Christian Alvarado's 2013-14 running season starts Monday.

But between now and then, he can finally breathe and bask in his remarkable 2012-13 season.

Fairfield Prep's standout junior reached the national championships in cross country and both indoor and outdoor track this year. Alvarado finished his campaign with an eighth-place finish in the 2,000-meter steeplechase event at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C.

"It's been a really long season," Alvarado said. "I think it's just time to take a rest. I wouldn't say I'm feeling fatigue, but I'm definitely tired coming off my last race."

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Alvarado's national steeplechase time, 6:03.44, was a personal record by eight seconds. But he still wasn't satisfied.

"The time wasn't bad," he said. "I was just hoping and planning on running a better time and placing better."

Still, a look back could, and has offered Alvarado some perspective. The rising senior, who did not even run the 3,200-meter race at the Class LL meet as a sophomore, claimed the crown at the Class LL, State Open and New England regional championships this year.

"I wouldn't have expected to accomplish half the things I did," he said. "Winning the State Open and New England titles in the two mile-- which wasn't even my primary event-- is kind of shocking, and I'm truly happy."

Alvarado's strong season started in the fall, when he qualified for the Foot Locker National Cross Country meet in San Diego. Though he finished 38th, that set the tone for his breakout junior campaign.

"I think he found some strengths," Prep track and cross country coach Bob Ford Jr. said. "He has the rare ability to run hard in the beginning and still be able to have a strong finish."

With an arsenal of experience and some new techniques, Alvarado can now look towards his senior season. He stated there are a litany of Division 1 programs interested in him, stating that Notre Dame, University of Virginia, Georgetown, Stanford and the University of North Carolina are five in which he's strongly interested.

"There are few who wouldn't want him," Ford said.

Ford has already named Alvarado as one of Prep's three cross country captains for next year, and he knows his runner will prepare accordingly to trump the competition.

"Christian can't just cruise to the best in the mile and the two-mile," Ford said. "We've talked, in a pretty-detailed fashion, about what he should be doing this summer. He understands that."

But with Staples High School's Henry Wynne graduating and heading to Virginia, Alvarado knows there are few standing between him and his goal of being Connecticut's best runner.

"Right now I'm clearly the favorite for winning the State Open in my mind and in my coaches' minds," he said. "Now it's just getting to the point where I feel confident going into the State Open, New Englands this upcoming year.";