MCKINNEY- The Panther Cross Country teams representing Van Alstyne’s middle and high schools competed with runners and teams from many area schools in the McKinney Boyd Invitational at Meyers Park in McKinney on Sept. 9.

Awards were given to the top runners and teams for running times which places them among the fastest in competition. Gavin Montgomery earned a medal for Van Alstyne Middle School’s Panther cross country team, and Bryce Sevarino continued his medaling-streak by earning a place among the top 25 runners of the McKinney Boyd invitational.

The Panther cross country team boys and girls runners participated in the 5K competition of the McKinney Boyd invitational. The runners on the boys team all achieved a new personal record on a course that is said to be notorious for being difficult to earn records for distance running as it embodies the gently rolling and sometimes steep hills North Texas is known for.

“The course is not a [personal record] course,” Van Alstyne High School Cross Country Head Coach Rachel Sevarino said. “It is very hilly but I had all my high school boys [beat their personal record].”

The Lady Panther Cross Country team stood out among the competition by having the Lady Panthers varsity cross country team competing in the 5K.

“This week girl’s ran a 5K as well which is not typical. They usually only run two miles,” Sevarino said. “The rest of the meets are all two miles for girls. I had several girls not able to run, that’s why I have a small varsity girls team.”

The Panther cross country program faced daunting competition from many area schools.

“I was extremely pleased at how well all runners competed as the course is a difficult course.” Sevarino said.

The Van Alstyne middle and high school cross country programs competeted against runners from schools from larger districts than the 3A Panthers. The Van Alstyne runners have been competing with 4A and 5A runners all season but look forward to competing with other 3A teams to find out what the district competition will look like in the later half of the season. The Panther runners worked to achieve new personal best times at the McKinney Boyd Invitational as the Panther boys and girls teams faced runners from Farmersville, a team which will be a part of district competition later in the season.

“The only other 3A team was Farmersville, which is in our district,” Sevarino said. “Both boys team beat Farmersville, but both girls team got beat by Farmersville.” The loss endured by the Lady Panthers is not lost on the small team of runners who have a newfound determination in the face of defeat.

“That has motivated my girls to really work even harder to beat them at district,” Sevarino said.

The Van Alstyne High School Panther cross country teams will next hit the track running against district rival runners from Princeton High School and tougher competition at the Princeton Invitational in Princeton on Sept. 16.