Photo by Diane Cox
BETHALTO — A season stirred by multiple wins put Civic Memorial’s Alex Singleton on course for ample accolades this past fall.
“I felt pretty good about the season,” said the 5-foot-5 junior, AdVantage News’ Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. “It was sort of a continuation of last season.”
Singleton posted victories in several key races, including the Mississippi Valley Conference, plus others at Triad, Belleville West and Alton, among other places. She ran to ninth in the Class 2A Jacksonville Regional, improved to third in the Decatur MacArthur Sectional and placed 39th at state.
Her top time was 18 minutes, 10 seconds in the sectional. Her state time was 18:19 in a fast field at Peoria’s Detweiller Park. The first 25 finishers, earning All-State recognition, broke the 18-minute barrier.
“Alex had a great season and posted more wins this season than in her previous years of cross country,” CM coach Clint Walters said. “She is a hard worker and ran her best-time ever in the sectional.
“That was the meet we had discussed where she needed to run her best because it was the gateway to state.”
And Singleton extended her winning ways even though she battled a bronchial infection part of the season.
“It was early on and I had a cough that was bothering me,” Singleton said. “It affected my breathing pattern.”
Nonetheless, she worked through it and became her best near the end of the season. The Valley victory may have been her biggest win, but the sectional showing proved to be her most memorable effort.
“The (bronchial) thing cleared up about halfway through the season and that helped me,” she said. “But I was still really tense at times when I was running. I was able to relax for the sectional and I ran my best race.”
Walters added, “She really put together a nice race in the sectional. She didn’t run a bad race at state. It was just a very fast field.”
Really quick, Singleton said.
“Everybody really came out so fast and I didn’t have a good spot to start. I sort of fell off the last mile.”
Yet she will use that knowledge for next season and keep it in her memory back for track this spring. Singleton figures to run the 1,600-meters and 3,200-meters for the Eagles.
“I’m going to relax some this winter, but I’m also going to try to keep working out and stay in shape for track. I want to go to state in track,” said Singleton, already looking at a collegiate career. McKendree University in Lebanon and Maryville in St. Louis are possibilities. Both are members of the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
Singleton also will begin working toward her senior season, especially in cross country. She does have some unfinished business. Her goal next fall is to break into the Top 25 slots at state and secure All-State recognition.
“I feel I improved overall from last season and I want to keep improving,” said Singleton, who eventually may pursue a career in veterinary medicine. “I felt stronger. What I want to focus on is becoming more relaxed.”