For the Xavier Prep boys’ cross country team, Saturday’s CIF Southern Section finals race was another step along the way to defend their CIF State Division 5 championship, but for two other teams and one individual runner from the valley, it was the end of the road.
The Saints took third-place in the Division 5 finals race, led by solid pack running from Alex Rose and David Stabile, who finished 11th and 12th, respectively, with times of 16:17 and 16:25. Braulio Ramirez (30th, 17:15), Michael Branconier (45th, 17:35) and Aaron Keuneman (57th, 17:50) followed in behind them.
The team will head next Saturday to Woodward Park in Fresno to try and defend last year’s state championship.
Their counterparts, the Saints’ girls’ team, were not so lucky on Saturday, finishing in 10th – needing a seventh-place finish at least to move on to state. Nicky Johnson (40th, 21:24) led the charge for the Saints, followed by Nora Arevalo (56th, 22:18), Bridget Wiskstrand (59th, 22:24), Elizabeth Stenmoen (71st, 22:58) and Haley Varela (75th, 23:07).
The Indio boys’ cross country team also fell short of their state dreams, despite another Desert Valley League this season. The Rajahs finished in 13th out of 16 teams in the Division 3 race, led by Mario Salazar, who took 23rd in 15:59. He was followed by Luis Barrera (29th, 16:05), Jesus Lopez-Martinez (62nd, 16:43), Johny Diaz-Reyes (85th, 17:06) and Andres Mejia (90th, 17:12).
La Quinta junior runner Marisa Rodriguez, who qualified for the CIF State race as an individual in 2013, fell short of another trip to Fresno on Saturday. After running 17:42 a week ago in the CIF SS Division 1 prelims, Rodriguez crossed the line in 18:39 at Mt. San Antonio College in 17th place as the eighth runner whose team was not advancing to state, needing to be the fifth, which was seven spots ahead.