Performance: East Kentwood's Corinne Jemison

May 25, 2018

Corinne Jemison
East Kentwood senior – Track & Field

Jemison, the reigning Lower Peninsula Division 1 champion in discus and runner-up in shot put, earned the opportunity to compete for those titles again with a pair of Regional championships May 18 at Lansing Waverly while also earning the Michigan Army National Guard “Performance of the Week.” Jemison won discus by 16 feet with a throw of 151-9, and shot put by two inches with a personal record 46-10½.

In both events, Jemison also finished just ahead of Waverly’s Malin Smith, a top-three placer in LP Division 2 in 2017 and owner of the longest shot put in the state (48-1) this season. Jemison has the longest discus throw – 158-11 – and they will see each other again at the June 2 LPD1 Finals at her home track. Jemison has surpassed both of her best throws from last season, when she won the discus with a 151-0 and threw a season-best 40-9 in the shot put at the 2017 MHSAA championship meet as well. She’s finished first every time she’s thrown this spring but once, when she finished second in discus to a thrower from Ohio in early April. East Kentwood as a team won last week’s Regional by 100 points and should contend for the Finals championship again after coming in third a year ago.  

The 6-foot-3 Jemison is capping an outstanding three-sport career at East Kentwood, where she played four years of varsity volleyball and basketball as well. She earned Division 1 all-state honorable mention in volleyball in the fall and made the Class A all-state second team in basketball this winter. She has graduated with a 3.2 grade-point average and will continue her volleyball career at Miami University of Ohio, where she’ll study kinesiology and physical therapy – and hopes to pick up a second sport when she’s a fifth-year senior. In taking her athletic career to the next level, she’ll also be continuing to follow in the footsteps of her parents, Erica Westbrooks-Jemison and Darin Jemison, who both played basketball collegiately at Louisiana Tech.

Coach Stephanie Stephenson said: “Corinne is an exceptionally gifted athlete. She has chosen volleyball as her college sport, but she could have been a force in college basketball or could have gone on to compete at the highest levels of track & field in college and beyond. Her physical gifts are truly unparalleled. She has really been dialed in this season at practice. Her hard work has obviously paid off in her incredible performances. She is also a very fun person to have on the team. She brings joy and laughter wherever she goes. We will miss her next year, but know that she will have many successes in her future.”

Performance Point: “It was kind’ve scary, especially going against (Smith),” Jemison said of the Regional. “Seeing what her PR (personal record) was and being seeded second in shot, I was kinda nervous. (But) I was excited, especially when I heard that obviously she’s the real deal. I’m always up for a challenge. … I learned that I could shock myself. I didn’t think I was going to PR by that much (in the shot put).”

A natural, but with work: “It took a lot of practice. I spent a lot of time with my coach, Coach Mak (John Makinen), and I spent a lot time with Coach (Tyler) Pettit, and they just really (emphasized) the basics with me. For a while, my first year, I didn’t even touch an implement. It was all footwork. Sophomore year, I was picking up things more.”

Three-sport standout: “Obviously volleyball is my favorite sport, but track and basketball are neck and neck. As a junior, I wasn’t going to play (basketball); I was going to try to focus on travel volleyball in the winter. But I was like, ‘Mmmm … I miss it too much.’ So then I went back. … I don’t know how I balanced (three sports). I don’t know how I made it this far, doing homework in the car, staying up late night to study. But I enjoyed it though.”

Falcon pride: “I enjoy being a part of the track team at EK. It’s a really big deal at our school. I think it’s one of our best sports. It’s really incredible walking through the halls, hearing people like, ‘Oh yeah, she’s in track.’ Especially with our track jackets on, everybody just stops and stares.”

Listen to Mom and Dad: “(Their experiences) helped me a lot when I was younger. … Both my parents played in college, so when they (could) help you with sports, I was like ‘I should listen, because they know what they're talking about.’ They've really helped me on my athletic journey thus far.”

- Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2017-18 school year, Second Half and the Michigan Army National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.

The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom or protect lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster. 

