Fraser junior Jeremiah Williams competes in the 100-meter prelim at the Michigan High School Athletic Association regional meet on May 17 at Romeo High School.

Fraser junior Jeremiah Williams competes in the 100-meter prelim at the Michigan High School Athletic Association regional meet on May 17 at Romeo High School.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Fraser track and field goes back-to-back, captures MAC White

Senior Tyler Donovan readies for state finals

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Fraser-Clinton Chronicle | Published May 20, 2024

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FRASER — Fraser senior Tyler Donovan has been everything a coach would want as a runner and as a person in the program.

The Oakland University commit has been a Michigan High School Athletic Association two-time state qualifier in both track and field and cross-country for Fraser, earning all-county honors and Male Athlete of the Year at Fraser.

But this year, the cross-country season was nothing short of a nightmare for the 100-meter and 1-mile school record holder as physical therapy became a mainstay instead of running.

Donovan battled patellar tendonitis, an inflammation of the patellar tendon, throughout the entirety of his freshman year, growing 7 inches in height from the beginning of summer to the end of the year.

In and out of chiropractic offices and physical therapy, Donovan returned as a completely healthy runner for his sophomore and junior years, but the struggles returned again this season during cross-country.

“I started to hate racing at the end of cross-country,” Donovan said. “Right now, my plan is to not even run cross-country in college because I just have bad memories with it.”

Going through the physical therapy again from September to February of this year, Donovan readied himself for the indoor track season to gauge where he was at physically, but also mentally.

It didn’t take long for the veteran runner to show exactly what he can do on the track when he’s at full strength, opening with his fastest mile ever (4:27) and a personal record in the 800-meter in his first race.

“Right away, indoor track comes and I start hitting some good times,” Donovan said. “I got my spark back, I guess.”

Donovan’s spark has ignited the entirety of the Fraser boys track and field team, helping the Ramblers win its second straight Macomb Area Conference White title. Fraser earned the clean sweep over second-place Utica, winning both the dual meet and divisional meet titles.

Fraser secured the dual meet championship on May 6 in a league-deciding matchup against Utica, and Fraser head coach Kevin Storai’s guys came prepared.

Senior Christian Wesley, an Oakland University commit, earned first in the 200- and 400-meter while Donovan took first in the 800- and 1600-meter.

Fraser, like they’ve done all season in the MAC White, dominated the field events as senior Trevor LeMaigre (shot put), junior Jackson Sines (discus), senior Keonte Riley (high jump and long jump), and senior Jacob Mead (pole vault) all earned first place.

Storai credits his coaching staff for the field events success.

“We have really good field events in particular, which, quite frankly, I have nothing to deal with,” Storai said. “Ryan (Tilney) is my field event coach, and Myles (Cleverley) does pole vault for me, and we have a regional champ in pole vault returning, a state qualifier in high jump returning, and we’ve got the deepest throws crew in the White, if not the county, alongside Dakota in terms of depth. My throws coach Ryan (Tilney) went to Dakota and learned under that coach, so it’s no surprise that we’re doing as well as we are.”

Fraser doubled down at the MAC White championship on May 10 with another narrow victory over second-place Utica as Wesley (400), Donovan (1600), junior Emilio Ramirez-Alacron (discus), Riley (high jump), and Mead (pole vault) all earned first.

Fraser’s 4x400 relay consisting of sophomore Brady Slone, junior William Minor, senior Donovan Davis, and junior Corshaun Williams also earned first. Other contributors for Fraser this season have been senior Benjamin Daniels, senior Lucas Shemansky, and junior Jeremiah Williams.

Riley has been a Swiss Army knife of sorts for Fraser, effectively competing in the 110-meter hurdles, and both long jump and high jump throughout the year.

Riley said it’s a process to prepare for the different events, but said he prides himself on being able to do so.

“When it comes to having to take on my events, I know what has to be done and what is expected of me with all three of my events,” Riley said. “Starting at the same time with my preparation is really important for me, making sure I get warmed up for all three of my events. This can be very stressful at times, but I manage. I start by taking on high hurdles, which gives me a good stretch to take on my high jump and long jump.”

While Fraser as a team finished its season at the MHSAA Region 10 championship on May 17 at Romeo High School, Riley (high jump), Donovan (800), Wesley (400), Mead (pole vault), LeMaigre (shot put), and the 4x400 relay consisting of Donovan, Wesley, Slone, and Davis all qualified for the MHSAA Division 1 state finals on June 1 at East Kentwood High School.

On the girls side, junior Grace Grupido and sophomore Katelyn Frazier both qualified in the 800-meter while the 4x800 team consisting of Grupido, Frazier, senior Remi Flanz, and sophomore Olivia Cereska also qualified for states. Grupido was the regional champ in the 800-meter while the 4x800 team broke the school record, which was set by the group last year, with their time by nearly 15 seconds.

School officials believe it is the largest collective group of boys and girls athletes to attend the state finals in Fraser High School history.