This weekend's D-III indoor finals features local flavor
Just this past Wednesday night at the Bolingbrook sectional semifinal boys basketball game West Aurora won, this writer was saying his best story ideas are often someone else's. Here's an example.
Recently a reader checked in with a reminder about Illinois College senior track and field athlete Melissa "Missy" Norville.
We've had Norville, Batavia High School's girls record-holder in long jump and triple jump, in this space several times over the past several years. She's dominated Midwest Conference women's track and field, winning so many indoor and outdoor conference "performer of the week" awards in track or field events, sometimes both in the same week, that to list her every time would be overkill, frankly.
Given all her accomplishments -- such as three national titles and the DIII Midwest Region's 2012 athlete of the year as named by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association -- and her participating in this weekend's Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships at North Central College in Naperville, she remains good copy.
Norville, whose younger sister Tamar also competes for Illinois College, follows in the footsteps of several older siblings including Josiah and Candace Norville. Candace earned an Illinois College-record 18 athletic letters.
Melissa Norville is seeded first in each of the three events she'll be competing Friday and Saturday in Naperville, the 60-meter hurdles, long jump and triple jump. Each mark was set at the Midwest Conference Indoor Championships in late February.
Norville's time of 8.61 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles is .10 seconds faster than the next highest seed.
Her distance of 21 feet, ½-inch in long jump is the longest indoor mark in Division III history.
Norville's triple jump mark of 41-7 ranks second all-time in DIII, only 1½ inches off the record.
Suffice it to say she'll be a favorite.
Any track fan who hasn't visited the 100,000-square-foot Al B. Carius Track should go now. As wondrous as Batavia's new field house is for high school track, this is even more spectacular.
It will be even better knowing some other locals besides Norville will be competing. Names that stood out on the heat sheets included the St. Charles North-Illinois Wesleyan duo of senior Jenna Loynachan running in the 1,600-meter relay and Titans sophomore Meridith Beird competing in pole vault.
Allison Devor, the St. Charles East graduate who seems to win Midwest Conference field performer of the week whenever Norville does not, will represent Monmouth in both shot put and the weight throw.
On the men's side is Marmion graduate Alex Rindone, nearly Norville's male equivalent. Rindone, a senior at Augustana, owns six program records either as an individual or as part of a relay.
Most recently setting Augie's indoor 400-meter dash record as well as a meet record at Grinnell, Rindone brings his time of 48.85 seconds into that event at North Central. He will also run a leg of the 1,600-meter relay along with Batavia graduate David Voland.
In long jump, West Aurora's Matt Souvannasing made the field. He competes for championship host North Central College, which under the legendary Carius has won the men's DIII indoor title each of the last three seasons.
On the women's side Wartburg College, out of Iowa, is the defending indoor champion and has won it for three of the last four years and finished second in 2011 and 2008.
Thanks for the idea, dear reader, and keep 'em coming!
On the cusp
Speaking of both Augustana and Batavia, another usual college roundup suspect, Augustana senior tennis player Kim Sawyer returned from a spring trip to Florida one win short of the Vikings' record for women's singles victories.
Going 4-0 in No. 1 singles in Orlando, Sawyer's 75-16 career mark is tied for second on the school ledger, a win shy of the 76 wins earned by Rochelle's Kristen Pence.
Sawyer, 19-2 this season and owner of an .824 lifetime winning percentage in singles play that stands as an Augustana record, goes for the wins record against Wisconsin-Whitewater on Saturday in Milwaukee.
Round and round they go
The Geneva girls and boys track and field programs are bringing back a fundraiser that sounds as if it would make all but the most seasoned distance runner dizzy.
The Vikings' 24-Hour Relay, returning after a successful spin in both 2010 and 2011, starts 3:30 p.m. Friday and lasts till 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Geneva's indoor track that, balcony-like, surrounds the competition gym.
"It was really successful and a lot of fun," said Vikings senior co-captain Emma Anderson, who ran in the first two Relays. "Not only are we getting fundraising money but we're also bonding as a team and getting to know each other better. It's a win-win situation."
Girls and boys teams will each be divided into three groups, each group taking two 4-hour shifts. After a mile each runner will pass the baton to a teammate who will continue the process into the wee hours and out into a new day. When not running the athletes can use the gym or weight room, play video games or watch movies.
We're thinking "Chariots of Fire" is not on the menu.
Apparently the 24-Hour Relay is not too drastic a gutbuster even for sprinters and high jumpers like Anderson.
"Everyone seems to handle it pretty well," said Anderson, who like all Geneva boys and girls track athletes sought pledges by the mile from friends, family and businesses. "With all the training we do it usually turns out OK for us sprinters."
Geneva girls track coach Peter Raak said the goal for the boys squad is to run 200 miles over the 24 hours, which he said is the equivalent of about a 7-minute mile. For girls the goal is 180 miles, or an average 8-minute mile.
Anderson has the final shift Saturday from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Despite the formidable mileage total, she figures to run only one to two miles because everyone shares the load.
It's still best to get a good night sleep and hydrate beforehand.
"When we get there, they're pretty tired, it seems," she said.
Follow Dave on Twitter @doberhelman1
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