Angela Roidt

McFarland High School graduate and former University of Connecticut volleyball player Angela Roidt is now working in politics, as the communications director for Wisconsin State Senate president Roger Roth.

Angela Roidt has had a very amazing life. She was recruited by Youngstown State University as a volleyball player at age 15, later moved on to a successful playing career at the University of Connecticut and then earned her master of business administration at Edgewood College. Roidt also beat tuberculosis.

Now, she serves as communications director for Wisconsin Senate President Roger Roth (R-Appleton).

The 2009 McFarland High School graduate has accomplished so much in her 30 years of life. While she had to do the hard work herself, her fond memories of the community and appreciation for coaches, teachers and other people of influence stay with her day after day. She has always been one to say that McFarland was a great place to grow up.

“I say that to everyone who asks because of the first-class schooling and the sense of the community,” Roidt said. “It’s a small town where you know almost everyone. Because of that, I knew it was critical to be a role model for generations after me. I tried to be someone people could look up to and aspire to be greater than.”

Praise for McFarland coaches

Roidt was a three-sport athlete at McFarland. Coach Trish Fortune put her on the varsity volleyball team as a freshman and a variety of positions. She also worked hard at the game in club volleyball and developed her skills at setter, which would be her position in college.

“The difference between club and high school volleyball can be vast. Coach Fortune helped teach me how to lead when your teammates are at many different skill levels and learning how to effectively work together,” Roidt said. “I think that’s a skill that can be applied in volleyball and in life. Whether it’s on the court or in a work environment, you will encounter people who are more advanced and/or more novice than you, so to learn how to still work together and accomplish your goals is a great skill to have.”

Roidt’s first love was basketball, but she eventually abandoned the game to concentrate on club volleyball. It was an experience that helped her earn a college scholarship.

“I played on one of the most competitive club volleyball teams in Wisconsin. My club coaches were pretty ruthless at times, but as they told us time and time again, they were being hard on us, because they are preparing us for college,” she said.

One of Roidt’s greatest influences when starting out in volleyball was Cathy Noth, a two-time All-American at Nebraska and former women’s Olympic team member.

“She is the reason I became skilled enough to become a starting setter for a school like UConn. Whenever I was home from school, I’d be in the gym working with Cathy and talking about what was going well and what adjustments needed to be made,” Roidt said.

Roidt committed to Youngstown State University in Ohio when she was 15. In the meantime, she also played girls basketball and ran on the girls track and field team at McFarland. Along the way, she met several influential teachers and coaches who would provide sage advice to her. One was her track coach, Bruce Fischer.

“While he knew track wasn’t my main sport, he made sure I gave it my all nonetheless and pushed me to be better,” Roidt said. “I received most improved award two years in a row. Track and club volleyball overlapped quite a bit, but he was very accommodating to my schedule.”

Another influence was Scott Ketelhut, who taught freshman math.

“Mr. Ketelhut taught me women can and should make it in male-dominated fields,” Roidt said. “While I didn’t pursue math, his words made me not feel intimated whenever I found myself being the only girl in the room. McFarland High School really knows how to pick its teachers. The majority of my teachers I really liked and am grateful to been taught by them.”

Starting college

After graduating high school, Roidt enrolled at Youngstown State and set out on her mission to be an NCAA Division 1 volleyball player for the Penguins. However, she lasted just one season.

“In four years, many things can change. The big ones that happened were coaching changes and my development as a setter. At one point, I seriously considered de-committing, but back then, it was something you just did not do,” she said. “By the time I was a freshman, it didn’t seem like the best choice for me anymore. I knew I wanted something that was more athletically and academically challenging.”

Roidt’s head coach at Youngstown helped put her name out there, and that’s when the University of Connecticut came calling. She said UConn’s successful basketball program played an influence in her decision with men’s coach Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma having won national championships.

“I used to say, if I couldn’t play it, I was going to watch some really good basketball,” Roidt said.

As for volleyball, she learned about the sacrifices she had to make to become a successful Division 1 college athlete.

“Working to be a college athlete was my entire focus for all of high school. I had minimal friends, I didn’t go out, and I had barely any free weekends,” Roidt said. “But, walking into those arenas with my teammates all dressed in matching gear made it all worth it. No matter how many times I walked into the gym, I’d always feel a sense of accomplishment and couldn’t believe this was my life.”

She ended her college career with 2,003 assists, 369 digs and 99 kills for the Huskies. Playing high-profile college volleyball was everything she dreamed about, but there were a few bumps in the road.

Catching TB

At one point, she was sick from tuberculosis and forced to take daily medication. She is thankful Dr. Jeff Anderson helped her overcome the disease.

“We’d have to video conference every morning for him to witness me taking the 10 pills, because if one day was skipped, I could become contagious,” Roidt said. “As you can imagine, I wasn’t in peak physical condition at that time, I could barely eat and I had just about every side effect one could get while taking all those meds. Doc A went above and beyond to help in my mental and physical recovery.”

Roidt graduated from Connecticut in 2013 and took a position as communications coordinator for First Business, a financial services group in Madison. She began studying for her MBA at Edgewood College.

“Communications and marketing go hand-and-hand, especially in a business environment, so I felt it would be beneficial to gain more business knowledge,” she said.

In April 2017, she was hired to her current job as communications director for Roth. Her responsibilities include setting up press conferences, writing press releases and maintaining the office’s social media accounts and website.

Along with having a job she loves, Roidt is engaged to be married later this year.

She said connecting with people who offer encouragement is always the key to success.

“Positive thoughts and visualizing yourself where you want to be is a powerful tool,” Roidt said. “While there have been hiccups or unexpected things that have happened to me, I have learned to adjust and continue on my path.”

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