PRINCETON- The Van Alstyne cross country teams enjoyed a strong showing in the Princeton Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Princeton High School. The varsity boys team earned the seventh spot overall with a score of 153, while the Lady Panthers varsity girls team secured second place with a score of 53 in the women’s 2-mile, falling short to Princeton for the top spot.

Many Van Alstyne runners from the varsity and junior varsity Panther and Lady Panther teams were included among those who earned a spot in the overall top 15 in each category, awarding them medals.

The Lady Panthers especially highlighted the competition for Van Alstyne with their second place scoring, with junior varsity runner Faith Griffin earning second place in the women’s 2-mile competition with a time of 16:43.

“This past week my high school and middle school teams competed at the Princeton Cross Country Invitational,” head coach Rachel Sevarino said. “My varsity girls took [second] and varsity boys took [seventh].”

Bryce Sevarino continued to perform well for the varsity boys team as an individual runner with a time of 17:15, earning second place overall in the men’s 5000-meter category. Lady Panthers varsity runners filled four of the top 15 out of 58 runners from more than 10 schools in the women’s 2-mile category. Kate Carson ran away with fourth place with a time of 13:48, Jenna Leinart took fifth with a time of 13:51, Emma Morgan earned sixth place with a time of 13:52 and G’Daiya Hall earned the 14 spot with a time of 14:30.

“Almost all my varsity girls [beat their personal best running times] from their previous race, as our target is to be in the low 13s for our district meet.” Sevarino said.

Junior varsity Panther runner Elias Mosby was the only member of the JV team to come back home with a medal when he earned the 14th spot in the men’s 5000-meter with a time of 20:46. Faith Griffin highlighted the competition for the junior varsity Lady Panthers after earning fifth place with a time of 16:43. The Panther middle school boys Gavin Montgomery and Sergio Castillo earned the seventh and fourteenth spots with times of 12:53 and 13:18, respectively.

The runners from Van Alstyne were given no easy task with the challenge of a daunting and unfamiliar course to run on.

“The course had rolling hills but was a pretty good course except being too long,” Sevarino said, ading that there were some last minute developments that proved to be an unexpected challenge for the teams.

“The coaches got a late Friday night email saying it was mowed wrong… My runners were okay with the extra challenge,” Sevarino said.

The Van Alstyne Middle School teams were a highlight for the competition, earning top spots competing among many other teams from larger schools in North Texas despite facing challenges from the course and weather.

“My middle school boys took [fifth] and middle school girls took [seventh],” Sevarino said. “It was pretty hot by the time my middle school had to run after 11 A.M.” Sevarino added the team still performed admirably despite the obstacles the runners faced.

“They did well though and are working on repeating last year’s success of both the girls and the boys middle teams were district champions,” Sevarino said.

The Panther cross country teams will next participate in the Commerce Invitational on Sept. 30 at Commerce High School.