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Rongen, Nesbitt signing

CSI sophomore Maysie Rongen (left) and Elle Nesbitt pose for photos after signing with Idaho State and Utah State, respectively, on Wednesday at the College of Southern Idaho.

TWIN FALLS — Maysie Rongen has torn both of her ACLs since Idaho State University first recruited her. Neither injury prevented her from signing with the Bengals.

The College of Southern Idaho held a signing ceremony for two volleyball players, Rongen and Elle Nesbitt, on Wednesday morning. Nesbitt is a freshman setter heading to Utah State, and Rongen is a sophomore middle blocker who graduated from Kimberly High School two years ago, when she suffered her first of two serious injuries.

Rongen doesn’t know for sure, but she thinks her first ACL tear played a small role in ISU’s decision to stop recruiting her during her senior year at Kimberly.

Rongen tore the ligament in her right knee early in the first game of the 2016 3A state girls basketball tournament. Kimberly lost that game, its first loss of the 2015-16 season, and Rongen signed with CSI two months later.

Rongen quickly recovered from her injury, and her CSI career concluded this past fall with a 31-4 record and a run to the NJCAA Division I title match. But during the national tournament, Rongen tore her left ACL. She’s still recovering.

“It’s always kinda scary because you never know how you’re gonna come back from it,” she said Wednesday. “But I think since I did it once, it was kinda easy to come back from it again because I know how it’s gonna be, and I know how far I can push myself.”

In addition to ISU, Rongen said she received offers from Concordia University-Portland and the College of Idaho. She considered walking on at Portland State, and she talked a bit to Boise State and Gonzaga. The injury didn’t deter the Bengals.

“I think because I went through it before, they were kinda trusting me, and they know I’m a hard worker,” Rongen said. “But there was that sense of worry.”

Rongen liked the “family atmosphere,” the academics and the entire volleyball program at ISU. Pocatello’s close proximity to Kimberly was a plus, as well.

She will play for Rick Reynolds, who is in his third season as the Bengals’ head coach.

“We have had our eye on Maysie since we took the job at Idaho State,” Reynolds said in a news release. “She will bring a lot of depth and diversity to our middle position and will have three years of eligibility left. Maysie has a strong arm and is a good blocker, and we are excited to see how she grows in our gym.”

Rongen reflected fondly on her time with the Golden Eagles. She was impressed with CSI’s high expectations, and she praised head volleyball coach Jim Cartisser and his late wife Heidi, who was the Golden Eagles’ head coach before she died in December at the age of 44.

Rongen saw the program’s success firsthand at CSI matches and camps growing up.

“I always looked up to Jim and Heidi and their program, and all of the girls were super cool to me. Being one of them and having them look up to me was pretty cool,” Rongen said. “I’m just really excited to rehab back and get stronger and be able to contribute and have people come watch me because it’s close to home, and get my career rolling again.”

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Rongen and Nesbitt are two of several CSI volleyball players who have signed with four-year schools. Last month, four Golden Eagles advanced to the next level: JoJo Kruize (Tennessee State), Shiloh Peleras (Nevada), Morgan Weatherwax (MSU Denver) and Ivana Trencheva (Marshall).

CSI lands Preston big man

Idaho State announced that Preston High School senior post Brayden Parker will attend CSI for his freshman year.

Parker signed with the ISU men’s basketball team just over a week ago.

“We decided to have him spend a year at CSI to gain experience that he wouldn’t have the opportunity to gain here,” ISU head coach Bill Evans said in a news release. “He will return following his freshman year at CSI.”

Parker had 14 points (7-of-14 shooting), eight rebounds and five blocked shots in Preston’s 61-56 win over Burley in the 4A state title game two months ago. The win capped an undefeated season for the Indians and gave them their third straight state title.

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