As a sophomore at Madison County High School, Jessica Schmitt began working as the varsity volleyball team manager.
"As a manager I helped shag balls, fill water bottles, do the dirty work, and then I would be able to play in drills once that stuff was done," Schmitt said.
Her time as the team's manager didn't last long. "Towards the middle of the season, they surprised me and gave me a jersey and said that I had worked really hard and gave me a spot on the team."
Head coach Lindsay Von Herbulis says she quickly recognized the work ethic and determination that Schmitt could bring to the Mountaineers.
"She was practicing so well with everybody else and she was meshing so well that when we had an opening on the team a couple weeks in I handed her a jersey, and she's been one of the most inspiring stories here in Madison."
Two years later, Schmitt, the team's libero, became captain and helped lead the Mountaineers to a to Bull Run District title. Then, in the region quarterfinals, she played one of her best games ever, finishing with a career-high and school record 44 digs.
"She was all over the court that game, and it was phenomenal," Von Herbulis says of Schmitt's performance against East Rockingham. "It was fun to watch her because they couldn't land anything on her. That really helped us get into that second round of regionals."
Schmitt says she's most proud of the way her young team came together throughout the season. She says the highlights of the season were "just making it as far as we did, and being able to be so close as a team. This is probably one of the closest teams I've been on in all my years playing here."
Schmitt isn't just driven when it comes to volleyball. She's a top student at Madison and hopes to major in Biomedical Engineering in college.
"There's a lot of different aspects you can do under Biomedical Engineering, and I like the research and being able to find new medical tools to use."