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CATCHING UP WITH ...

Suffolk sports star Katie Norton now teaches children ‘to set goals’

Katie North with her father, the late Bob Norton, who coached her at Fontbonne and also during her senior softball season at Suffolk.
Katie North with her father, the late Bob Norton, who coached her at Fontbonne and also during her senior softball season at Suffolk.

As a captain of women’s basketball and softball at Suffolk University, Katie Norton always had her teammates’ backs.

Now a special education teacher at the John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Jamaica Plain, Norton endeavors to provide that same leadership in the classroom.

``I talk with my students about putting in that extra work to reach the ultimate prize,'' said Norton, who grew up in Randolph and is an inductee to Suffolk’s Athletic Hall of Fame. ``I like to play kickball with them, and I’ll kick it as far as I can to show what hard work can accomplish and to encourage them to set goals.''

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Norton holds the Suffolk women’s basketball career scoring record with 1,516 points. As a senior, she led the nation’s Division 3 softball players with a .606 batting average.

Norton, 42, lives in Canton with her wife, Jess, a former softball player at Wheaton College, and their children, Dexter, 5, and Alden, 3.

A volleyball, basketball, and softball player at Fontbonne Academy in Milton, Norton was a softball and basketball MVP. A lefthanded shooting guard, she helped lead the Ducks to the state girls' basketball final her senior season.

Katie Norton is now a special education teacher.
Katie Norton is now a special education teacher.

``All three sports challenged me in different ways, especially volleyball, which was new to me,'' said Norton, who was described as "a diamond in the rough'' by Suffolk women’s basketball coach Ed Leyden in a 2000 Globe interview. ``The bigger the game, the better she performs.''

Norton’s six siblings all played high school sports, and her father, the late Bob Norton, who coached her at Fontbonne, also coached her on an interim basis her senior softball season at Suffolk.

``My dad was the best coach I ever had,'' recalled Norton, who has taken up marathon running. ``He was able to make everyone feel good about themselves.''

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Norton, also an inductee to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Hall of Fame, was a center fielder and pitcher on the Suffolk softball team. She pitched a no-hitter and also hit three home runs in a single game.

A past recipient of the university’s Charles Law Outstanding Student-Athlete Award, Norton said her Hall of Fame honors ``means you put in a lot of hard work and played with and against some great athletes.''

Who should we catch up with? Contact Marvin Pave with suggestions at marvin.pave@rcn.com.