DENTON-The Van Alstyne High School cross country team placed 34th overall at the Marcus I Invitational at North Lake Park in Denton on Sept. 2. Panther cross country runner Bryce Sevarino earned the 21st spot overall in the men’s category, and Lady Panther runners Emma Morgan and Jenna Leinart earned spots 25 and 27, respectively. Sevarino medaled with a time of 17:15 in the two mile.

“Girls ran the 3200 meters, and boys ran open varsity and one runner ran open [for junior varsity].” Head Coach Rachel Sevarino said.Morgan ran the 2-mile in 14:20, and Leinart came in the top 30 runners in 14:25. The competition for Van Alstyne was overall determined to be tough at the Marcus I invitational.

“It was a very large meet with powerhouse schools such as Southlake Carroll, Allen, Frisco, Plano,” Sevarino said. The Van Alstyne runners all gained a sense of achievement by beating their previous competition best.

“All my runner’s [beat their records] from the previous meet so I was very happy to see that their times are dropping,” Sevarino stated. The cross country coach kept the runners spirits up with encouraging advice throughout the competition.

“We before me, meaning put the team before themselves,” Sevarino said, “I also tell them I want them to step off the course knowing they gave it everything they had and left it all out on the course. Continue to work hard and keep each other accountable,” she added. The runners of the Van Alstyne High School cross country team have their eye on state as they work to improve their performance by beating their personal records.

“All my runners are making incredible strides as they all took off time from their first meet,” said Sevarino. The Panther cross country team has been pushing themselves to compete among the top rated schools in the area as they work to create a path to state competetion.

“Running is a mental sport that you have to train yourself to keep pushing even when your body wants to slow down or stop,” added Sevarino. While the team is showing steady improvement by earning shorter times with each competetion, they will have to work even more to earn a spot on the all-district team and make it past the first round in the postseason.

“We all need to continue to improve our times and take off seconds each meet to move on to state,” Sevarino stated.“They are determined and will work hard to accomplish that goal.”

The Panther cross country team is currently ranked in the top spot with Panther runner Bryce Sevarino in first among schools ranked in the 5,000 Meters Cross Country best times, while Lady Panther runners Morgan and Leinhart have earned the spots 5 and 7 overall in the 3,200 Meter Cross Country best times in the Texas University Interscholastic League 3A Region 2 for the District 10 rankings thus far for the 2017 season.

The Panther Cross Country team will next travel to compete in the McKinney Boyd Invitational at Meyers Park in McKinney on Saturday Sept. 9.