Craig The emphasis all season long for the Moffat County cross-country team was to train hard in preparation for the end of the season.
The end of the season now is upon the Bulldogs, and the hard work has paid off.
The boys team placed second in Delta on Oct. 20, qualifying for the state championships Saturday in Colorado Springs.
The girls team joined the boys, finishing fourth to fill the bus headed to Saturday's championship.
"I implemented a much tougher training schedule for these kids this year," coach Todd Trapp said. "They are able to enjoy their success that much more now. The hard work paid off for them."
Alicia Nelson did what the junior already has done three times this year - win.
Nelson pulled away the last 1,000 meters on Delta's crushed gravel course, blowing away her closest competitor by 26 seconds for her fourth victory of the season.
"I told Alicia with 1,000 meters left that it was time to go," Trapp said. "It was time for her to put it away. She did. You could tell she was much stronger than the other girls."
Freshman Mady Jourgensen pushed Nelson the entire race, eventually finishing fourth.
Jourgensen displayed a breakout performance that made Trapp proud, the coach said.
"She's been getting closer to Alicia more toward the end of the season," he said. "Mady was totally impressive. Her confidence is booming."
Jourgensen was more impressed with the teams' effort, rather than her own.
"I wanted the whole team in more than anything," she said. "Our goal in the middle of the season was for everyone to go to state. I'm really excited that we accomplished that goal."
With the boys team having been consistent all year - Mike McNicol being No. 1, and the two through four runners being evenly matched - the runner that pushed the boy's team over the top came from the No. 5 spot Kevin Murray.
"Kevin just started running with us this year," Trapp said. "We wouldn't be going to state without him."
Murray sliced more than two minutes off of his previous best time of the year Saturday, but he's not finished cutting time.
"I'm really happy to make it to state in my first year ever as a runner," he said. "I ran my fastest time ever Saturday. I'm out to beat it again this week."
Although his team was impressive this past weekend, the practices will continue, Trapp said
"We will be running all week," he said. "Regionals are over, but state is next. We will be ready to go."