EDWARDSVILLE – Arie Macias made a big stride Saturday for the Alton High boys’ cross country team. He put his best foot forward.
The junior finished sixth in the 50th Edwardsville Invitational, a 5K event on the SIUE campus. His time was 16 minutes, 54.34 seconds.
“It’s probably my best finish in a major race and I’m excited about it,” Macias said. “As a team, we have started a little slowly this season, but this will bump up our spirits a little bit.”
The Redbirds, also getting a 48th place effort from Alex Davis in 18:25.15, finished eighth with 226 points in the 27-school competition. CBC of St. Louis snared the team title with 98. Carbondale took second with 109 points, followed by host Edwardsville at 112.
Jersey, showcasing individual champion Ben Flowers, came in fourth with 118 points. Flowers, a junior, won the race in 16:16.5, or nearly 17 seconds quicker than runner-up Atlantis Green of Carbondale.
“This course is the toughest one I run on, so it’s very exciting and satisfying to win here,” Flowers said. He joins former Jersey High standouts Ryan Todd and Sam Welbourne as Edwardsville Invite champions.
Civic Memorial, getting a 35th from Frank Trost in 18:12.39 and 39th from Cohl Callies in 18:18.60, took 13th with 348 points. Roxana was 17th with 440 points. James Henseler finished 67th in 18:56.67, tops for the Shells.
The Panthers’ Flowers will strive for another championship Wednesday at the Alton Invite. Macias also will be in the field.
“We need to keep having tough practices every day, and then we will come into each race feeling strong,” Macias said of the Redbirds’ preparation the rest of the season.
Vernon Curvey, the Alton coach, said Macias is becoming a team leader. The Redbirds were without key runner Evan Rathgeb on Saturday. He’s nursing a tender hamstring.
“Arie ran well at the Belleville West Invitational and he’s starting to figure it out,” Curvey said. “It’s a confidence thing. He’s running like he can and finishing where he belongs.”
Nerinx Hall of Webster Groves, Mo., showed where it belonged in the girls’ race. The Markers put four individuals in the top places and scored 28 points for an easy victory. Sophomore Sloane Montgomery won the race with a time of 19:19.22. Jenna Schwartz of Waterloo came in second at 19:25.71.
Edwardsville placed second with 72 points and Litchfield took third with 138 points. Roxana wound up with 237 points. Alton and CM didn’t field full squads.
Alex Singleton finished 29th in 21:10.69 to pace the Eagles. Kyrston Scifres led the Shells by taking 31st in 21:22.55. Roxana teammate Shalyn Edwards was 40th in 21:57.83. Singleton and Scifres are seniors. Edwards is a junior.
“It was a good race for me on a tough course,” Singleton said. “I’m feeling strong and I need to keep working at it.”
Scrifes is also aiming for improvement. “I’ve had a pretty good year, but I’m not happy with the way I ran today,” she said Saturday. “This is a tough course and we might have had too much of practice yesterday.”
She added, “I want to keep training hard. My goal is to go to state and at least finish in the top 50 places.”
Roxana coach Scott Edwards said, “Kyrston’s traditionally a slow starter and she had a decent race today. She has run well and the big thing for her is to stay healthy.”
Edwardsville coach George Patrylak said the Invite, which has been around since 1966, continues to grow and features quality competitors from throughout the St. Louis area.
“It’s amazing that this meet is 50 years old,” he added. “When you think of some of the history of it, there have been some great runners here.”