Don't tell Mike McNicol that the Rifle Invitational didn't mean anything.
The Moffat County sophomore had the gutsiest performance of his two-year track career with a first-place finish in the 800 meters, second in the 1,600 and a leg on the first-place 3,200-relay team.
"I was having fun out there," he said. "I was a second off my (personal record) in my two 800s, and I ran well in the mile, considering how hard it is to run here."
Traditionally, Rifle is a meet with 30 mph winds and/or rain. It's not a meet that boys coach Gary Tague has looked forward to often. But the past two years have been different.
"In my 28 years, I don't remember too many nice meets here," he said. "But other than some wind early on tonight, we've now had two nice years in a row."
McNicol helped make it a nice night for the second-place Bulldogs.
"(McNicol) has run to compete at meets this year," Tague said. "He was tough tonight."
The Bulldogs continued to show their toughness in the relay events. McNicol teamed up with Jeremy Bird, Jake Miller and Derek Duran to win the 3,200-meter relay by 12 seconds. The 800-relay team of Andrew Drake, Jake Bilodeau, Sam Weeldreyer and Duran also was victorious.
The 400-relay team of Drake, Bilodeau, Weeldreyer and Malcolm Hillewaert was third. Despite Jeremy Bird's valiant effort on the final leg of the 1,600 relay, the Bulldogs finished second in the race.
"If we have good handoffs in the 400 and 1,600 relays, we may have won all four relays," Tague said. "Those things will come."
Other highlights for the Bulldogs were J.T. Haddan's second-place throw in the shot put and Bilodeau's seasonal best throw in the discus for third place.
The girls team moved from a third-place finish to first in the final five events scored. They finished with 104.5 points, 2.5 points in front of Cedaredge.
The ladies had five finishes in the top two, which were: Alicia Nelson, first in the 1,600; Angie Charchalis, second in the 800; Charchalis, Nelson, Katie Knez and Jorgiea Raftopoulos, second in the 3,200-meter relay; and Erin Urbanoski, first in the long jump and second in the 100.
"Angie, Alicia and Erin competed tonight," coach Todd Trapp said. "We still need some girls to be ready to compete better. I didn't think some of them were focused on their races."
Charchalis' 800 time of 2:24.45 was her best since the end of last season.
Urbanoski also was fifth in the 200, and she teamed with Cassie Rogers, Kiera Moore and Melissa Blackstun to finish fourth in the 400 relay.
The 400 relay was the only sprint medley the girls competed in at the meet.
"We were without two of our best sprinters tonight," Trapp said. "That made it tough to fill our relays that we usually do."
Markie Workman finished third in the high jump and triple jump.
The Bulldogs combined for 33 top-eight finishes at the meet. The finishes not yet mentioned were: Blackstun, eighth in the 100 and seventh in the 200; Raftopoulos, fourth in the 400; Megan Knez, eighth in the 400; Amber Suits fifth in the 800 and 1,600; Jeacey Robinson, seventh in the 1,600; Danielle Brockman, fifth in the high jump; Kiera Moore, seventh in the 100 hurdles; Blackstun, Charchalis, Raftopoulos and Nelson, fourth in the 1,600-meter relay; April Sanchez, sixth in the discus; Katie Morris, third in the 3,200; Alyssa Macomber, fourth in the 3,200; Hillewaert, sixth in the long jump and seventh in the 100; Bird, fourth in the 1,600; Miller, fifth in the 1,600; Paul Nelson, sixth in the 800; Drake, eighth in the 200.
Next up for the Bulldogs is their only home meet of the season. The Clint Wells Invitational starts at 3:30 p.m. Friday.