K. Ensing Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

K. Ensing Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Two Santa Clarita Valley locals will be among the U.S. men’s volleyball team’s best hopes for gold when they enter Ariake Arena in Tokyo to take on the world’s finest.

K. Ensing Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

K. Ensing Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Kyle Ensing, a product of Valencia High School, is preparing to compete in his first Olympics, while team veteran David Smith, a graduate of Saugus High School, will be gunning for the gold that evaded him in 2012 and 2016.

Genealogy of the Ensings

Jeanne Ensing’s lifelong goal was to have the family name embroidered on a Team USA uniform. A year after his mother’s death, Kyle Ensing declared he would go to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics with the knowledge that she was the reason he was able to get there.

Kyle Acknowledged, “She was my best Influence Through all this.”

She was a volleyball player in high school and college and was responsible for introducing the sport to Eric.

Ensing and his brother Eric grew up in Valencia, where their parents encouraged them to strive for excellence in all they did. But according to Ensing’s dad, his wife was the key inspiration for his sons’ success in life.

The volleyball player and the concept for the tournament came from Kyle’s mother, according to Kyle’s father, Todd Ensing. She oversaw the group and made sure that everyone did their job and did well in school.

She was the Visionary, the Manager, and I was more of a Backer, said Kyle Ensing.

Both the Ensings’ collegiate and high school coaches spoke highly of the Ensings’ parents, recalling that they were kind and responsive to their players’ and teams’ needs.

Kyle and Eric were coached by Josh Kornegay, head volleyball coach for the Valencia Vikings, during their high school careers. We had parent meetings, and the parents were constantly there, asking, “Where can we help; what can we do?”

Kornegay remarked, “I mean, I never did not see them at an event.” Either both of them were present or they always sent a delegate.

Alan Knipe, the men’s volleyball coach at Long Beach State and a former mentor to the Ensing boys, said that Todd and Jeanne were the epitome of caring parents.

According to Knipe, “when you talk to them, you know regardless of whether their kid is starting or not, they want the full experience for their son,” meaning that they want him to go through college, improve himself as a person, earn a degree, and improve his volleyball skills.

Knipe drove all the way from Long Beach to Eternal Valley to pay his respects to the Jeanne family, who had been regulars on his show for many years, after Jeanne passed away last year.

Having the Ensings as part of the team and the family has been one of the highlights of Knipe’s coaching career. “Jeanne and Todd performed a fantastic job as parents.

Local Legends

Similarities between Olympic volleyball players David Smith and Kyle Ensing include their shared upbringing in the Santa Clarita Valley, their decision to focus on volleyball only after reaching puberty, and their current status as role models for young people everywhere.

“Soccer was my main sport in high school,” said Smith, who played for Saugus from 1999 to 2003. “After soccer season ended, volleyball became my summer sport so I could skip physical education class.”

When Ensing was a freshman in high school, “there wasn’t really any volleyball,” he recalled. His brother Eric, though, went to Long Beach State to play collegiately for the 49ers. At that point, I recognised that volleyball may be the ticket into college and the career I envisioned for myself.

Smith claimed he discovered he could play volleyball and earn his civil engineering degree at the same time, and after he enrolled at the University of California in Irvine, his future became clear.

In 2014, Ensing was honoured as the Daily News All-Area Player of the Year and the All-Santa Clarita Valley Player of the Year. As a senior, he would guide the Vikings to the CIF-Southern Section finals, and the year after that, he would be selected for the 2015 Boys’ Youth National Team.

After finishing high school, Ensing and his brother went on to play in and win volleyball championships all over the world and win multiple NCAA national titles.

Both he and Smith had plans to become professional volleyball players in Europe before placing their sights on reaching the 2021 U.S. Men’s Olympic Volleyball Team for Tokyo.

The Olympic Road

Eric, Kyle’s older brother, expressed his admiration for his younger sibling after hearing the news that he had made the squad.

Eric remarked, “It’s incredible just for him to have gotten to the level that he’s gone to.” Eric had witnessed his brother’s meteoric rise from high school to college to playing in the European leagues.

I’m really glad we got to play together at Long Beach, and I hope he gets a chance to perform.

A Little Brotherly Ribbing from Eric:

“Unfortunately, he’s behind pretty much the best player in the world.” Team captain and starting opposite hitter Matt Anderson stands at a towering 6 feet, 10 inches tall, earning him worldwide acclaim as a top player in his position.

Smith, having been a part of the U.S. team that finished sixth in London and third in Rio, is now motivated to achieve even greater success with the help of his teammates.

Smith believes that the team has a good chance of winning a medal and that they “certainly give ourselves a (strong) opportunity.” “I expect it to be a challenging event, but I believe we are prepared for it.”

Before leaving for Tokyo,

Ensing told his team that they couldn’t accompany him to the games even if they wanted to because of COVID-19 testing and health rules they must follow to represent their country on the court. There was, however, one trait he picked up on the squad that made him feel right at home.

The two claimed to have learnt that they were from the same place by identifying each other’s area codes during the course of the team’s practise and competition together on their tournament tours and in the lead-up to the Olympics.

“We formed a WhatsApp group, and I noticed that one of the new numbers started with a ‘661’ and I was like, ‘Wait a minute,'” Smith added. After establishing that it was indeed Kyle, I enquired as to his place of origin and learned that he had attended Valencia.


That there are two Santa Clarita Valley natives on the Olympic squad is awesome, as Ensing put it.

I think it’s going to be an amazing tournament,” Smith said, “and obviously Kyle is the ideal example of that.”


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