COLLEGE STATION -- Outside hitters Kelsey Black of Amarillo, Texas (Amarillo High School), and Chelsea Ringel of Arlington, Texas (Arlington Martin High School), have signed national letters of intent to play volleyball at Texas A&M, Aggie head coach Laurie Corbelli announced.
Both Black (5-11) and Ringel (6-0) are ranked in the top 50 in PrepVolleyball.com’s Top 100 Senior Aces, coming in at No. 42 and No. 40, respectively. In addition, both are three-time all-state selections by the Texas Girls Coaches Association and have participated in numerous USA Volleyball High Performance Camps.
“This is definitely one of the top rated recruiting classes,” Corbelli said. “In terms of just volleyball players -- well skilled, super athletes, great competitors, lots of experience, top-notch high school players -- these are two of the best from a national perspective.”
Black, the 2007 District 2-5A Offensive Player of the Year, recently led Amarillo to a No. 2 national ranking after the Lady Sandies went 43-1 and became the first Texas Class 5A team to repeat as state champion in more than 20 years. A member of the state all-tournament team, Black completed her illustrious prep career having led Amarillo to an impressive 129-5 (.963) in her three seasons as a starter.
A PrepVolleyball.com All-American as a junior, Black also was listed on Volleyball Magazine’s Top 25 Underclassmen to Watch list after directing Amarillo to a 45-1 record and its first of back-to-back state titles in 2006. She led the Lady Sandies in kills and made her second consecutive appearance on the Texas Sports Writers Association (TSWA) Class 5A all-state second team and also was a member of the Amarillo Globe-News Volleyball Super Team.
Black made her first appearance on the all-state team as a sophomore after the Lady Sandies went 41-3 and advanced to the region semifinals. She was recognized as a PrepVolleyball.com Soph 79 and garnered honorable mention on LoneStarVolleyball.com’s 2005 All-Texas Team. Following her sophomore campaign, Black was one of 27 players in the nation to be named to the USAV Girls National High Performance Camp roster and led the USA Youth Red to a silver medal in the international junior division of the USAV HP Championships.
“Kelsey is just one of those born-to-play all-around athletes,” Corbelli said. “She is a very consistent performer and a great competitor. She has won two state tournaments back-to-back, and she just knows how to win. She is a mentally tough kid, an incredible defensive player, a go-to attacker and the epitome of a great college volleyball player.
"The girl can play some defense. She reads her attackers well, and she is quick to the ball. At the high school level, nothing got past her, and with her athleticism I’m sure it won’t take long to adjust to the college game. The fact that she has played USA High Performance and on high level teams, she has seen what she will see at the collegiate level.”
Ringel gained national notoriety in 2004, as she was named to PrepVolleyball.com’s “Frosh 59”. Only the second freshman to play varsity in Martin’s 23-year history, Ringel was selected Newcomer of the Year and named All-Texas Team honorable mention by LoneStarVolleyball.com. In addition, the Dallas Morning News proclaimed Ringel as its All-Area Newcomer of the Year and described her as playing “like a veteran with the juniors and seniors” after leading the Warriors to a 35-8 record.
As a sophomore, Ringel was named to PrepVolleyball.com’s Soph 79 and was a finalist for the website’s High School Sophomore of the Year after leading Martin to a district championship, the Texas Class 5A state title and a 38-7 record. She was named to the state all-tournament team, and she also made her first of three consecutive appearances on the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s all-state team.
The following summer, Ringel was named to the U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team roster for the NORCECA Girls’ Youth Championship. In addition, her club team, Texas Advantage 16 Asics, took third place at the 2006 Girls’ 16 Open Tournament Gold Division.
Ringel, whose sister, Brittany, was a four-year letterwinner and three-year starter as an outside hitter for the nationally ranked UCLA Bruins (2001-04), was the District 8-5A Attacker of the Year as a junior and was named to the TSWA all-state second team, as well as the Dallas Morning News all-area second team.
This past season, Ringel led the Warriors to a 38-8 record, a co-district title and the state region finals before being eliminated by Black’s title-bound Amarillo team.
“Chelsea’s all-around skill level is very high,” Corbelli said. “She is from a volleyball family, and she has been exposed to the game for a long, long time. She is a real power hitter and also has great change-up shots for someone of her age; just a great touch and feel for the ball at the net.
“She also is a great passer, and her defense is really good. She pursues relentlessly. That is a part of her game that is going to come in very strong and make an impact for us early.
Both Black and Ringel are scheduled to graduate high school this month and begin classes at Texas A&M in January. They also will begin spring training with the Aggies, who already sport three outside hitters on the roster.
“We have three outside hitters on the roster already, but adding Chelsea and Kelsey gives us the type of depth that we have to have in the Big 12, and the competition in the gym that makes our team so much better. They are just very strong players who are good candidates of possibly playing the left side or right side. They are the type of players who are going to demand court time, and that will make everyone better.”
The Aggies lose middle blocker Kelly Stanton and libero Jen Moore, who completed their eligibility after leading A&M to a 21-10 record in 2007.
2007 Texas A&M Volleyball Signing Class
Name Ht. Pos. Hometown High School Club Team
Kelsey Black 5-11 OH Amarillo, Texas Amarillo Amarillo Elite
Chelsea Ringel 6-0 OH Arlington, Texas Martin Texas Advantage