With seemingly everyone expecting Old Mill's girls to dominate Saturday's Anne Arundel County Track and Field Championships at Annapolis, Patriots freshman Dana Dawson was aware of the surrounding pressure.
Fortunately for her, that's never been a problem.
"If I don't concentrate on that, I do all right," said Dawson, 14. "Pressure doesn't bother me."
It didn't appear to bother any of the Patriots, who got off to a fast start and ran away from the 12-team field. They outdistanced second-place Meade, 158-102, while Chesapeake came in third with 85 points.
Old Mill's boys completed the sweep by besting runner-up Meade, 145 1/2 to 122 1/2 , to claim their fourth straight county title.
Dawson won the high jump at 5-0 and said she did "pretty much what I thought I could do."
So did sophomore Raina Domneys, who helped the Patriots to their 12th straight county championship by winning the 100-meter hurdles and triple jump and by placing fourth in the long jump.
After winning the hurdles with a time of 14.9, Domneys said, "I wasn't doing too good in trials, and I just concentrated on what my coach told me to do, to pull my trail leg. It made me quicker."
Teammate Michelle Smith, a junior, said she surprised herself with an upset of Chesapeake's Mattie Cymek in the discus. Cymek tossed a county-record 142-10 last year, but her throw Saturday was recorded as 128 feet, short of Smith's personal-best of 134-2.
"I don't think anyone expected me to win that event. I wasn't even expecting it," said Smith, who finished second to Cymek in the shot put. "I've finally gotten my speed up. I scratched four out of six, but I just gave it everything I had on the last one.
"I don't feel good because I beat [Cymek], I feel good because I threw that far."
Old Mill coach Ron Evans, whose girls won all four relay events, said, "We're proud of her. She's a hard-working kid. She just does not quit."
Chesapeake's Tanieka Middleton won gold medals in the 100 and 200 --es and took a silver in the 400. North County's Adrienne McCray had two firsts and two seconds, and Meade's Ulanda Archie took a first, second and two thirds.
Annapolis freshman Kristen Nicolini won both the 800 and 1,600 runs, and placed third behind champion Fran Mackney of Severna Park and runner-up Cindy Silate of Glen Burnie in the 3,200.
Nicolini ran a personal-best 5:05.8 in the 1,600. She stayed in the second lane for much of the race, allowing Mackney the inside.
"I was going to try to go out in front, but Mackney ran a really strong race, so I was just trying to stay up with her," she said.
Meade was the only team with a realistic chance of keeping up with the Old Mill boys, but the Patriots won six events.
Even with two of its relay runners ineligible because of grades, Old Mill still didn't miss a beat.
Five Patriots won gold medals in individual competitions, including senior Rocky McMillan, who registered his fastest time (39.3) in claiming the 300 hurdles. But it was Northeast's Bill Atwell who turned heads by setting a county record in the discus with a heave of 169-11 on his last attempt.
"I've been working on my spins all week, putting in a lot of practice," said Atwell, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior.
North County's Anthony Walker and Sam Lomax each collected two firsts, and the Knights took the 800 relay.