Countdown: Norman Chooses the Dukes
by Sonny Dearth, 1 November 2016
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As she shoots for the stars, Elizabeth Norman will take aim from Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.
Norman, a well-traveled 5-Star recruit who lives in Marietta, Georgia, committed in July to play for James Madison University
Having applied lessons from numerous coaches, the budding astronomer will be one of the most heralded tennis recruits ever for the Dukes, who seek to challenge traditional power William & Mary for supremacy in the Colonial Athletic Association. Despite playing W&M every year, JMU only has beaten the Tribe once - in 1984.
As of Oct. 11, Norman was ranked 71st by the Tennis Recruiting Network in the class of 2017, including third in Georgia. Her commitment to JMU is the latest step in a decade-long tennis odyssey that began in the Midwest. She began playing at age 7 in Terre Haute, Indiana.
"I started by watching my parents (David and Jonie) when they played," she said. "They gave me a racket and I loved it."
Norman's father used to work for Columbia House but "lost his job when the company went out," she said. Now he works from home for Alorica, which describes itself on its website as the nation's leading provider of outsourced communication solutions.
When the family moved to Indianapolis, Norman began playing seriously.
"I trained under Jeff Smith for a long time, then I moved to Florida under Nick Saviano for a year, then back to Indiana for a year."
Even as she climbed as high as No. 40 in the national class rankings, she encountered an obstacle - one Norman said she is proud to have overcome.