EAGLE RIVER - Maddie Smith will head to Madison to play volleyball in the fall.
She will be the first volleyball player from Northland Pines to play for the Wisconsin Badgers.
Maddie first played volleyball during an intramural game in seventh grade. But she didn't enjoy the experience.
"No, I did not like it," Smith said with a laugh.
But in high school Maddie realized that her mother played Division I volleyball for the Wisconsin Badgers.
"I realized that my mom played for a big volleyball team and I was like, 'This is pretty cool," Maddie said. "I actually started to engage in it, and I finally caught on and was like, 'This is fun.' So I just kept with it and joined club and just got better and better."
Maddie may have lost some of her passion for the game in the last few seasons because Northland Pines went three years without a win in the Great Northern Conference.
Her first year on the team, as a sophomore, the Eagles went 0-12 in conference.
Then Maddie's mom, Julie Smith, became the coach and last fall the team won seven conference games.
"We ended up taking third in conference, so we made a huge jump," said Maddie.
Now Maddie will play in Madison as a walk on for one of the best programs in the country.
"I'm really excited to go to Madison, I can't even explain it," Maddie said. "I feel like it's a major accomplishment for myself to be able to be a part of the fourth-[ranked] volleyball team in the nation."
According to Julie, Maddie wanted to play at Wisconsin since she started to take volleyball seriously her sophomore year.
"Since her sophomore year, she's just had this dream to play for Wisconsin," Julie said. "As a mom, as we got closer to that point in her senior year, I wanted to develop a backup plan for her, but she said, 'Mom, I'm going to play for Wisconsin."
Julie started as a walk-on the Wisconsin volleyball team too, eventually earning a scholarship.
It's Maddie's goal to earn a scholarship eventually too, just like her mother.
MERRILL - A Wausau manufacturer will relocate its operations to Merrill. A big reason for the move is the city provided FreMarq Innovations a $100,000 loan. If FreMarq keeps at least 50 jobs for the next two years, it will not have to pay the loan back.
Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson said it's a win-win for Fremarq and the city.
"The council did the right thing and they voted to approve this. And now we have this program going and it will be to the benefit of the city," said Johnson.
MINOCQUA - Instead of worrying about blizzards, soon you'll be watching out for thunderstorms. Severe weather season will soon be here.
Our Weatherwatch 12 Meteorologists went to MHLT Elementary in Minocqua Thursday to talk weather with the third grade class.
The students learned how forecasts are made and where the energy for thunderstorms comes from. They also heard about tornadoes, flooding, wind, and hurricanes. It's all part of a weather unit that's been taking place at the school.
MERRILL - President Trump issued the first veto of his presidency last Friday. He rejected a resolution that would have blocked funding for a border wall without congressional approval.
Wisconsin 7th district representative Sean Duffy said Republicans and Democrats agree on about 95% of immigration reform. The wall is where they differ, but Duffy said immigration reform cannot happen without border security.
"To say we're going to do [immigration reform] with an open border I think is insane, stupid, and will never work," said Duffy.
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