Ryan and Jessica Majerle rely on each other at GVSU

GVL / Robert Mathews
Ryan and Jessica Marjle

GVL / Robert Mathews Ryan and Jessica Marjle

Bryce Derouin

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When sophomore Ryan Majerle decided to transfer to Grand Valley State University to play basketball last year, he still had to get approval from one of his family members.

No, not either of his parents, but instead, his sister Jessica Majerle.

After starring as an All-State Second Team selection in volleyball at Rockford High School, freshman Jessica Majerle made the decision to play for head coach Deanne Scanlon at GVSU. Within a week, Ryan Majerle decided he would join his sister at GVSU.

“She already committed here at that time,” Ryan said. “So my parents had me ask her before I came here, and say, ‘Is it was okay if I went to the same school as you?’ and it just worked out.”

A brother and sister continuing their athletic careers at the same college is ironic in it’s own right, but it’s nothing compared to the living arrangements the Majerle’s were assigned to.

When Ryan and Jessica’s mother, Ruth, was looking up GVSU information online, something caught her attention. After looking at her kids’ assigned living arrangements and using a campus map, she discovered that her children would be neighbors at GVSU.
“Our coaches set up where we get to live,” Jessica said. “It’s really ironic that we got put next to each other out of all the people. She (Ruth Majerle) thought it was the funniest thing ever. So it was totally random, but it worked out.”
It would be understandable if the two’s relationship deteriorated after being around each other so often. Instead, athletics and being at the same university have brought them closer together.

“Now that we’ve grown up, we got a lot closer over the years,” Jessica said. “Growing up, we would always play sports outside with our other siblings or our neighbors. It was fun both being in sports growing up.”

Jessica saw action in eight matches in her freshman year. She recorded five kills, five digs, and two assists.

Ryan is currently GVSU’s second leading scorer at 10.5 points per game, averages 3.3 rebounds per game, and leads the team in assists with 14 recorded thus far this season.

“He’s a great kid,” said men’s head basketball coach Ric Wesley. “He’s a real levelheaded kid. He doesn’t have bad days. He’s a pretty happy kid every day and he’s an extremely hard worker.”

Both Jessica and Ryan give credit to their parents for putting them in positions to succeed. Steve Majerle coached his son Ryan while he played basketball at Rockford.

“They’ve always been there for us,” Ryan said. “We were very fortunate we grew up in a great, caring family. They’re there for us. My dad obviously being a coach can tell me what I’m doing wrong and help me improve myself. My mom’s there and she knows a lot of mental aspects in sports and off the court stuff and school wise. They’ve just been a great influence on us both growing up.”

Now that the GVSU volleyball season is over, the Majerle’s will be making daily trips to Allendale to watch the men’s basketball games.

“With both of us being here, it’s so convenient for them,” Jessica said. “If we have games, my parents would always come to my volleyball games and Ryan would come, too, so they’d get to see both of us. Now with basketball season, I get to see them as well as Ryan, so it’s been really convenient for them and they both love it.”

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