Mark VanAlstyne is in his fourth year as the head cross country and distance coach for the University of North Carolina track and field and cross country programs. Prior to Carolina, he served 21 seasons at the helm of North Florida’s track and field program.
The 2015 cross country season saw three All-ACC honorees (Caroline Alcorta, Josette Norris and Mark Derrick) and five All-Region honorees (Hannah Christen, Josette Norris, Caroline Alcorta, Stella Radford and Stephen Mulherin) between the men's and women's teams. Stephen Mulherin also qualified for the NCAA Cross Country Championships as an individual, placing 118th. Mulherin finished ninth at the regional meet while sophomore Hannah Christen finished sixth.
The 2014-15 seasons for Carolina distance saw enormous strides in the program. Freshman Caroline Alcorta was named the ACC Freshman of the year for cross country while also becoming a bronze medalist in the 5,000 at the Pan American Junior Games. Hannah Christen, another talented freshman, earned the silver medal at the Pan-American Junior Games in the steeplechase. Under VanAlstyne's direction, Lizzy Whelan broke the school record in the indoor 800, a record previously held by Alice Schmidt. She went on to compete at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships earning first team All-America honors for placing sixth.
During the 2014 cross country season, VanAlstyne coached the women’s cross country team to their first ACC Championship in 10 years. VanAsltyne also qualified both teams for the NCAA Cross Country Championship, a feat that had never been accomplished by Carolina before. The men ultimately placed 12th, their highest finish at the Championship since 1985 while the women finished 22nd. With the men’s team competing at the Championship, VanAlstyne guided the men to two consecutive championships, which hadn’t been done for nearly 40 years in North Carolina history. Under VanAlstyne’s guidance the team’s had eight All-ACC Honorees (Annie LeHardy, Lianne Farber,Karley Rempel, Caroline Alcorta, Lizzy Whelan, Ryan Walling, John Raneri, and Pat Schellberg) and eight All-Region Honorees (Annie LeHardy, Lianne Farber, Karley Rempel, Ryan Walling, John Raneri, Stephen Mulherin, Pat Schellberg, and Scott Morgan).
VanAlstyne coached 10 Tar Heels to the first round of the NCAA National Championships, including Lizzy Whelan, Karley Rempel, Annie LeHardy, Lianne Farber, Stella Radford, Caroline Alcorta, Hannah Christen, Ryan Walling, Mark Derrick and John Raneri. LeHardy went on to the NCAA Outdoor Championships to compete in the 5,000 while Farber went for the 1,500. Both women earned All-America honorable mentions.
VanAlstyne acted as an assistant athletic director at North Florida and was essential in transitioning the program from NCAA Division II to Division I in 2005. He coached six national champions, 35 All-Americas in track and 12 All-Americas in cross country while leading the Ospreys. One of VanAlstyne’s athletes went on to win a U.S. Championship while another gained a berth in the 2004 Olympic Marathon.
VanAlstyne has accrued numerous coaching honors, including the 2002 NCAA South Region Coach of the Year, 2003 Peach Belt Conference Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year and the 2010 Atlantic Sun Conference Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year, and most recently 2014 ACC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year.
VanAlstyne was inducted into the North Florida Hall of Fame in October of 2013 for his coaching and athletic accomplishments.
A graduate of North Florida and a former stand-out athlete there, VanAlstyne holds the school record for the marathon while his 10,000 meters time ranks third all-time in the school record books. VanAlstyne is married to Patty, who was a six-time All-America track & field athlete at North Florida. They have a son, Daniel, and a daughter, Kaley.
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|Position:||Head XC Coach, Asst. Coach Track & Field (Distance)|