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East Union alum earns induction into Fresno State HOF

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East Union alum earns induction into Fresno State HOF

Demetrius Snaer


POSTED May 16, 2009 2:26 a.m.
Demetrius Snaer never gave thought to joining East Union High’s track and field team when he first step foot on the campus in the fall of 1989.

Twenty years later, he finds himself blushing at the thought of being honored for his achievements centering the sport and beyond.

The sixth-year head coach of the Modesto Junior College men’s team will be inducted into the Fresno State Athletic Hall of Fame May 22 at the Ramada Inn in Fresno.

Snaer was a two-time All-American and record-holding sprinter at Fresno State under longtime head coach Bob Fraley, who informed the 1993 East Union graduate of his induction.

“Seriously, my reaction was, ‘Really? Me? Are you sure you have the right number?’” Snaer said. “When you look at the people in the Fresno State Hall of Fame, it was pretty much a shock for me to think I’ll be on that list. But it was also an honor hearing Coach Fraley tell me that.”

Former NFL wide receiver and track standout Henry Ellard, three-time Olympic softball gold medalist Laura Berg and NFL quarterback and 2000 Super Bowl winner Trent Dilfer are among Fresno State’s greatest athletes.

Snaer blossomed after qualifying for the California Interscholastic Federation State Track and Field Championships his senior year and leaving behind school records at East Union.

He went on to Delta College in Stockton, earning a state championship in the 200-meter dash and national titles in the 200 and 4x100 relay. At Fresno State, he was a part of 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams that hold school records to this day.

But Snaer’s greatest achievement at Fresno State, he insists, was making the dean’s list. By the time he earned his second All-American honor at the 1998 NCAA Championships, he already had a teaching job lined up with the San Joaquin County Office of Education at age 22.

“I always forget that I was on the dean’s list, but it’s important for my daughters to be reminded that I was both a student and an athlete — not just an athlete.”

Snaer has kept himself busy after graduating from Fresno State. He was a sprints coach at one point for two of his alma maters, East Union and Delta. He also worked for the Comcast local-access station as a cameraman at area high school and collegiate events.

He has also retained that competitive drive to enter himself at track events. When he turned 30 four years ago, he went to Honolulu and won the 100 and 200 in the Masters National Championships. Snaer was the runner-up in both events in 2007 and plans on heading out to Wisconsin this August for his third appearance at the event.

Snaer said he attributes his past and present achievements to Fraley.

“I think Coach Fraley nominated me because of what I’ve done since leaving Fresno State, not so much what I did while I was there,” Snaer said. “He and I have always had a good relationship, and I view him as a mentor in my life.”

Track and field

Three area alums are making noise at the next level.

Former East Union athletes Kevin Cooper and Ryan Orallo, both coached by Snaer at MJC, have qualified for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Championships for Lindenwood University of St. Charles, Mo.

Cooper is a part of the school’s qualifying mile relay team, and Orallo advanced in the decathlon.

John Rea (Weston Ranch) is currently in his second season at MJC and is ranked sixth in the state in the 3000 steeplechase.

University of Nevada — Reno relief pitcher Sammy Miller, a three-sport standout and 2005 graduate of Manteca High, is featured as the student-athlete of the week on the Western Athletic Conference website (

Miller is in his second and final year with the Wolf Pack (25-25). He is 3-2 with three saves in 24 1/3 innings of relief. One of his victories was against top-ranked UC Irvine on March 21.
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