Photo by Diane Cox
East Alton-Wood River sophomore Garrett Fulkerson runs at the Class 1A Metro East Lutheran Sectional at SIUE on Saturday, Nov. 1. Fulkerson qualified for state this weekend at Peoria’s Detweiller Park. Roxana’s Kyrston Scifres will compete in the Class 1A girls’ race at state, while Civic Memorial’s Alex Singleton competes in the Class 2A girls’ competition.
Alex Singleton has one burning desire going into the IHSA Cross Country finals Saturday at Detweiller Park in Peoria:
She wants to be an All-Stater.
And the Civic Memorial junior can achieve All-State status if she finishes in the top 25 places during the Class 2A girls’ finals. They are scheduled to start at 11 a.m. near the banks of the Illinois River.
“It’s my goal and I’d be so happy if I could do it,” Singleton said. “I need to stay relaxed and get out fast at the beginning of the race.”
Singleton finished 27th in 18 minutes, 13 seconds last fall and experienced the agony of just missing All-State recognition. CM coach Clint Walters indicated she is poised to top that showing this time. Singleton took third, with a time of 18:10, in last Saturday’s Decatur MacArthur Sectional.
“It was a very good effort and she put together a nice race,” Walters said. “She was right there with the top two sectionals finishers and the course is similar to the one at state.”
He figures Singleton will be brimming with confidence in her final run of the season. She has won several major races this season, including the Mississippi Valley Conference chase. Singleton took ninth in the Jacksonville Regional, then saved her finest outing for Decatur.
“She’s where she wants to be and the way she ran in the sectional puts her in good position for state,” Walters said.
Singleton added, “The sectional was my best race of the year and the best of my career. I was relaxed and felt comfortable the whole race.”
She intends to stay in a comfort zone at state. “I’m really excited about going back to state and I’m going to try and get my time under 18 minutes,” Singleton said. “I want to save my best race for the last race of the season.”
Roxana’s Kyrston Scifres and East Alton-Wood River’s Garrett Fulkerson join Singleton in the three-class state show. They both will compete in Class 1A competition.
Scifres, a junior, will run at 9 a.m. in the small-school girls. Fulkerson, a sophomore, goes at 10 a.m. in 1A boys. Then comes Singleton in 2A girls, followed by 2A boys at noon. Class 3A girls compete 1 p.m., and the large-school guys go at 2.
“My goal is to go to state, so I’m pumped up about it,” said Scifres, 10th at 20:30 in the Metro East Lutheran Sectional at SIUE. Roxana scored 211 points to place eighth as a team.
“It means everything to go to state.”
She noted, “I’d say my sectional race was my best one of the season because the competition was the best I have run against all year.”
Roxana coach Scott Edwards continues to look for faster times from Scifres.
“She’s a racer and has all the talent in the world,” he said.
EA-WR coach Russ Colona senses Fulkerson will continue to steadily improve. The young Oilers, which featured three sophomores and four freshmen, finished ninth with 230 points in the MELHS Sectional.
“We’re a very young team, but Garrett has assumed the mantle as the leader for the team this year,” Colona said. “He practices at SIUE all the time and is a very positive leader. Things look bright for us in the future.”
Fulkerson hopes his bright times glow in Peoria.
“My goal was to get to state and I was happy the way I ran my race,” he said of his sectional performance. “I haven’t thought much about state yet, but we will see what happens and what it looks like there.”