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Madie Schider pre­pares to return a serve in a game against Tiffin this season. S. Nathaniel Grime | Col­legian

On the day Hur­ricane Flo­rence destroyed her hometown of Wilm­ington, North Car­olina, sophomore Madie Schider, affec­tion­ately dubbed “the little hur­ricane” by her team­mates, was spiking, digging, and blocking her way through a vol­leyball game against the Uni­versity of Findlay. 

Schider spent the week prior to the game and the storm wor­rying about the outcome of both. Her team won the game, and she woke up on Sept. 15, the day after the storm, to the news that her that her home, only 30 feet above sea level, was mirac­u­lously untouched by the worst of Flo­rence. 

When Hur­ricane Flo­rence struck North Car­olina two weeks ago, it left a path of dev­as­tation in its wake. A cat­egory four storm as it approached the eastern seaboard, destructive winds over 100 miles per hour accom­panied Flo­rence. By the time the storm made landfall as a cat­egory one, towns along the eastern seaboard were flooded and windswept, roofs were blown off, and houses were crushed by fallen trees. Wilm­ington, a rel­a­tively small coastal town in North Car­olina, suf­fered the initial onslaught. 

When Schider first heard the storm was coming, she was unfazed. 

“I didn’t really process it until the day before, and I saw all the data that it was going to be a cat­egory four, and my hometown was going to be wiped out,” Schider said. 

It wasn’t until her assistant coach, Rick Langston, informed her about the storm that she began to realize the severity of the sit­u­ation. Langston was even the first to suggest to Schider that her parents should con­sider evac­u­ating Wilm­ington. 

“That’s when I started looking up facts about how bad it really was going to be,” Schider said. “And I imme­di­ately called my parents, and told them they had to leave.” 

Schider soon dis­covered that her family already planned to evacuate. They decided wait out the storm in a home they owned in Hillsdale. 

“My parents and my older brother Quinn, they all drove up here with my cat and my dog,” Schider said. “They didn’t really know what they were getting back to. It took them 25 hours to get around every­thing. The main road in is a river; there was no way to get in unless you had a boat.” 

While Schider and her family were for­tunate to return to an undamaged home, some of their favorite haunts have been destroyed forever. 

“I just saw pic­tures of my favorite restaurant, and it’s com­pletely destroyed. A tree just squished it,” Schider said. “And at the gas station I usually go to, the roof com­pletely fell off. I don’t think I ever really fully grasped it until I saw those pic­tures. It seems like a story almost.” 

Throughout the build up and recon­struction of the storm, Schider empha­sized how sup­portive her team and coaches were. 

She also com­mented, laughing, that most of them, being from the Midwest, had no idea how severe a hur­ricane could be.

“I told them a cat­egory four was going to hit my house and they were like ‘What’s that?’ So that was funny to see,” Schider said. “But once they under­stood, they were all very sup­portive. They kept me sane, and took my mind off of it, which I really appre­ciated. In those sit­u­a­tions, you either talk about it or don’t, and I think it is best to just not talk about it and wait. In the meantime, I lit­erally had another mom and dad and 16 sisters to get me through. The team really helped.”