A three sport (football, baseball, and wrestling) athlete in high school, Ryan was looking for something to do when he arrived on campus. After exploring various options he was encouraged to check out the Crew Club on the advice of his older cousin Molly Visel (GVSU ’14), an All-American on their rowing team. She told Ryan about the fun and the work, the blood, sweat, and tears, and of her trip to the Royal Henley Regatta in England. He strolled into practice in January 2016 and hasn’t looked back since.
Outside of practice, Ryan is most likely studying for his Environmental Engineering classes or chowing down at Lotsa Pizza. His choice of major is inspired by seeing the damaging algae bloom both at Portage Lake and on the Grand River, and his heartfelt desire to be a part of the solution. Ryan is hoping for an internship with the Department of Natural Resources or similar organization this summer so that he can begin to put his knowledge and skills to work. Focused study requires brain food, and Ryan’s go-to is Lotsa Pizza. The build-your-own pizza bar is the best he’s ever seen (he recommends the bbq chicken, banana peppers, and ranch).
Last year’s trip to ACRA stands out as Ryan’s best moment in rowing so far. While the crew was young and ultimately unready for that race, the experience gained made it all worthwhile. Speaking to Ryan about the experience, he pauses for a moment, mentally putting aside the result, and visibly brightens. “We got so much closer as a group on that trip,” he says, “And we learned so much seeing that level of racing firsthand.” Knowing what it takes to make the leap he is refocused, rededicated, and ready to go – equally as excited by the work he and his teammates must do as he is by the anticipated reward.
The Athlete Spotlight will be on hiatus through the summer, and resume when the team returns in September. If there are questions you'd like to ask our athletes in future spotlights, or anything else about this that you feel can be improved, please let me know. We have one race left this season - the ACRA Club National Championships in Gainesville, GA Saturday and Sunday May 27-28 - we hope to see you there.