Getting to Know Myleigh Smell; Question and Answer Session with Standout Volleyball Player

By Chris Johnson on September 10, 2023 via

What’s your favorite movie?
The Princess Bride, it’s so good.
Who is the best high school athlete you have competed against?
I’d say Skylar Yates from Hedgesville or Hannah Howard from Musselman. Those are two of the most competitive players I have played against.
Favorite subject in school?
I’d say Math.
Any pregame superstitions or rituals?
Not really. I just get locked in, hype myself up. I try to not be superstitious because you can’t control some things.
How do you best describe Coach (Ali) Burton?
Coach Burton is driven. Her mindset is so strong. She wants the very best for each one of us. She has her goofy moments, her silly times but she wants to win just as much as we do and that’s one of the things I love about her.
You now have Coach Burton in two sports, with track and field as well as volleyball. Is there a difference between her as a volleyball coach and a track coach?
There’s not much of a difference. Being able to be coached by her in two sports I love is one of my favorite things. The mindset from track to volleyball is a little different and I am coached a little differently but her coaching skills remain the same toward me.
Celebrity Crush?
That’s a hard one but I will go with Chris Evans.
Who’s the funniest player on the BHS volleyball team?
I’m going to say Samantha Martin. She is a sophomore. She is goofy all the time and she brings that energy that we lost from last year. She brings every day we when step out on the court.
If they would let you have a walk-up song, what’s playing?
Something from AC/DC.
You have emerged as one of the state’s best all-around players, how important is it to you to be considered an all-around player and not somebody that just excels in one aspect of the game?
It’s one of the most important things in my life right now, just to be able to balance hitting, passing, serving and all the above. It’s very important because I feel like they need me out there and I need to show up where I’m needed. I feel like everyone leans on me and that’s a little more pressure but I feel like I can handle that pressure.
Is there one aspect out on the court, you feel like you still need to work on?
I always feel like my hitting is something that can always improve. I never see perfection in anything I do. I feel like my defense has gotten a lot better in the past year or so and my hitting has gotten better but I always feel there is room for improvement and that I need to be more consistent.
Where’s one place in the world you have never been that you would like to visit?
Greece. It’s beautiful over there.
You spend a lot of time when high school volleyball is not going on, playing travel volleyball. Where is the coolest place you have been able to go and with travel, is it just travel, play, come home or do you have time to enjoy the city you are visiting?
Playing and turning around and coming home, it’s pretty close to that. Last year, we went to Indianapolis for a tournament and we did pretty well there and then we went to Philadelphia. Both those places were a great experience. That was one of my favorite travel experiences last year.
So with travel, you spend a lot of time in the car, what’s a cool thing to do in the car to pass the time?
Homework. I have so much homework this year, it just helps balance everything out. A night of volleyball, get a shower and get cleaned up and doing homework in the car just makes the time go by quicker.
Favorite meal?
A grilled chicken salad.
Favorite pro or college athlete?
Patrick Mahomes or if we are talking volleyball, Nebraska’s outside hitter or their middle hitter, Riley Zuhn.
How cool was it to see what the Nebraska volleyball team just did (setting a record for largest crowd for a women’s athletic event)?
It was amazing. To be able to play in a stadium in front of that many people, that’s life-changing. That was just awesome.
Favorite pro or college team?
I don’t really have a favorite because my family members all like somebody different but personally I like Joe Burrow a lot too so the Chiefs and the Bengals.
For you, on the court, what get’s you more hyped up? A good kill, a good block, a good serve?
I’d say both a great kill and a great dig. Or a block though, that gets the whole team fired up.
What’s one thing it seems like everybody you know likes but you can’t stand?
Pickles. I can’t stand pickles. I think everyone else on this team loves them. Look, there is a pickle jar right there (Smell pointing out a pickle jar at the team’s snack area at Saturday’s tournament at Philip Barbour). I don’t like mayonnaise either.
What’s the best thing on TV right now?
I don’t watch much TV, it’s just constant volleyball on there. But every time a Harry Potter movie comes on TV I watch it. I feel like our whole family watches them and they never get old.
What is your go-to concession stand order?
If I had to pick something I would go with nachos but concession-stand food makes me want to throw up.
What is the most important thing being an athlete at BHS has taught you?
Balance. All athletes at Bridgeport have to balance something. You are a student-athlete, you have to balance school with practice and games. You have to maintain that balance because school work comes first. Balancing that and being able to put in your whole effort to your practice.
Could your Mom and Dad write a book on how to balance everything with you and your sister and brother all being in the same grade and playing different sports?
Definitely. It would be a pretty long book. They have to be in three places at the same time. Today, I had volleyball, Bria had soccer and Ethan had cross country. It’s something we have learned to live with. It’s tough, because I personally love watching my siblings perform at their best. It’s hard when I have a conflict and I can’t be all in for them. It’s something we have all had to learn to balance. That’s one thing that was great about track (last spring), all three of us in the same sport at the same time.
There’s a young kid in the community just getting into volleyball what advice do you give him or her?
Practice does not make perfection. It will make progress and it will take a long time but you have to be dedicated and driven all of the time to be able to put your full focus into this sport.
Editor's Note: Photos of Smell courtesy of Joe LaRocca.

Connect Bridgeport
© 2023