Langstaff no ordinary athlete for Swain

Langstaff no ordinary athlete for Swain


Langstaff no ordinary athlete for Swain


Swain County's Maleeah Langstaff.

Swain County’s Maleeah Langstaff.

BRYSON CITY – One of the easiest ways to make friends at a new school is to find people with similar interests.

You know, like sports teams. This is one reason Maleeah Langstaff has friends to hang out with at Swain County as she’s on four teams.

She ran cross country in the fall, played basketball in the winter and is on the soccer and tracks teams this spring.

“I’ve been really blessed that every school I’ve been to and every sports teams I’ve been on has really accepted me and it has been really easy,” the junior said. “The teams have been great and I’ve made so many new friends playing as many sports as I do.”

This is her third school in three years. She was born in Kentucky but moved to Franklin in elementary school and stayed there until his freshman year when her father’s job moved the family to Oklahoma for her sophomore year. They were transferred back to Western North Carolina before this school year.

Since then she has become one of the Maroon Devils’ most versatile athletes. So far this spring she leads the area with a 400-meter time of 59.80 seconds and is a co-leader in the high jump (5 feet).

“Maleeah is an exceptional track athlete,” Swain County track coach Ian Roper said. “She’s a kid who doesn’t come around but every so often with natural ability and a work ethic to go behind it. I think she has the ability to do really great things.”

She isn’t the only Langstaff among the area leaders. Her brother, Lee, also tops the high jump list. The freshman has already cleared 6 feet.

“My dad is big on basketball and makes me and my brother do boxes,” she said, “so we do a lot of jumping for basketball that carries over into high jump.”

At 5-foot-11 (and probably still growing) Langstaff is a valuable commodity on the basketball court. She averaged 12.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.8 blocks and 2.6 steals per game on a basketball team that went 13-15 overall and were 6-6 in conference play.

Sometimes tall players can be seen as slow on the court.

“I don’t have that problem,” she said. “My coach sometimes tells me I need to slow down.”

The spring has become quite hectic for Langstaff as she juggles two varsity sports and has begun summer basketball practice with the WNC Lady Royals AAU organization.

She first goes to track practice and then heads to the soccer fields where she is the starting left midfielder. Last week the two sports had events on the same day and Langstaff decided to compete in the track meet.

For someone so busy with sports, she carves out the needed time to better her grades.

“I catch up on studying on the weekends,” she said.

Roper sees a bright future for Langstaff on the track. Running the 400 lower in the 50-second range and jumping higher than 5-4 is possible, Roper said.

“I have no doubt that she’ll continue to make strides and get better,” he said. “I don’t think she’s reached her potential yet.”

Follow the HS Huddle on Facebook at, Twitter at or Instagram at


More USA TODAY High School Sports