Previous 2017-18 honorees:
May 17: Reagan Wisser, Richland Gull Lake soccer - Read
May 10: Clayton Sayen, Houghton track & field - Read
May 3: Autumn Roberts, Traverse City Central tennis - Read
April 26: Thomas Robinson, Wyoming Lee track & field - Read
March 29: Carlos Johnson, Benton Harbor basketball - Read
March 22: Shine Strickland-Gills, Saginaw Heritage basketball - Read
March 15: Skyler Cook-Weeks, Holland Christian swimming - Read
March 8: Dakota Greer, Howard City Tri-County wrestling - Read
March 1: Camree' Clegg, Wayne Memorial basketball - Read
February 23: Aliah Robertson, Sault Ste. Marie swimming - Read
February 16: Austin O'Hearon, Eaton Rapids wrestling - Read
February 9: Sophia Wiard, Muskegon Oakridge basketball - Read
February 2: Brenden Tulpa, Hartland hockey - Read
January 25: Brandon Whitman, Dundee wrestling - Read
January 18: Derek Maas, Holland West Ottawa swimming - Read
January 11: Lexi Niepoth, Bellaire basketball - Read
November 30: La'Darius Jefferson, Muskegon football - Read
November 23: Ashley Turak, Farmington Hills Harrison swimming - Read
November 16: Bryce Veasley, West Bloomfield football - Read 
November 9: Jose Penaloza, Holland soccer - Read
November 2: Karenna Duffey, Macomb L'Anse Creuse North cross country - Read
October 26: Anika Dy, Traverse City West golf - Read
October 19: Andrew Zhang, Bloomfield Hills tennis - Read
October 12: Nolan Fugate, Grand Rapids Catholic Central football - Read
October 5: Marissa Ackerman, Munising tennis - Read
September 28: Minh Le, Portage Central soccer - Read
September 21: Olivia Theis, Lansing Catholic cross country - Read
September 14: Maddy Chinn, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep volleyball - Read

PHOTOS: (Top) East Kentwood's Corinne Jemison begins her windup for a discus throw. (Middle) Jemison stands atop the awards podium at last year's Lower Peninsula Division 1 Finals. (Top photo courtesy of the East Kentwood athletic department; bottom photo by

Freshman Rewriting Whitmore Lake Record Book, Eyeing More Finals Success

By Doug Donnelly
Special for

May 21, 2024

The COVID-19 pandemic was a different, often difficult time for student athletes.

Greater DetroitIt also gave aspiring young athletes a little free time. Whitmore Lake’s Kaylie Livingston didn’t waste it.

Livingston, then in grade school, got serious about running – and it grew into a passion.

In the fall, the Whitmore Lake freshman finished second at the Lower Peninsula Division 4 Cross Country Final. She’s gearing up for the LPD4 track & field championship meet June 1 and enjoyed a remarkable day just over a week ago at the East Jackson Dome Classic when she set school records in the 1,600, 3,200 and as part of the 3,200 relay – the three longest races – all in the same day.

“She has the motor to do both (the 1,600 and 3,200),” said her coach and father, Casey Livingston. “She was really focused that day and posted a couple of really good times.”

Livingston won the 3,200 with a time of 10:46.29. She was second in the 1,600 with a time of 5:03.24. The 3,200 relay team finished second with a school record 9:43.57, which has since been lowered.

“It was a normal day for me running those events,” Kaylie said. “It’s a lot of fun to run as many races and run as fast as I can. I had a pretty good day.”

Livingston started running in elementary school. Her dad was the head cross country coach at Whitmore Lake, which was then a member of the Tri-County Conference. After the regular TCC meets had finished, the league held an “open” race where anyone could run. Most times, Kaylie would join the fun.

Livingston has qualified for the MHSAA Finals in two individual races and two relays.“That’s really the first time she ran competitively, if you can even call it competitive,” Casey Livingston said. “She really enjoyed running, especially with the older kids. She liked that.”

During the pandemic, Livingston said the family began running together.

“When COVID hit and we were shut down, we were outside trying to get exercise,” he said. “Obviously, track season was canceled that spring, but our league did some COVID games, where you would do different events and you would record it. She did that.

“Then, that summer, we started our summer training, and she would have been in fifth or sixth grade and started running our workouts. She kind of just took off with it.”

And then some.

“She’s been running times that had rivaled our records when she was in middle school,” added Livingston, who has coached basketball, cross country and track & field at Whitmore Lake. “I remember her saying, ‘I can’t wait to be a freshman so I can set some of those records.’”

This past weekend at her team’s Regional, Kaylie qualified for the Lower Peninsula Division 4 Finals in four events – the 1,600, 3,200 and as part of the 1,600 and 3,200 relays. She was the Regional champion in three of those races. Overall this season, she finished outside first place only five times – with four runner-up finishes and a third place in a relay.

She said those records have remained on her mind.

“I beat them by a pretty decent amount,” she said. “It was definitely one of the goals for the track season.”

The three-sport athlete (cross country, basketball, and track) enjoys track & field but says cross country is her favorite sport. She runs anywhere from 30 to 40 miles a week. Her individual runner-up finish in cross country helped Whitmore Lake win the LPD4 team title, and she has similar aspirations for her track & field team in two weeks.

“My goals are to continue to grow and always get faster,” she said. “Hopefully we could come in with a state title too.”

Doug DonnellyDoug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Kaylie Livingston runs one of her races this season as a freshman for Whitmore Lake. (Middle) Livingston has qualified for the MHSAA Finals in two individual races and two relays. (Photos courtesy of the Whitmore Lake athletic department.)