Athlete of the Week: Altoona middle blocker, Madi Whitehead

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"It's amazing having my best friend here with me, playing again," says Altoona junior, Tessa DeGeest about teammate Madi Whitehead. "We pick each other up and it also brings really good chemistry to the team."

Tessa DeGeest and Madi Whitehead grew up together in Iowa but when Tessa's family made a move to Altoona, Madi moved to California. Now the two are reunited. Tessa says adding a new player into the mix can be a challenge, but not when it comes to Madi.

"At first it's a little threatening to the team but once you see what it brings to the team, how good it is, then it makes us better, pushes us to want to be at that level, it helps us a lot," adds DeGeest.

Volleyball comes easy for Madi because of the memories she associates with the game.

"I've always liked it since I've been little," says Whitehead. "And I've been able to play with my family and all my friends play."

Madi is often a player of very few words, so she let's her play do the talking.

"She's definitely tall, as you guys know," says senior teammate Breanna Bennett. "She puts a good block up and she never really has off moments and when she does she doesn't really get down. She gets down on herself but she doesn't' bring the team down and she hops right back up and gets going again."

The power and strength she brings to the team has the Lady Rails hopeful for a successful playoff run.

"Our one main goal is to go to state," says Bennett "And I think she really contributes just by her attitude and just her skills. She's just a really smart player."

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