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 Fraser High cross country runners are pictured at a recent practice. Last season, the boys squad won the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division championship.

Fraser High cross country runners are pictured at a recent practice. Last season, the boys squad won the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division championship.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Fraser High cross country looks to defend MAC Blue title

By: Mark Vest | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published September 10, 2019

FRASER — After securing some championships for the program last season, Fraser High’s cross country team has returned to action.

Prior to last year, according to coach Kevin Sorai, the Ramblers hadn’t won either a Macomb Area Conference dual or division meet championship for boys or girls. Last season, Fraser’s boys squad accomplished both of those feats in the MAC Blue Division.

That wasn’t the only first for the program.

Joey Tavalieri, now a senior, won the Macomb County championship meet and finished eighth at the Division 1 state final last season, which was the highest finish for Fraser in program history, according to Sorai.

This year, Sorai said there are 30 kids in the program, making it “the biggest team that the school’s ever had.”

“There’s some excitement around the program,” he said. “We’re excited. We’re right where we (want to) be at this point.”

The kind of success Fraser has had can make things fun for the athletes who are a part of the program.

“I love running no matter what, but when we actually have a chance to accomplish something that hasn’t ever been done in school history, it’s really cool,” said senior Brendan Cairney. “It’s really special to see. I’m super excited to be a part of it.”

With a middle school program in place this year, things could get even better for the Ramblers going forward.

“It gives kids an opportunity early to understand what it’s really about,” Sorai said. “You get to the high school level, it can be kind of intimidating.”

Sorai’s aspirations for the program aren’t small. The second-year coach said he wants Fraser to be a “powerhouse.”

“We (want to) be that team that’s a perennial state qualifier,” Sorai said. “We (want to) be the team that is always competing for a county title. … As a whole, both sides of our program, really, really competing on a yearly basis.

“That’s one thing I told our athletic director (during) my interview,” Sorai continued. “I said, ‘Listen, I don’t see why we can’t be that team.’ We have all the things that are necessary, as far as facilities and population, and all that kind (of) stuff. It should be no excuses. We need to go out there, just do what we need to do. We need someone invested, like myself (and) my assistant coaches.”

With the boys squad having enjoyed some success, Sorai would like the same for the girls.

The key to accomplishing that may be to have more girls come out for the team.

“That would be really cool if we get new girls out,” said sophomore Emily Plouff, who broke the freshman school record for her time in a 5K run last year.

Despite the success Fraser has had, Sorai said the program is still a work in progress.

“I think there’s never a stopping point,” he said. “But right now, I’m happy with where we’re at. There’s some things that I would obviously like to address as far as getting some more numbers out, especially the girls’ side — getting some girls that are really, really invested. We’ve got the guys pretty figured out in that regard. Girls, we need more.”