COMMERCE — The Panther cross country runners will be among those competing for the 2017 UIL 3A Region II District 10 Cross Country Championship hosted by the University of Texas at Arlington on Oct. 23 at Lynn Creek Park in Grand Prairie following an outstanding performance at the 3A Region II District 10 Championship competition on Wednesday, Oct. 11.


Van Alstyne’s runners had their work cut out for them as they competed against runners from other District 10 schools, including the high school and middle school teams from Howe, Commerce, Farmersville, Lone Oak, Leonard and Whitewright. Farmersville dominated the men’s 5K, taking first place with a score of 33, while Commerce earned second with 55 and Van Alstyne’s Panther varsity cross country team rounded out the top three, taking home the bronze with a score of 57.


“Commerce got a new coach this year that is really driven, so they’ve really stepped up their program and Farmersville is always our biggest competition,” Panther cross country head coach Rachel Sevarino said.


Bryce Sevarino earned the UIL 3A Region II District 10 Championship title after finishing in the number one spot in the men’s 5K with a new personal best time of 16:43. Panther runner Daniel Morris landed in the top ten in the seventh spot with a time of 18:22. Marcus Cooper barely missed the top ten by four seconds after achieving his personal best time in the 5K with a time of 19:05.


The Lady Panthers varsity cross country team took home silver medals for second place with a score of 44. Farmersville’s women’s cross country team earned the number one spot with a score of 36, while Leonard clinched third place with a score of 51. The Van Alstyne High School cross country team has seen success this season, and the Panther runners are showing no signs of slowing down.


“It was a competitive district meet,” Sevarino said, “one of the most competitive district meets yet.”


The Lady Panthers cross country runners took over the top ten at the district meet, with Jenna Leinart claiming the bronze with 13:38, Emma Morgan coming in sixth at 12:59, G’Daiya Hall following at the seventh spot with 13:04 and Kate Carson taking ninth at 13:11.


“All my Varsity girls (earned a new personal record) at the district meet and all my boys except one (earned a new personal record) as well,” Sevarino said.


“We are training hard this week, but look forward to the regional meet,” said Sevarino, referring to the Oct. 23 meet at Lynn Creek Park in Grand Prairie. The Lady Panthers will run at 1:30 p.m., while Bryce Sevarino and the rest of varsity boys cross country team will run at 2 p.m. when the runners give it everything they have for the chance to take home regional titles.


While the Panthers are proud of their achievements, the team has had their collective sights set on state since the beginning of the school year when they kicked off the season with a ‘Road 2 State’ fundraiser.


“All my boys placed in the top 10, middle school girls took (fourth),” Sevarino said, “to move onto state we know we have to beat those teams in front of us to advance.”


The junior varsity and middle school teams have also enjoyed a superior showing for the Panther cross country program. The middle school Panther cross country team returned home as the 3A Region II District 10 Champions, taking the first place position with a score of 19, with Farmersville in second at 38 and Lone Oak taking third with 76. Individual runners for VAMS filled the top ten with Sergio Castillo taking home top honors in first place with 12:31, Blake Hyatt coming in second with 12:38, Gavin Montgomery taking fourth with 13:00, Cade Milroy taking fifth with 13:09 and Ben Smith claiming ninth with 13:53.