Rhianna Welberg is this season’s first Who’s That Bulldog? featured athlete. Rhianna, a senior tennis player at MHS, is the daughter of Jodi and Kevin Welberg.
Rhianna began playing tennis in the fourth grade thanks to her friend Landon Brown. “He was taking tennis lessons and I wanted to hang out with him, so I started taking lessons too,” she laughed. “He ended up quitting, but I kept playing.” She credits her coaches and the game itself for her continued interest. “My coaches have been great. I love having the ability to say that I can play tennis well. It’s such a fun game.” She added Mr. Greg Cantine has been an inspiration. “He really encourages me all the time.”
Rhianna has been a member of the Milbank varsity team for the past three years. As a senior, she enjoys being in a leadership role. “I love showing the middle school players what to do and helping them out.”
She has played in two high school state tournaments and has high hopes for her final season. “With the class system now split up in two, I’m hoping to podium (place in the top 9). I have a good chance for that.”
The highlight of her tennis career has been teaming up with Rhianna Cantine as her doubles partner. “It’s been pretty cool. We are known as the two Rhiannas. When we do our lineups and they introduce us as Rhianna Rhianna, it’s funny to see the other teams’ reactions.” She also laughed at how people think she’s cheering on herself when she says, “Go Rhianna”, but she is really cheering on her teammate.
In addition to tennis, Rhianna is on the MHS Student Council. She participates in band, choir, chamber choir, color guard, and was also selected as a candidate for the MHS Homecoming royalty court.
Outside of school, she is involved with Core Kinetics dance, the youth group at American Lutheran Church, and teaches Sunday school. She is employed at Unity Square as a lifeguard and as a waitress at Shady Beach Supper Club. “I like to work at places that make me happy and those places do,” she said.
Rhianna says her senior year is going great. “My classes are easy. I have two online classes. Plus, I am at Koch School for two periods a day.” She is an office assistant and a cadet at Koch School. “It’s a good opportunity, even though I don’t like kids that much. But I love being with them in short spurts.”
Her favorite class is math. “I have had three great math teachers who have all helped me love math. I can’t name a favorite; I like them all.”
You will also find Rhianna listening to Indy-style music, furthering her writing skills with research-type papers, eating her favorite foods (pasta and ice cream), and hanging out with friends at the movies or stargazing.
Rhianna plans to attend Augustana College in Sioux Falls. “I want to go to school for psychology and sign language. I
have always liked criminal psychology stuff like solving murders.”
In the meantime, Rhianna will focus on her life at MHS. She says her Bulldog uniform will always be something she will treasure. “Being a Bulldog to me means showing support to other teammates, encouraging them, and getting out there and being active. I get excited when I go out there and play and feel sad when I’m done because I just love playing.”
Photo courtesy of VPD Studio