Citing spandex as her only road block as a youngster to entering the volleyball world, Christal Engle has moved past her phobia and into some world class rankings.
Engle has had an excellent career in both indoor and outdoor volleyball. The Washington native performed exceptionally during her four years at the University of Washington. She became the first four-time AVCA All-American in the school’s history. Engle also held many records, including: career leader in kills and points, third in aces, seventh in digs, and 10th in total blocks. She also won the NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player after leading the team to a national title in 2005.
Engle transitioned into international play before qualifying for the AVP Pro Tour in Panama City, FL in 2009. Compiling a number of wins with a number of different partners on Tour, Engle cites one of her biggest beach volleyball victories as the win in Salt Lake City, UT when she and her partner upset Jen Kessy/April Ross the 2012 London Olympics Silver Medalists and the number 1 ranked team in the country.
Q & A
When did you first start training in life? Where and why?
Growing up with 2 older brothers pushed me to be an athlete, and even more important… competitive. I played as many sports as I could, as young as I could start. However, I didn’t start playing volleyball until I was in high school because I thought spandex was the devil. Once I started playing volleyball and got used to the spandex, I fell in love with the sport. I began playing club volleyball and doors were immediately opened with college scholarships and USA Program opportunities. I didn’t start playing beach volleyball until 10 years after I started playing indoor.
When did you turn pro?
After my 4 years at University of Washington, I decided to go play professionally indoor overseas. I played in Puerto Rico for a couple seasons and went to Germany to try out for a team, when I realized I wanted to go a completely different direction. I moved to Manhattan Beach, CA the mecca of beach volleyball. I got my feet in the sand as soon as I could and decided to make a run for the AVP Pro Tour. I qualified and worked my way onto the Pro Tour in my first season in 2009.
What are the events, wins, memories that stand out most throughout your career so far?
The 2005 National Championship with University of Washington is such an incredible memory and will always be up there at the top. Other memorable wins would be the first time I qualified for the AVP Pro Tour in Panama City, FL in 2009, it felt like I had just won the lottery! Another huge win that is very memorable is the win in Salt Lake City, UT when my partner and I upset Jen Kessy/April Ross our USA Silver Medalists and the number 1 ranked team in the country.
If there’s one thing that people in the industry would recognize you by, what would that be?
For probably having the worst action face pictures on the beach, hahaha. I swear everytime I go to hit the ball, dig the ball, block the ball and someone captures my facial expressions… it is terrifying.
Who was your inspiration growing up:
Within your sport: I loved watching Kerri Walsh and the way that she transformed from an indoor player to a beach player, as well has having 3 kids all while winning gold medals. Bionic woman.
Outside your sport: I think Peyton Manning is phenomenal, not only is he one of the smartest athletes to ever be, he also killed it on Saturday Night Live. Gotta admire that combo.
What has driven you to work super hard and rise up beyond mediocrity?
Improvement is addictive. I love going out to the beach everyday and working to get just a little bit better than the day before. I love competing at a high level and feeling the pressure and intensity of competition. That's what drives me and that's why I am still working to be the best.
Are you a rebel? Why or why not?
Definitely not a rebel, I’m always the person that will calculate consequences before making a decision. However I am a very free spirit and I love experiencing life and learning from other cultures!!
If you weren’t killing it on the beach volleyball scene, what would you be doing for a living?
My husband and I would be living on acreage somewhere out in the middle of nowhere running our own self sustaining farm :)
What is your favorite venue?
I love playing in Chicago, that is definitely one of my favorites. The city is amazing and the fans are great. I would love to get a Seattle stop going for the AVP though, because I know it would blow everyone away!!
What is the venue that you purely dread and why?
I hate Florida. You never know if your going to get hit by a hurricane and still have to play. Or if its going to be 95 degrees with 95% humidity and you are drinking the air and sweating buckets.
What is a hidden talent you have other than your sport?
I own a shotgun and have recently been taking up trap shooting, I beat my husband the first time I shot :)
Finish this sentence: “Oakleys are ________”
on my 'if I could take 5 things on an island what would they be' list.
What is the best song to workout to?
I love “Hey Brother” by Avicii pretty much anything Avicii actually.
If you had to share a hotel room/apartment with one Oakley athlete, who would it be and why?
Sage Erickson because I would want to borrow all of her clothes and she is the sweetest thing ever.
People would be super surprised if they knew that you…
Like to eat a box of Jr. Mints or bag of gummy bears the night before a big tournament.
What particular skills are you working on?
Right now I am really focusing on my blocking and serving. Having a wicked serve will take you to the next level for women's beach volleyball.
Celebrity look alike…
Kate Duchess of Cambridge (Middleton) … People tell me all the time that I look like her… I’m working on the dimples though.
Garret Hedlund… pretty sure he’s my husbands doppelganger too.
Food: Chicken Curry
Vacation Spot: Northern Michigan
Candy:Haribo Sour Cherries (you can only buy them on Amazon in 5 lbs bags) which I may or may not do every few months
Sport: (Besides your own): FOOTBALL and SNOWBOARDING
Holiday:Christmas, duh… I start playing Christmas Music November 1
Music Genre:Genre: Country, Folk Rock
Animal: Dogs are amazing, I could have a dozen.
One Word Association:
Set:Sauce (because we always say "set the sauce")
Dig:Re-gift (a term I like to use when you dig a ball then give it right back to them with a kill)