Who’s That Bulldog? It’s Madi Thue, a senior at MHS and a member of the Lady Bulldogs volleyball team.
Those who know Madi realize she is passionate about whatever she does. Those who don’t know her as well might think she’s shy and quiet. But get her on the volleyball court and there’s no question she’s enthusiastic and tenacious. “I take things I do very seriously,” Madi says. “I work hard to get to where I want to be. I just have a very determined and focused face and sometimes that can be perceived wrong. I’m harder on myself than anyone else could be. I have very high expectations. I want to do good, impress people, and make people proud, especially the coaches.”
As a two-year starter for the Lady Bulldogs, Madi says, “There’s nothing like cheering after you score a point in volleyball. I always tell people that it doesn’t compare to any other sport. It’s just surreal — after you get a block or a kill, or even if it’s not you, it’s exciting.”
Madi began playing volleyball by attending youth camps when she was in third grade. She worked her way up to varsity her sophomore year. She says it’s now her favorite sport, “I love the feeling and excitement of volleyball, and I love my teammates. Plus, volleyball was my own thing. Something my older sister, Taylor, wasn’t in.”
She says part of her motivation comes from a desire to make the team look good. “I want to show that Milbank never gives up, and that we are fun and exciting to watch. I want Milbank to be a team other people notice.”
Madi also takes her role on the team as a senior leader seriously. “I know I have to be there for everyone else. I have to be on my game and encourage my teammates no matter what’s happening. I feel more confident this year, so, there’s less pressure.”
She says some of that self-confidence comes from community support. She named Tony Howard as the person in particular who provided extra inspiration. “Throughout high school, he reached out to me a lot. He watched me play and gave me lots of encouragement and advice, which I really appreciated.”
Madi is the daughter of Chad and Amy Thue, and although she seems quiet, her family would say she’s the most talkative one in the family. “I tend to be kind of reserved and keep to myself when I’m in public. I watch, listen, and observe and am very aware of what is happening around me. I don’t like to be the center of attention. But when I get home, I don’t stop talking.”
At school, she also plays basketball and runs in track. She takes part in Core Kinetics Dance, is a member of HOSA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Milbank Honor Society, and participates in choir and band. “I really enjoy dance because it’s different, a lot less stressful, and something I can do for fun.” She says, “Each thing brings a different aspect to my life.” She also enjoys reading and hanging out with friends and family.
Madi’s faith in God is another important aspect of her life that she feels most people aren’t aware of. “I’ve grown up in the church. It’s all I’ve ever known. I have a very strong faith for my age. My mom always told me I’m a prayer warrior. When I was younger, I used to pray for everyone — the same people every night in the same order.”
As for academics, Madi is most interested in biology and aspires to go into the medical field. “That’s what led me to HOSA. I’ve qualified for nationals twice now, so that’s an academic option that’s very enjoyable for me.” Next fall, Madi plans to attend South Dakota State University to pursue a nursing degree. “I’m not 100 percent sure yet, but that’s what I’m thinking right now.”
Her dream is to become a registered nurse and live in Milbank the rest of her life. “I always tell my family that I don’t want to raise kids in a big city, and if I’m going to live in South Dakota, I don’t want to live anywhere but Milbank. I can’t imagine myself living in places like Webster, Aberdeen, Groton — those schools I’ve competed against my whole life. A lot of my family is here and I’ve realized how fun it would be to live so close to them.”
Photo by VPD Studio