Favorite food: Broccoli
Favorite actor: Denzel
Favorite musician: Beyonce
Favorite TV show: Walker Texas Ranger
Favorite thing to do outside of sports: To sing
Prodigy, Phenom, Female Powerhouse (by Nick Hinojosa '15)
“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill” -Muhammad Ali.
Countless variables go into making a good athlete. For Illinois College hurdler Missy Norville, the recipe is lineage, family competiveness, childhood and a pure will to do better.
Norville is the defending NCAA Division III national champion in the 55-meter hurdles, a task she toppled as a sophomore in 2011, making her the first female national champion at Illinois College. This year she will be competing once again at the national track meet, held in Grinnell, Iowa.
The IC athlete is one of nine children in her family, and the seventh Norville to attend IC. Her father, Matthew Norville Sr., is a 1980 graduate of the Jacksonville, Ill, school and starred on the basketball team.
Missy continues the family legacy of achieving academic and athletic success at IC. She follows her three older brothers Matt (29) who played tennis and basketball, James (27) who played golf and basketball, and Josiah (22) who is a senior track runner; and her two older sisters Nikki (26) who played basketball and ran track and Candace (23) who lettered 18 times in four different sports.
Missy has followed the steps of her old siblings and has left big boots to fill for the next Norvilles in line, Kamar (18), Ian (13) and Cassie (11).
The family’s love and appreciation for athletics started to have an effect on Missy’s life at a young age. “When I was younger I always wanted to go outside and run around and just do something,” she said. “I would always play volleyball and skateboard when I was younger.”
From a young age, Missy showed her adventurous side. “In elementary school I would run and jump over construction road blocks and trash cans,” she said. “To me, jumping anywhere and everywhere was a lot of fun, so that is what I would do.”
This love of jumping can explain the national champion’s impressive personal best in the 55 hurdles with a time of 8.86.
Early on in life, she began creating her own identity as an athlete, and she would soon emerge out of her older siblings’ shadows. Missy was encouraged by her family’s athletic habits but she finds success in the sports that she has loved since she was a child, volleyball and track.
There was a great system for the sixth born Norville but there also was a competitive push from her family. However, one time there was a negative effect. “I remember when I was no older than six that Josiah and I were in the same basketball league and we bet 15 push-ups that our team would win,” she said. “My team lost and I was mad because I scored six points and my brother scored none, but we lost and my family video taped me doing the push-ups.”
Even though this is not a memory Missy favors, it shows the competitive nature of her family’s support system and the positive effects that it’s had on her athletic career.
Because of her experience with Josiah at six, Missy had developed a competitive edge and began working on athletic skills that would prove themselves useful in her sports career. In seventh grade Missy went unbeaten in the hurdles and set the school record in the triple jump.
In eighth grade she set the record in the long jump with an impressive leap of 14 feet, 11 inches. “In eighth grade I only lost in the hurdles once, to my teammate. So, I guess middle school is when I knew I was pretty good at track” said Missy.
Eventually the young talent would become a rising star at the collegiate level, as the Lady Blue now makes her second trip to the national track meet.
Although Missy may have a competitive swagger, her biggest competition is herself. She constantly looks forward to breaking her personal records, and as long as she runs well she doesn’t care about losing.
Missy is excited by the idea of constantly doing better and her pure determination is hard to miss. “What motivates me to run is the fact that I don’t think I have peaked in anything yet,” said the trackster. “I love running and jumping and the whole aspect of being at track meets, but the main thing is that I just want to be the best that I can be and I feel that I still can jump farther and run faster, so that is what I look towards.”
What is noticeable about the Norvilles is they all achieve success in different sports. Missy displays her individuality by her strength training, which increases her explosiveness and her game day nutrition (doesn’t like to eat during track meets).
Missy may have followed in her family’s footsteps by attending IC, but she has established a name of her own by finding success in something she has always enjoyed.
Whether it’s jumping over trash cans as she did in her adolescence or jumping into a sand pit or over hurdles, Missy Norville is sure to be in the lead.