ELMWOOD PARK — Elmwood Park’s Aingel Matos had a nice easy run around the school on Tuesday and her reward was some pleasant accolades.
The junior dominated the competition at the Metro Suburban East Pre-Conference Meet, winning the three-mile race on her home course in a time of 18 minutes, 58 seconds.
Matos was 53 seconds faster than the second-place finisher, Timothy Christian’s Hannah Bosman.
“When I first got out there I had a lot of adrenaline and I wanted to tame it so I could use it throughout the whole race,” said Matos, who led the race wire-to-wire. “But I got out strong and just went off by myself. Since it’s our home course, it was like a home-court advantage in basketball.”
Matos ran 19:45 on the same course a year ago. A lot of her improvement came from a hectic summer when she had cross country practice in the early morning, basketball practice in the late morning and track practice in the afternoon.
Chicago Christian, Illiana Christian and Elmwood Park finished 1-2-3.
Florina Carillo was the top finisher for the Gators. She crossed in a time of 25:35, good for 32nd place.
“I kept trying to follow the strategy my coach [Earl Danan] taught me to just keep kicking it out,” Carillo said. “I wanted to make sure I got under 30 minutes and the training helped me out.”
On the boys side, Illiana Christian came out on top with Elmwood Park taking second.
Lucas Kieffer was the Tigers’ top runner, taking fourth in a time of 16:31.
“Coming in first for my school always feels good,” Kieffer said. “The first mile I wanted to hang with the three [Illiana Christian runners]. They got ahead of me a little bit, so after that I was just running my own race. But having a goal in that first mile was really good.”
Guerin, which entered just three runners, were paced by Nick Gerena (55th, 20:32).