Kjellander and Norville boosting two programs at once

Kjellander and Norville boosting two programs at once

{CAPTION} Photo/Darren Iozia

Illinois College soccer player Ally Kjellander defends the ball during a home game this month.

Many student-athletes at Illinois College choose to participate in more than one sport. Few take on two sports that compete at the same time of year.

Junior Tamar Norville and sophomore Ally Kjellander are unique among the many student-athletes that make up a significant portion of Illinois College’s total enrollment. Sure, a lot of Blueboys and Lady Blues make the commitment to play more than one sport, but almost always those sports fall at different points on the calendar. 

This fall, Norville and Kjellander are competing on the women’s soccer team and women’s tennis team at the same time, even suiting up for each team on the same day. It’s a rare combination when a dual-sport athlete competes in two sports at once, but the pair is working hard to stay on top of every aspect of their lives. 

For Norville, tackling multiple sports is sort of a rite of passage. Her father and multiple siblings have all graduated from Illinois College, with many of them going the multi-sport route. Her sister, Candy, even pulled off this same combination in her days as a member of the Lady Blues. After playing tennis, basketball and track & field her first two years at IC, this is just a variation on a schedule that’s always packed to the brim.

 “I take 20 credit hours every semester, a total of eight classes,” said Norville. “With my schedule, I carry my homework with me everywhere. Anytime I have downtime, I do homework. I have to do a lot of working ahead because I travel almost every week.”

A typical night for Norville can start with soccer practice from 4 until 6 pm, followed by a quick shower and dinner. By 7 pm, she’s off to her music rehearsals which last until about 11 pm each night. Leading up to a performance, the final dress rehearsals often stretch into the early morning hours.

Unlike Norville, Kjellander fell into her current situation. A starter for women’s soccer last year and again this season, Kjellander only came to IC with the intention of playing a single sport. But after a successful high school tennis career in Idaho, she missed the game and emailed Head Coach Andrew Bartelmo to see if she could help the men’s team last spring as a student assistant.

“After joining their practices and hitting with him, he could see that I could play,” said Kjellander. “It was a lot of fun. I had coached soccer before, but not tennis. It opens your eyes to a lot of things and helped me learn a lot about my game.”

An offer to join the women’s team in the fall soon followed. In addition to the two sports, Kjellander also takes 16 credits and two labs as she looks to pursue a medical career, is a RA in an on-campus dorm, works at the Campus Writing Center, is in the Student Senate as a member of the Student Life Committee and does concussion research with Dr. Jeremy Turner.

“The coaches have been extremely supportive,” said Kjellander. “Coach (Linda) Hamilton asked me the other day if I needed an extra off day just to let my muscles relax. And Coach Bartelmo has emailed me some mornings and asked me if I have the time, that I can skip it if I have a ton of other things to do. Luckily I’ve been able to avoid missing anything so far.”

While the relative shortness of the tennis season allows the two talented ladies to pursue both sports, the next few weeks still promise to be a very hectic time until the tennis season concludes with the MWC Championships in mid-October. Until then, the long hours of balancing schoolwork, practice and competition will continue. For each of them, the right mindset is the key to keeping perspective through all of it.

“It’s a lot of work, but my parents raised me that if you’re doing what you enjoy, it’ll never become a hassle,” Norville said.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, September 23

Women’s Tennis

Illinois College at Knox College, 3 pm

Women’s Soccer

Illinois College at Webster University, 5 pm

Men’s Soccer

Illinois College at Webster University, 7 pm

Wednesday, September 24

Women’s Tennis

Millikin University at Illinois College, 3 pm

Volleyball

Illinois College at Blackburn College, 7 pm

Saturday September 27

Men’s & Women’s Cross Country

Illinois College at the Beloit Olde English, 10 am

Women’s Tennis

Illinois College at Blackburn College, 10 am

Women’s Golf

Illinois College at the Grinnell Invite, 11 am

Men’s Soccer

Illinois College at Grinnell College, 11 am

Football

Illinois College at St. Norbert College, 1 pm

Women’s Soccer

Illinois College at Grinnell College, 1:30 pm

Sunday, September 28

Men’s Golf

Illinois College hosts the Blueboy Invite (Piper Glen GC in Springfield), 11 am

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