There have been quite a few changes in the ’22 rankings, including over ten new additions, a ton of kids rising due to their showing out this past spring, and some club as well as high school transfers. Today we touch on the five kids that have made the biggest jump in my rankings.
Paige Busick Paige Busick 5'4" | DS/L Bellmont | 2022 State IN , 5-7 DS/L, Bellmont
Paige is a hyper fast, hyper-accurate defender who can physically get anything thrown at her. A Team Pineapple kid, she stays on her feet as long as possible and makes the first contact settable. Although middle back is where the majority of her defensive role placed her, she’s capable of defending all three and receiving serve in all three. Unlike most DS options in this class, she has speed AND control. She’ll even get hands on the second ball when the setter takes the first—and they’re good and accurate hands at that.
Ariel Helm Ariel Helm 6'0" | MB Lawrence North | 2022 State IN , 6-0 MB, Lawrence North (Duquesne commit)
I wrote notes on this article before Ariel committed to Duquesne just a little while ago. That being said, I would be remiss if I didn’t list her here. She’s fast, explosive, terminal, and can go from pin to pin to defend with ease. She’s as effective in front of the setter as she is behind the setter on a slide. Her rise this past spring with Rev had her play high level ball, all while moving her jump touch past ten feet and getting faster in the process. She transitions quick, has a fast arm and snap, and is always available to hit. Congrats to both Ariel and Duquesne for her commitment to the Atlantic 10!
Lauren Nixon Lauren Nixon 5'11" | S Muncie Burris | 2022 State IN , 5-11 S, Muncie Burris (Ohio commit)
It’s crazy to think that Lauren wasn’t even a full time setter during her sophomore year, and now she’s committed to MAC power Ohio as a setter. She is the reason that Burris is constantly and consistently in the top ten in 3A. With Munciana as her guide, she’s more accurate, stronger, and plays with a confidence I hadn’t seen from her prior to her junior club season. Also, with her experience as a right side in previous seasons, she’s that much more versatile for the Bobcats. Congrats to both Lauren and Ohio for her commitment!
Cecilia Bulmahn Cecilia Bulmahn 5'8" | OH Mount Vernon (Fortville) | 2022 State IN , 5-8 OH, Mount Vernon (Fortville) (Southern Illinois commit)
It wasn’t too long ago that a little curly-haired gym rat was joining her sisters and dad at practice, roughly hip high to most in attendance. Fast forward to this year, and Cecilia’s rise has been nothing short of amazing. This ball of fire plays much bigger than her frame, and between her accurate serve receive, instinctual defending and high-level attacking, Miss Bulmahn will pave her own path in the Missouri Valley Conference, this time with the Salukis. With her dad as an Academy coach (Eric, former player at Ball State), Cecilia has gone from three-rotation defender to full-time attacker and six-rotation outside. With a little luck, she can carve out another 20-win season for MV this fall.
Gracie Lowry Gracie Lowry 5'10" | OH Bloomfield | 2022 State IN , 5-10 OH, Bloomfield
I happened upon Gracie at a club tournament just passing by her court. Miss Lowry is long, lean, and can be a six-rotation outside at the next level. Her ability to hit high and hard makes her a steal for any small school looking for a kid who can play multiple positions. 6-ro OH, 3-ro OH and 3-ro RS are all within her abilities, and as a Tier Ten player, she’s just now cracking the surface of what her future could look like.