Family, faith boosts Wildcat’s rising volleyball star

Bryna Vogel, outside hitter, spikes the ball to the other court during the second set of the Varney's Invitational K-State vs. California Volleyball match on Sept. 4, 2015 at Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats took a victory against the Bears 3-1. (Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

Sophomore outside hitter Bryna Vogel has stepped into the spotlight in the Wildcat’s 5-1 start. She has tripled her freshman statistics in just six games, producing 22 kills last season, and now she is third on the team in kills with 66, averaging 2.87 per set.

Spiking a volleyball, however, is not what drives Vogel to success.

“(My faith) motivates me to be the best that I can be,” Vogel said. “I always try to use it to be the best person that I can be.”

Vogel was raised in Clearwater, Kansas, a small town north of Wichita with a population of just over 2,530 people. Her parents, Randy and Nancy Vogel, were educators in the Clearwater School District, and they continue that work today.

Randy Vogel and Elmer Schmitz, Bryna’s uncle, played football at K-State, and Nancy Vogel attended the university as an undergraduate. The Vogel family attended football and basketball games on a regular basis, and according to Randy Vogel, they consider it their home away from home.

Vogel attended Wildcat Volleyball camps since she was 14 years old and loved the family atmosphere that the Little Apple had to offer. When the opportunity came to pick a school, K-State was the place she wanted to be.

“I have been around K-State and I loved coming up here,” Vogel said. “When I was choosing colleges and what sport I wanted to do, I found a love for volleyball. Since K-State has a good program, I thought I would check it out, and it turned out to be the right place.”

Growing up with an athletic family, Vogel wanted to be like her older sister, Tricia. In 2010, Tricia Vogel won the Lynette Woodard High School Female Athlete of the Year by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission and then continued her career at Emporia State for softball.

Bryna Vogel said she wanted to be exactly like her sister and wanted to have as much success both in high school and college.

“I have always looked up to her,” Vogel said. “When she plays or does anything, she has such a big heart. I really respect her and love following her footsteps.”

While attending Clearwater High School, Bryna Vogel was a two-time Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League Division V Most Valuable Player and three-time first team all conference member. Along with lettering in basketball and softball, Vogel was a part of the National Honor Society and marching band, and she graduated first in her class.

“Everything she does has come easy for her,” Randy Vogel said. “Its awesome to watch her grow and develop. She is one of those quiet kids that leads by example.”

Vogel has motivated her teammates since day one. The Wildcats have seen her make a tremendous jump this past summer and see her giving her best effort in practice and in matches.

While the sophomore outside hitter’s personality tends to be more quiet and reserved, how she presents herself day by day is what sticks out.

“She’s like the quiet thunder that comes along,” junior libero Kersten Kober said. “She does not say a whole lot but when she does say something, it means something. She really proves herself with her actions.”

Vogel is not only inspiring the Manhattan community, but people from all over Kansas.

According to Vogel, during the beginning of the 2015 season, a little girl in Northwest Kansas saw Vogel’s intro video at the start of this season. In that video, Vogel talked about how her faith was really important to her and how she uses it to live her life on a daily basis.

The little girl’s father wrote to Vogel saying what an inspiration she was to his daughter and that they would be following her career, Vogel said. The young girl wanted some advice on volleyball and living life as a Christian. Touched by the letter, Vogel immediately wrote back and continues to talk to write to her on a regular basis.

“(Writing to her) has helped me grow as a Christian,” Vogel said. “It is really good to share that with younger girls and hopefully motivate them to be better Christians and better people.”

Church life has always been important to the 2014 Big 12 Academic All-Rookie Team member. According to Vogel, she immediately got involved with Student Mobilization, a nondenominational Christian college ministry that meets every Thursday night. She said she is now a student leader for the organization and loves every opportunity to grow her faith.

“Going to church has been a big part of my life,” Vogel said. “It has made me the person that I am today.”

Family, friends and faith have kept Vogel going as she is continuing her sophomore year at K-State. Her teammates are the reason why she gives her hardworking effort all the time, and it is her fan’s encouragement that motivates her to keep striving for glory.

“I love being around my team,” Vogel said. “The fans at K-State are great. The saying of family really connects with me and motivates me daily.”