It was a strong finish for the Moffat County girls cross country team on Saturday at Loudy Simpson park -- and a surprising second place finish for the boys.
Hosting the only home meet of the season, the Bulldogs finished 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 12th and 14th, to take top honors at home.
Leading the way for Moffat County was Alicia Nelson who finished the 3.2 mile course in 21 minutes and 31 seconds.
Winning the individual title was Natasha McCullough of Manilla with a time of 20:29.
"Compared to last year, the kids really improved their times," Bulldog coach Todd Trapp said.
Jeacey Robinson finished 28 seconds behind Nelson for third place, the junior has held the No. 2 spot for the Bulldogs throughout the season and has shown steady improvement.
With issues of a large gap between the second and third runners for the Bulldogs, the Moffat County Invitational offered a chance for them to close that gap.
MCHS' Amber Suits pulled closer but was unable to seal the deal for the Bulldogs, finishing 1:16 behind Robinson at 22:47.
Closing out the scoring for the Bulldogs was 12th place finisher Laura Zirkle at 24:05 and 14th place finisher Elaine DuBois at 24:24.
Coming in second behind Moffat County was Steamboat Springs. The Sailors had one runner in the top 10. Rachel Caires finished the course in 22:34.
This was the first meet of the season that the Bulldogs and Sailors have competed at together.
Senior Bulldog Katie Morris was unable to compete due to an injury, but was there to encourage her teammates.
"I think that the girls came together as a team," Morris said.
On the boys side, the Bulldogs took a surprising second to Steamboat, who finished with 54 points. With one of the Bulldogs' top runners out, closing the gap between the second and third runner was a difficult task.
"It hurt us some," Trapp said about missing Mike McNicol. "Really, our third runner stayed the same."
The gap this time was a 1:41 differential, between Jake Miller and Jake Breslin.
Miller finished second with a time of 17:44, while Breslin came into the chute at 19:25.
Rounding out the scoring for Moffat County was Colt Criswell who finished 20th in 20:27 and Corey Wojtkiewicz in 28th (20:47.90) who battled Uintah's Brock Gessell (20:47.27) and came just short of 27th place.
Winning the individual title for the boys was senior Bulldog Jeremy Bird, who breezed across the finish 20 seconds ahead of Miller, who won the event last year.
Steamboat Springs placed 3rd, 4th, 11th, 17th and 19th to capture the title.
With three regular season meets left for Moffat County, the Bulldogs will be hitting the road hard. Their next meet is in Summit on Saturday, and will feature a tough uphill course that will test the best of the best.