Labor Day likely will be a leisure day for members of the Moffat County High School cross country team.
After meets Thursday and Friday the Bulldogs were given permission to take some time off this weekend.
"We need to make sure we stay healthy on the guys side so I gave them the option to rest," coach Todd Trapp said.
"But we have a lot of dedication and I'm sure most of them ran."
After both teams won the 3A/4A races at the Harrison Invitational last year, they were moved up to the 4A/5A class. The Harrison race was run on the state cross country course.
The boys opened the season with a 14th-place finish out of 28 teams.
Juniors Jake Miller and Jeremy Bird ran toward the front of the race, finishing 10th and 16th overall.
After that, there was quite a gap for the rest of the boys.
The next Bulldog was sophomore Mike McNicol, who finished almost two minutes after Miller and Bird. McNicol was 112th.
Senior Ricardo Pinedo was next in 124th. Junior Shane Braselton was 152nd to make up the top five for the Bulldogs
"Jake and Jeremy really showed they are capable of some good things," Trapp said. "They were right where they needed to be at the mile and then they started picking people off."
On Friday at the Arapahoe Invitational, in another predominately Class 5A field, the Bulldog boys' lack of depth showed.
McNicol was unable to finish the race because of an injury. McNicol's non-finish added 100 points to the Bulldogs' team standings.
"I'm not sure how much Mike's finish would have helped, but it definitely would have improved us," he said. "We really need to be healthy on the boys side to be successful and we aren't healthy now."
Miller and Bird led the boys again with 15th-and 19th-place finishes. Pinedo was 75th, senior Lincoln Cleverly was 129th and Braselton was 175th.
Both races had more than 220 runners.
As a team, the Bulldogs finished 15th in the race.
The girls team showed both its inexperience and ability to learn quickly in its first two races.
Freshman Alicia Nelson led in both races with a 52nd-place finish at Harrison and an 18th-place finish at Arapahoe.
Senior Alyssa Macomber was the second runner for the Bulldogs both days. She was 96th at Harrison and 41st the next day.
Sophomore Jeacey Robinson rebounded from a 167th-place finish Thursday to come in as the girls third runner and 73rd-place finish.
Junior Katie Morris finished as the third girl at Arapahoe in 133rd and was the fourth finisher in 94th Friday.
Laura Zirkle was 147th Thursday and 103rd Friday. Amber Suits finished 144th Thursday and 146th Friday. Katie Knez was 160th Thursday and 116th Friday.
The girls finished 23rd out of 28 teams Thursday and 11th out of 23 on Friday.
"Several of our girls are still learning how to run a 5k," Trapp said. "I'm confident they'll improve more every week."
This week, the Bulldog harriers will run in Grand Junction. They'll see a majority of their Western Slope competition. The Battle Mountain girls won the 3A/4A race at Harrison and boys were third.
"Looking at times we would have beat them," Trapp said. "But we do know that Battle Mountain will probably be the team to beat in our region this year"
In Grand Junction the Bulldogs will look a bit different with a couple of new runners who joined the team late.
The boys will probably be without a couple of members because of injuries.
"We need a couple of our guys who are hurt to be healthy at the end of the year so they'll get rested this week," Trapp said.
"It will be good to see where we're at compared to the other Western Slope teams."