NORTON — Aurora head cross country coach Laura Bell-Peters was looking for her teams to improve on their performances from the Super Duals when they ran Thursday at the Suburban League Championship meet.
One of her youngest runners did just that — and came home with the American Conference boys title.
Aurora freshman Matt Singleton broke his personal record by more than 25 seconds, as he won the American Conference boys title in a time of 16 minutes, 32 seconds. He was the lone American Conference boys runner to finish below 17 minutes.
"In the beginning of the season, I didn’t always have the motivation to run for my teammates," Singleton said. "The senior band show kind of changed that for me."
"I’m very excited," said Bell-Peters. "This is the first win of his high school career. I think (the boys) ran very well."
Singleton’s big race highlighted a solid day for the Greenmen, although American Conference results Thursday at Silver Creek Metro Park mirrored those from the Super Duals in September.
Highland swept the boys and girls titles in the American Conference. Aurora’s boys finished third in the conference with 61 points, while Highland won with 38 points and Copley was second with 51. Kent Roosevelt’s boys finished sixth with 190 points.
Bell-Peters had hoped the Greenmen girls could catch the Hornets, but Highland dominated the girls race with 30 points. Aurora was second with 51 points. Roosevelt finished sixth with 161 points.
Highland’s Kaylie Keene won the American Conference girls race in 18:45.
Bell-Peters said her girls did a solid job, even if they couldn’t get past the Hornets.
"I think they did an amazing job," Bell-Peters said. "I think they really pushed themselves. They can run as a pack if they pushed each other.
"Highland has three very talented girls. We knew it was going to be tough."
Aurora had two girls earn first-team all-conference honors as Karsen Zabell finished fifth in 20:06 and Morgan Schmitt finished seventh in 20:58.
Mikayla Jones (12th, 21:14) and Katy-Anna Fellenstein (13th, 21:14) came in together, while Madeline Schmitt (14th, 21:19) rounded out the scoring runs for the Aurora girls.
In the boys race, Aurora also had Robert Taylor finish in the all-conference places, as he took eighth place in 17:25.
Also, Andrew Ploskunak (15th, 17:49), Noah Harrison (17th, 17:58) and Max Manderbach (20th, 18:13) rounded out the top five for the Greenmen.
Roosevelt’s boys were led by junior Jordan Carlton, who 25th finished in 18:37. The Rough Rider girls were led by Melina Salisbury, who finished in 31st place in 22:28.