Van Alstyne High School Cross Country Head Coach Rachel Sevarino is hitting the ground running this summer following up hers and the teams’ hard-won achievements in the previous season. Sevarino is encouraging the current team and incoming freshman runners with the Panthers’ cross country program to stay healthy and in shape over the summer to do their part to help the team advance to a championship season in 2017.

“For the first time in Van Alstyne history we brought a team to state,” Sevarino said. “I had two individuals qualify on their own for state.”

Sevarino said she hopes to build on the team’s victories after the varsity Panthers ran all the way to state competition in 2016.

“We were ranked 15 going into the meet but placed at 13,” Sevarino said. “The boys’ team were district champs and my girls’ team qualified for regionals.”

Sevarino has previously coached the Van Alstyne Elementary cross country team for four years before taking on the head coaching position at the high school.

“I am extremely passionate about running and also learning more about the sport,” Sevarino said.

When she is not building upon the success of the cross country program, Sevarino also serves as the new curriculum director for Van Alstyne Elementary School.

“I love the support cross country receives from the schools, coaches, administration and VAABC,” Sevarino said. “I love the opportunity to work with athletes and see them reach their potential.”

Sevarino is endeared to the small town charm of the City of Van Alstyne and its support for the Van Alstyne Independent School District’s athletic programs.

“Being in a small town, our program helps make them better all-around athletes,” Sevarino said, adding she has a clear vision of the program’s 2017 goals for the Panthers and Lady Panthers Cross Country teams.

“I would like to bring my boys and girls team to state this year,” she said, emphasizing the “and.” “My girls team looks really good with some new incoming fast freshmen and new talent on the team.”

Sevarino did offer some advice for those both currently on the team and those student athletes interested in trying out for the team in the fall,

“Training and trust in the program with hard work put in over the summer is what you need to be ready for a winning season,” she said.

While the concept of cross country running sounds simple enough, Sevarino believes that “anyone with athletic ability can be taught to run. It’s all about the hard work you put in preseason that will pay off in the season.”

Sevarino is optimistic about the forthcoming season and the program’s growth.

“I am really excited about this upcoming cross country season,” she said. “It continues to grow each year and we have 42 runners in middle school and high school that are currently signed up to run,” she said.

When it comes to building a championship team, Sevarino is looking for dedicated runners like those who will be attending the summer practices and open gym.

Student athletes interested in attending the cross country team’s summer practices are encouraged to check the Van Alstyne High School Athletic Department webpage for the upcoming summer practice schedule for the cross country teams.