The Wolverine

October 2011

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 81 of 91

������ olympic sports profiles Once Lost In the Shuffle, Runner Morsi Rayyan Is Now Excelling Morsi Rayyan sits in the waiting room of the Michigan cross country offices, surrounded by trophy cases and memorabilia commemorating the tradition of the program, when a man lugs in a large box overflowing with brand new varsity jackets. Dark blue felt, emblazoned with a stark maize block M on the breast, the jackets celebrate the hard work, dedication and success of Wolverine student-athletes. Rayyan, a sophomore on the men���s team, will be receiving one, but he nearly missed the opportunity. When Rayyan was a senior at St. Johns High School in Dewitt, Mich., he placed second in the 3,200-meter run at the outdoor track state championships and fifth in cross country at the state meet, but he was a relatively unheralded recruit. He took a visit to Brown, which didn���t pan out, and received two calls from then-Michigan cross country coach Ron Warhurst on the recommendation of Rayyan���s high school coach. Warhurst wanted Rayyan to walk on, but a month before his freshman season, the Michigan coach retired. Rayyan���s status was lost in the shuffle. When he called Michigan track and field coach Fred LaPlante to inquire about summer workouts and camp, he discov- ered LaPlante had never heard of him. Gibby thought Rayyan could contrib���I kind of had come to terms with it ute steadily as a junior or senior, but the because I had had a few weeks with no true freshman made the lineup last year. contact,��� Rayyan said. ���I He paced the Wolverines wasn���t really sure if I was with a time of 24:55.4 going to be on the team.��� at the Wisconsin Adidas Rayyan didn���t think Invitational last fall and about leaving Michigan. placed 57th at the Big He���s a pre-med student Ten Championships with and, by that time, he had a time of 25:06.5. already made arrange���It was unusual to find ments to live with friends a kid like Morsi walk in on campus. off the street and be able When he eventually to compete,��� Gibby said. made it to Ann Arbor as ���The thing that surprised a student, he sought out me most wasn���t his athMichigan cross country letic ability ��� it was the coach Alex Gibby, who in Rayyan made the lineup last mental tools. Those were his first year was eagerly year as a true freshman and significantly more adlooking for potential run- placed 57th at the Big Ten vanced than I would exners. Championships with a time of pect from a kid like him.��� ���Basically, anyone who 25:06.5. In 2011, Rayyan will unphoto courtesy showed interest, we gave doubtedly shore up the u-m sports information them about six months middle of the lineup, creto show what they had,��� Gibby said. ating the depth necessary to help Michi���Then we���d take a realistic view of who gan make a run. could fill the mission of the program, ���He���s the most obvious option to start with some development.��� plugging the gaps at four, five, six, the ���It was really promising,��� Rayyan said positions we���ll need if we want to run of their first meeting. ���It put a spark in with the best teams in our conference, me and motivated me. I really wanted like Wisconsin and Indiana,��� Gibby said. to do it.��� ��� Andy Reid Clare Stachel Wants More, From Herself And The Maize And Blue Last season, the Michigan women���s ���I came into this season with more soccer team stormed down the stretch, drive,��� Stachel said. ���I really want to take winning five of its final a leadership role and seven games to earn a prove that Michigan is a berth in the NCAA Tourgreat soccer school. nament and end a three���As a team, we made year drought. But the the goal to be top three Wolverines let a 1-0 halfin the Big Ten at the end time lead slip through of the season. It is a lofty their grasp in Stillwater, goal, but we are preOkla., and lost a tearpared for that. We want jerker to Oklahoma State to make it back to the 2-1 in the first round. NCAA Tournament and Although her team go further than we did earned its first 10-win last year.��� season since 2004 and The Grand Rapids nafinished in the top five tive has exploded from in a tough Big Ten Conthe starting line this ference, redshirt junior Just 11 games into the season, season, setting a career forward Clare Stachel, Stachel had already set career high with five goals who tallied four goals highs with five goals and 12 and 12 points in just 11 and three assists for the points. games for the 6-3-2 Wolphoto courtesy season, was not satisfied u-m sports information verines through Sept. and entered the 2011 25. Head coach Greg season with much higher expectations Ryan is not surprised by Stachel���s furifor both Michigan and herself. ous start. 82��� the wolverine��� ������ October 2011 ���Clare has always been a dangerous attacking player, but played more of a wing last year that got assists,��� he said. ���We recognized last year that she had the ability to score, and later in the season when we needed goals she developed a determination to score and scored three big ones down the stretch. ���This year, she came in with that attitude from the beginning, to lead this team, and break the other team down, attack in the penalty box and score goals.��� Despite the Wolverines��� fast start, Stachel knows that the non-conference schedule is the calm before the storm and vows to do whatever it takes to weather the difficult Big Ten schedule ��� which doesn���t necessarily mean continuing on her torrid goal scoring pace. ���I want to improve every game and keep getting better individually in all aspects,��� she said. ���It���s not necessarily about scoring goals, I don���t care who is scoring goals as long as we are winning.��� ��� Kevin Minor

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