Christian Linarez took a couple puffs from an inhaler while resting on a bench in the shade.
The sophomore standout on Ceres High School's varsity boys cross country team labored to a 14th-place finish at the Western Athletic Conference Championships on Wednesday at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park.
Linarez posted a time of 20 minutes, 25 seconds on the 3-mile course.
"I feel like it wasn't one of my best races," said Christian, who was slowed by asthma. "I could have done better. I should have pushed harder."
Linarez, Manuel Baez (17th, 20:31), Efren Ramirez (18th, 20:32), Nick Burt (26th, 21:27) and Angel Macias (27th, 21:36) helped propel the Bulldogs to a fourth-place finish (102 points) at the WAC finals.
Ceres High, 2-5 during the dual season, also finished fourth in the overall standings.
Ben Saldana (19:49), Anthony Carrillo (22:05), Alejandro Espinoza (22:57) and Gilberto Alvarez (23:35) represented Central Valley, which couldn't post a team score due to its thin roster.
The Hawks won two dual matches and finished sixth in the WAC's overall standings.
"I'm just looking forward to track now," said Saldana, who missed the majority of the cross country season with a leg injury.