BETHALTO - David "D.J." Dutton enjoyed a successful freshman season for the boys cross country team at Civic Memorial High School, helping the Eagles enjoy success in qualifying as a team for the IHSA Class 2A sectionals as they placed fifth in the Jacksonville regional, with Dutton having a time of 17:15.10 in the regional, then running a 17:40.25 time in the Olney Richland County sectional.

For his accomplishments on the cross country courses this season, Dutton was named the school's Riverbender.com male Athletes of the Month.

Dutton, who runs for head coach Jake Peal, enjoyed a stellar season for the Eagles, climaxing with a personal best time.

"I started out on the varsity on the 10th spot," Dutton said, "and ran 21 minutes. to finishing top five on varsity in the regional and sectional races, and ran a (personal record) of 17:40 to be the third-best freshman in CM history."

Dutton thanked his parents, Peal, and his grandfather for his success as a runner.

"I would like to thank coach Jake Peal for pushing me hard and believing in me," Dutton said, "also my parents, Josh Dutton and Chrissy Wiley, for always pushing me hard outside of practice and always watching me compete, and lastly, my grandpa, who recently passed, for always motivating me and encouraging me."

Dutton has only been running for three years but enjoys the sport, its competitiveness, and its challenges.

"I started out running cross country in seventh grade," Dutton said, "and just completed my third season. The thing I like most is all the different courses and the competitiveness against all the other runners."

Being involved in sports has taught Dutton many valuable lessons about life, which he carries over into his classroom work.

"Participating in sports has pushed me not only on the course and on the court, but also in the classroom," Dutton said. "Athletics has also taught me the importance of teamwork and goal setting."

Dutton, who's also a point guard for the Eagles' basketball team, and also runs both the 800 and 1,600-meter races for the track team, is very passionate about basketball, and also enjoys working with tools and on projects around the house. He's also enjoyed much success in the classroom as well.

"The 2020 school year has been difficult, but I have continued to be on the honor roll," Dutton said.

Dutton also would like to run or play basketball in college but hasn't yet decided on a school to attend. He does intend on majoring in law enforcement, with designs on becoming a police officer upon graduation.

Riverbender.com's Athlete of the Month program is made possible by the generosity of our sponsors and the cooperation of our area high schools. This is a great accomplishment and one to be very proud of. Please join us in congratulating this young athlete. We at Riverbender.com wish you continued success in your future!

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