Ceres High School's varsity boys cross country team suffered a narrow 27-29 loss during its Western Athletic Conference dual-meet opener with host Los Banos last week.
"The boys are disappointed," Bulldog head coach Katie Timmermans said. "They all had high hopes for that first race. It was very close. They'll work hard so they do better at league finals when we see them again."
Ceres High's top-five finishers were Haaydn Martinez, Christian Linarez, Roman Acosta, Noah Holloway and Aaron Alarcon.
Martinez, a first-year runner, took first with a time of 18 minutes, 25 minutes on the 3-mile course at Gardens Park V on Wednesday.
Linarez (18:34), Acosta (18:56), Holloway (19:25) and Alarcon (20:20) placed third, fifth, eighth and 11th, respectively.
Tiger Jensen Chase dominated the race, winning in 17:14.
Los Banos teammates Ivan Caloca (18:54), Michael Chavarria (19:02), Adrian Marquez (19:06) and Justin Merrell (19:36) finished fourth, sixth, seventh and ninth, respectively.
"I wasn't expecting it to be as tough as it was," Timmermans said. "There were three instances where we should have beaten someone close to the finish line. They got us each time."
Tigers 23, Bulldogs 32
Destiny Suarez finished fourth overall with a time of 23 minutes, 47 seconds during the Ceres High varsity girls cross country team's 23-32 loss at Los Banos on Sept. 21.
Bulldog teammates Cristina Arreola (23:48), Brisa Gonzalez-Avila (23:51), Peyton Jones (23:58) and Maria Diaz (25:00) placed fifth, sixth, seventh and 10th, respectively.
"They went out there and did their best," Timmermans said.
Tiger Mikayla Akers took first (20:36).
Leslie Hernandez (second, 21:13), Alyssa Catalan (third, 21:26), Stephanie Galvan (eighth, 24:22) and Rain Olsen (ninth, 24:35) also contributed to Los Banos' point total.
"Los Banos has some really good runners," Timmermans said.