It took everything the Indio High School boys’ cross country team could muster to hold off the home-course Xavier Prep squad Wednesday in the first Desert Valley League meet of the season.
The Indio boys won with 33 points — keeping Xavier Prep, which had 35 points, at bay — thanks to David Luna’s first-place finish in 15 minutes, 24 seconds, and three more top 10-finishes by the Rajahs. Aaron Jiminez (16:37) took third, Raul Hernandez (16:45) came in sixth and Leo Rodriguez (16:52) was ninth.
“I felt really good. Had a good race. No weaknesses today. With the wind, it’s really hard, and it’s difficult with the soft sand in the back (of the course). That’s really difficult, too,” said Luna, a senior.
Luna was trailed the entire race by Xavier Prep’s top runner, Emery Caster (15:56).
“He wasn’t too far behind me in the first half of the race, and I did look back and see him pretty close, so I thought I had to pick it up, and I did pick it up, and started to gap him little by little,” Luna said about Caster.
The Xavier Prep ace was followed by three of his teammates in the top 10: Joe Janssen (16:38) finished fourth, Hogan Lizza (16:50) finished eighth, and David Stabile (16:54) finished 10th.
“It was a very tough race, and (Luna’s) a very good runner,” Caster said.
Wednesday’s event didn’t begin until after 6 p.m., in order to miss the hottest part of the day, but as a consequence was run in the middle of high winds that likely slowed the runners.
“With the wind it’s really hard, it’s half in your face and half at your back,” Luna said. “It evens out.
“Actually, I’d rather have less wind and it be hotter, because I train in the heat anyway.”