Perry's Makayla Long driven to succeed
May 3, 2021 by Ethan Ryter, Arizona State University
Ethan Ryter is an ASU Cronkite School of Journalism student assigned to cover Perry High School for AZPreps365.com.
When it comes to discus, shot put, volleyball and basically any athletic activity, Perry senior Makayla Long can do it all. She hasn’t just played all of these sports, she’s been a star.
“She literally does everything,” Makayla’s brother, Ethan Long, said.
Makayla grew up in Colorado with an athletic family, as both of her brothers now play Division 1 football. The influence her surroundings and brothers had on Makayla is apparent.
“She would definitely rather line dance than TikTok,” said Makayla’s personal coach, Ryan Whiting, who noted Makayla grew up ranching and hunting as an outdoorsy type.
Makayla’s dad, Bryon Long, said growing up in the outdoors has impacted her greatly, as she not only gained strength at a young age from hiking and climbing but also confidence.
When talking about her brothers, Makayla said no matter what they do, she always has the mindset of, “I’m gonna beat you.”
She is a competitor in every sense of the word and everyone around her knows it.
“That’s who she is. It’s ingrained in her,” Bryon said. “She’s pretty quiet. You would never know it, but inwardly she is driven.”
According to those close to her, she might be too driven.
“It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. I have to tell her all the time, ‘Stop working out. Stop going to throw,’” Ethan said. “I can’t even explain how much she pushes her body every day.”
A lot of this is because she’s a multisport athlete. As a young kid, she played and excelled at just about everything, whether it’s beating an undefeated opponent in wrestling, throwing 75 mph on the mound in eighth grade, or making a defensive play in middle school that Ethan doesn’t think many boys on high school baseball teams could pull off.
Now in high school, she competes in both volleyball and track and field. Her daily routine during volleyball season definitely wasn’t for everyone.
On a typical day, a normal volleyball player goes to school, goes to practice, and goes home. A typical day for Makayla during volleyball season was going to school, going to throwing practice, going to volleyball practice, lifting weights after practice, going home to do homework, and going to bed. While this was exhausting, Makayla loved it for what it was.
“I just love the being an athlete about it,” said Makayla. “I love pushing my limits.”
Pushing those limits has come with success. With plenty of choices to choose from, Makayla has committed to Baylor on a full ride to continue her athletic career. She has multiple long-term goals she would like to reach, including pursuing discus as a professional. However, she’s going to Baylor in hopes of majoring in physical therapy and isn’t worried if sports don’t end up being the route she takes.
According to Ethan, she shouldn’t be.
“She’ll never give up,” Ethan said. “Even if she just gets a normal job or whether she’s a wife or a mom or something, she’s going to be really good at it because that’s her mentality.”
With everything she does at such a high level, Makayla is the perfect example of an elite student-athlete that has a bright future ahead.
As Ethan puts it, “There’s nothing she can’t do.”