D9and10Sports.com is highlighting returning high school student-athletes this summer. The year in school listed next to the athlete’s name is the year the athlete is entering this fall.
(Photo by Bryan Exley)
Leah Exley – Junior – Keystone
Parents Names: Kim and Bryan Exley
Sports Played: Softball, Volleyball
Siblings: Connor Exley, 20
Family Members Playing/Played High School/College Sports:
Social Media Handles: Instagram & Tiktok: leah.exley snapchat: leah.exley41
2020-21 Highlights: Volleyball: player of the game @ ACV softball: 7 home runs during the season and all-conference 2nd team as a pitcher
College Athletics plan if applicable: I’m not 100% sure what I want to do yet because I am undecided of a career path, too. I believe I want to play either softball or volleyball, but am unsure of where or if I will.
Q&A With Leah Exley
D9and10Sports: How did you first get involved in sports and did you like it?
A: I think my parents just signed me up when I was younger because they played sports growing up and my older brother did as well. I got introduced to travel softball after getting noticed when I was 9 years old and I still continue to play to this day, so I’m going on my seventh season. Yes, I have always loved sports and they’re something that I enjoy doing and will continue to do after high school whether it’s in college or simply with friends.
D9and10Sports: Who has been your biggest influence in life and why?
A: My older brother, Connor, is my biggest inspiration because he has constantly worked hard, been kind to others, and shown me how to have good character. An honorable mention is Montana Fouts, a pitcher from Alabama because she is a phenomenal pitcher and she also gives some very good advice and reminders on her Instagram stories that I relate to. A couple of other honorable mentions are Rachel Garcia, a pitcher from UCLA, and Kathryn Plummer, an outside hitter from Stanford, because they are fantastic at their individual sports and have both moved on to professional play.
D9and10Sports: What is your favorite high school sports memory?
A: It’s not a favorite because it’s a good thing, it’s a favorite because it’s something I’ll never forget and has strengthened a friendship, but elbowing Alex Johnston in the face is definitely up at the top of my list of high school sports memories. A few honorable mentions would be nearly hitting a grand slam in a district title game to advance to playoffs, blocking Korrin Burns, Brenna Campbell, and Erica Selfridge (of Clarion in volleyball), and hitting lots of foul home runs.
D9and10Sports: What is your favorite social media platform and why?
A: I don’t have a favorite just because I use them all for different reasons. I love Snapchat because I can talk to friends, see what’s going on in their lives, and capture good memories. I love Instagram because I get to admire how beautiful my friends are, I see an inside scoop to some of my favorite athletes or celebrities’ lives, and there are some very good, relatable quotes that inspire me or help me out. Lastly, I love TikTok because there is always a video on my for you page that can make me laugh, I get to see my friends attempt to dance, and it’s fun to make silly videos with people to brighten people’s day.
D9and10Sports: What would someone who is meeting you for the first time be surprised to find out about you?
A: Something that really surprises people about me is that I’m loud and energetic, and I love to joke around. When people first meet me, I’m typically quiet and nice.
D9and10Sports: If there was one period in history you could go back to, what would it be and why?
A: One time period I’d choose to go back to would be the 1960s during the peak of racism and segregation in my opinion. As a white person, I wish I could go back and make a difference and stand up for colored people. They didn’t and still don’t deserve the lives they go through due to their skin color. I hope that if I lived during that time period that my voice would be heard and things would be changed.
D9and10Sports: What will you tell your kids someday about living through the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: I will tell my kids that it was very weird and kind of scary at first. It took some time to get used to wearing masks all the time but after a month or so it became a habit. Let me tell you, it was the strangest thing seeing someone without a mask because that became the new normal. Online school had its ups and downs such as, I liked being at home, but I missed the memories and my peers. Sports were sort of crazy, but we managed to get through the seasons. Also, if anyone coughed, sneezed, or something along those lines, you’d have everyone thinking you have COVID.
D9and10Sports: What is your ideal place to live? Country, City, Suburb and why?
A: I think I’d like to live in a place that’s in between rural and suburbs. I want to have a decent-sized backyard for my kids to play in, but I also want to have neighbors that don’t live four miles down the road. I definitely don’t want a busy city life because even spending a weekend there for a softball tournament is too much for me.
D9and10Sports: Is there anything you wish we would have asked you? If so, what is the answer?
A: I wish you would’ve asked what my favorite sport to play is and the. what my favorite sport to watch is. My favorite sport to play is definitely volleyball. I just love the adrenaline rush from the quickness of the game and the ability to pound the ball and get super close with my teammates. My favorite sport to watch is softball, but more specifically college softball, because maybe someday I’ll be in their shoes. It amazes me how talented the players are.