and I ended up visiting Chatham just before I made my decision actually and I ended up loving a small school up north,” Young said. “It was a surprise for me but I know I made the right decision.”

This year Young took on a new event with the steeple chase and she knows Chatham gives her a chance to run an event like the steeple chase.

“The small school I think will allow me to try new things,” Young said. “Where, at a big school I’d have to stick to my events. This way I’ll be able to try things, keep steeplechasing hopefully.”

Young ended liking everything about Chatham.

“The coach is very knowledgeable about what she does,” Young said. “She’s a Chatham alumni, she knows about the sport and she’s very excited to have a steeple chaser.

“I am excited. I will be running cross country, indoor and outdoor, so I’ll get to see some different cross country courses. I’ll get to try some new indoor and outdoor tracks, it will be exciting.”

Playing soccer at Lake Forest College
A two-time IAC first-team all-star and a three-time selection. A member of the 2022 Notre Dame team that finished in the final four at states.

An all-region selection twice, a Super 13 Southern Tier All-Star and an IAC Character Award winner.

A Top Drawer 24 selection and a rookie of the year and I-88 Sportsmanship Award winner.
The daughter of Sarah and Vincent Chicone plans to major in environmental studies at Lake Forest College.

“It’s amazing, you don’t understand, you do this since you were five years old and all of a sudden it doesn’t end and you get to do it for another four years,” Chicone said. “It doesn’t feel like it ever leaves you, it’s such a happy feeling.”

For Chicone Lake Forest College is a school many of her family members went to.

“My mother, my aunt and my uncle all went there and my mom is from Illinois, it just feels like home there.”

For Chicone that trip to the state final four was a magical memory of high school.

“I will never forget our regional game, when we won regionals that was the greatest,” Chicone said.

Now, she’s ready to take on a new challenge in college.

“I’m very excited” she said. “I think it will be really cool to play in the Midwest too. Play is different denting on your region, so I’m excited to see how the Midwest plays and try and transition to their style.”

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