Athlete of the Week: Mariah Whalen, Newman Catholic - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Athlete of the Week: Mariah Whalen, Newman Catholic

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -- She's the younger sister of Wisconsin linebacker Jake Whalen and four-year Division I volleyball player Carissa Whalen. But Mariah may just be the best Whalen yet.

"The way she pounds the ball, the power that she has, it has to be intimidating," head coach Betty Lange said of her Newman Catholic volleyball star. "Having that level of player on the team, having Mariah, of course people are going to be thinking 'they have Mariah Whalen, she's so good!'"

The power to drive the ball comes from her family, not from the food her mom buys or her DNA.

"My family is a pretty hard working family," Whalen told Newsline 9. "Each one of us has goals set up on our mirrors. We work toward those goals and every time we get it we set a higher one."

Finder higher goals to achieve might be her biggest challenge. She is already a two-time state champion, two-time first-team All-Marawood selection, was a member of the first-team All-State as a sophomore in 2014, and likely will be again in 2015.

"Obviously, her level of play is unbelievable how she has increased her elevation to the ball," Lange said. "The way she can attack and her speed, every year it's better."

"I work hard," Whalen said. "But the team all together, that's the reason that we win."

Newman will attempt to go for its third straight state championship on Friday in Ashwaubenon. There will be more people in the stands and more eyes on the Cardinals, but goals set by Whalen never waver.

"I know it sounds kind of lame but the love for the game... Once you start playing you just keep playing," she said. "It's not what people think of you or how they watch you. It's about your inner drive and the fact that you want to go out and win."

Newman's state semifinal matchup is set for Friday at 10:00 a.m.

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