Photo by Tayhlor Sims
BETHALTO – The best is yet to come for Alex Singleton. Or so it seems.
The sophomore runner from Civic Memorial High continues to make large strides in cross country. Her improvement and success the past season validated her status as the AdVantage News’ Prep Female Cross Country Runner of the Year.
“She is a tenacious and self-driven runner,” Eagles’ coach Clint Walters said. “She excels both as a student and a runner, and she learned a lot about the sports of cross country between last season and this one.”
Mostly, Singleton learned how to win and win big. She followed her satisfying freshman season with additional success, including a first place in the Jacksonville Class 2A Regional. She posted her top time there in 17 minutes, 47 seconds.
Singleton also won other major invitationals, including ones at Alton, Jersey, Carrollton and Belleville West. She finished second in the Mississsippi Valley Conference run, fifth in the sectional and 27th in the IHSA finals at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
Her Peoria time was 18:13 and she narrowly missed out on earning All-State status. The best 25 runners receive that award.
“I’m pretty happy with my season,” Singleton said. “I got my times down in the low 18 minutes and then I had my best time in the regional. So I dropped a minute off my time from my first season.”
She jockeyed with sophomore Allison Zobrist of Highland in multiple head-to-head battles and figures to do so that for the next two years. Zobrist, the MVC champ, finished sixth at state.
“I really wanted to be All-State this year, so that’s one of my goals for the next two years,” said Singleton, also a soccer player. “It’s really fun to run at state and by the time I’m a senior, I’d like to finish in the top 10.”
Walters had fun watching Singleton progress the past season and serve as a leader for an improving CM team. The Eagles took sixth in the Jacksonville Regional and advanced to the Decatur MacArthur Sectional. They expect to continue their ascent, with Singleton showing the way.
“This season, Alex had a much better idea of how to attack courses and how to maximize her potential,” Walters said. “I believe this was seen in her lower times and her improvement at the state meet, even though she was Class 1A as a freshman year and Class 2A the past season.”
Singleton added, “I knew more of the courses and the competition better this year. That helped me.”
Running is something she takes seriously and a sport Singleton has been participating in for years.
“I started about the fourth or fifth grade,” she said of her career. “I took a liking to it and I started to win.
“I like to win,” Singleton said, smiling.
There will likely be plenty of wins awaiting her the next two years. She will get ready for track season this spring and compete in the 1,600-meters and 3,200-meters. Singleton can’t wait to resume her running and follow it where it takes her.
“I want to go on to college and compete in it,” Singleton said of cross country/track. “What I really like about cross country is running on the different courses because some of them are very scenic. And sometimes it kind of takes your mind off things.
“I’m really glad I’m a runner.”