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Roxana's Kryston Scifres runs at the halfway point of the Metro East Lutheran Invitational at SIUE on Saturday.
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Civic Memorial's Alex Singleton races toward the finish line of the Metro East Lutheran Invitational in August.
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Ryan Gunter of the Eagles pushes for the finish line on Saturday at SIUE.
EDWARDSVILLE — The Metro East Lutheran Invitational opened the cross country season for 47 boys' squads and 43 girls' teams Saturday morning at the SIUE course.
Two of those schools competing were the Civic Memorial Eagles and the Roxana Shells. On the girls' side, CM junior Alex Singleton had the best showing with a sixth place finish in the giant field.
Effingham St. Anthony's Anna Sophia Keller won the girls' race in 18:04.61 while Corbin Kakic of Fairfield prevailed in the boys' race with a time of 16:29.13.
Decatur St. Teresa won the team title for the girls with 57 points. It was Rochester winning the boys' race with 59 points.
Singleton turned in a time of 20:22.54 on the difficult course and was happy with her finish in the girls' race.
“I'm pretty happy with it,” Singleton said. “I was 25th last year, so I feel pretty good about myself right now.”
Singleton was quick to point out the hilly and taxing SIUE course is one of the toughest the Eagles will see this season and that makes an impact.
“This course always gets me because of the hills and the grass is always uneven, but the scenery is nice,” Singleton joked. “This is one of the hardest courses of our season.”
CM head coach Clint Walters pointed to Singleton as a key cog in the season for the Eagles and was pleased with her performance Saturday.
“I'm really happy with that (sixth place finish) and she's a runner that gets better throughout the season,” Walters said. “Today we were glad to see her run like that, but she's got more miles on her from this summer than she ever has before and she was 27th at state last year. We're looking to be top 25 and all state this year. I think we're on course for that. She's got the legs and the miles under her to do so.”
For the team score, CM finished in 20th place, compiling 535 points. Other girls to figure into the team score for the Eagles were: Haley Michel (23:59.68), Journey Coffman (28:54.18), Allie Troeckler (28:54.33) and Rahime Aliu (30:12.10).
The CM boys' squad placed 25th as a team, piling up 647 points. Ryan Gunter paced the Eagles, finishing 23rd and earning 24th place points in a time of 18:26.56.
The rest of the boys' to score were: Weihua Li (21:23.42), Jarrett Lacquement (22:29.63), Sam Hurst (22:44.80) and Andrew Ickler (23:12.87).
Walters was pleased with both the boys' and girls' performances on Saturday.
“I'm really excited,” he said. “We really had some runners that were managing that first mile and seeing how they felt in mile two and three on this course. That's what I told them to do and obviously we've got a couple of (top runners). Alex Singleton is kind of more that top 10 type and Ryan Gunter on our boys' side made some huge leaps over the summer and we saw him in the upper 50 in the boys' race, so it's good to see those guys out front helping us out.”
For the Shells, they pulled out a 15th place finish in the girls' race with 449 team points. In the boys' race, Roxana didn't field a full team, only entering four runners in the race.
Head coach Scott Edwards thought it was a good showing to start the season for the Shells.
“The boys ran really well. We only had four today, we were missing two and they're a very young team, all sophomores,” Edwards said. “They did exactly what I wanted them to do, they weren't conservative. They ran some negative splits and some consistent miles so I was real happy with them.
“On the girls' side, we're small there, too. We only had six runners and we had a PR (Peyton Young), which is nice at the beginning of the year. We're training, we're pushing forward.”
Kyrston Scifres led the way for the Roxana girls' squad, clocked at 22:35.04. Scifres finished in 31st and earned 28th place points for the team. The rest of the scoring Shells were: Shalyn Edwards (24:16.31), Marissa Thomas (25:36.10), Peyton Young (27:56.12) and Katrina Oldendorph (28:17.68).
On the boys' side, James Henseler (20:49.99), Brandon Isom (21:35.99), Christian Fergerson (24:37.58) and William Cotter (24:56.61) competed.
Next up for the Eagles and the Shells will be the Granite City Invite on Saturday, Sept. 6 at Wilson Park in Granite City.