The 2016-17 school year may not see the Van Alstyne sport’s program reach last year’s lofty numbers, but, none the less this has been a successful year for Panther and Lady Panther sports.
Last year Van Alstyne finished ninth among Class 3-A schools in the state, tying East Bernard with 50 points in the Lone Star Cup race, led by the championship finals appearance by the Panther baseball team.
With qualifiers headed to state in the next four University Interscholastic League events, the Panthers are poised to make some noise.
Track and Field
When: May 13
Where: Mike A. Myers Stadium, Austin.
Saturday May 13, 12:45 Girls 100-meter hurdles.
Van Alstyne freshman Sydney Ingram received the wild-card spot in this event. She finished third at the Region II meet, but her time of 15.32 in the finals was the fastest among non-qualifiers at the four regional meets.
Three 2016 participants in this event will return for the 2017 season, including the defending champion, Riley Schneider of Altair Rice. Her 2016 time was 15.00.
The Region II winner, Camri Austin of Uplift Hampton, ran a 14.45 at the regional meet.
Levi Jones will compete in the 400-meter dash, scheduled for a 1:45 start.
The top seed for this event is Will Anderson of East Bernard with a time of 48.40.
Jones has a seed time of 49.61 going into the meet, which is fifth among the nine participants.
Anderson and Holden Stoute of Wall will have 2016 experience to fall back on in this years race.
Lady Panther sophomore Emme Fernandez won the 300-meter hurdles at the Region II meet at Whitehouse with a time of 45.24. That will be the fifth best time among the nine hurdlers at Austin.
Andrea Waggoner of George West will return as defending champion in the event after running a 44.64 in 2016 to take home the gold medal.
Three other 2016 participants will return this season, including Alana Holloway of Spearman who ran a 44.85 to finish second last season.
The Van Alstyne boys’ 4x400 meter relay team will have a 3:15 start time on May 13 and will go into the event with the fourth fastest seed time.
East Bernard, Pottsboro and Wall, all participants at last years meet, will return for the 2017 showdown.
Cam Montgomery, Samuel Tormos, Scott Taylor and Jones will run for the Panthers.
When: May 15-16
Where: Grey Rock Golf Course, Austin
For the fifth time since 2011, Howe coach Derek Lands will take a Lady Bulldog team to the state tournament.
This year’s team finished third at the Region II meet, and will be one of 12 Class 3-A teams at the state meet. The Lady Bulldogs finished seventh last season, shooting 814 over the heavily trapped Grey Rock course.
Six teams from last season return, including the defending champs from Sonora.
Led by senior Holly Sparks, the Lady Broncos have won four state championships since 2012, including the last three.
Charlsee Carter, Peyton Groves and Anna Counts will bring back 2016 experience to this years field.
Junior Meradith Ross lowered her scores in almost every event this season, in just her second year of competition. She was second on the team to Carter, shooting a 179 at the Region II meet.
When: May 18-19
Where: George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
Texas A&M College Station.
The Van Alstyne mixed doubles team of Janea Larriviere and Noah Tormos will open play at the 2017 state tennis meet with a 1:30 match on May 18 against Lyndsey Kinard, and Cameron Coker of Woodville.
The Van Alstyne duo won the Region II title with a comeback win over Whitesboro’s Ruth Leach and Scott Gautier. That Bearcat team is one of three mixed doubles teams which competed in the 2016 event, and will return this year.
If there is a rematch of their regional tilt, it will be for the state title as the Bearcat duo are at the top of the bracket and Van Alstyne is in the lower half.
Erin Blanchard and Blake King of Rockdale finished second last year, and return for the 2017 meet.
Don’t count out the Van Alstyne team. Not expected to be here, they are playing with house money.
When: May 22-23
Where: Grey Rock Golf Course, Austin
Van Alstyne sophomore Nathan Cuthbertson earned a medalist spot at the 2017 state golf tournament, and he will be playing at Grey Rock Golf Course in Austin on May 22 and 23.
The sophomore fired a two-round total of 160 at the Region II meet on the Oakhurst course in Bullard.
Cuthbertson was a member of the 2016 Panther team which finished eighth at the state tournament over this same course.