Running cross country at Dulaney a real team effort Depth helps keep Lions out front

October 18, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Dulaney senior Amanda White is a nationally renowned, two-time Class 4A state champion in cross country, but she alone can't win a team title for the top-ranked Lions.

Meet the Dulaney team you may not know -- No. 2 senior Kristen Friz, and the Nos. 3 through 5 runners, juniors Dishina Davis, Ashley Dorr and Patti Zahner.

With White, they represent the top four of the Lions' five best runners from a squad that won the county and regional titles, and came within six points of winning the 4A crown a year ago.

Running aggressively as a pack this year, the Lions have taken the top five spots -- for a perfect score of 15 -- against five of their seven dual-meet opponents.

Dulaney has victories in three of four invitationals it has entered, winning the Johns Hopkins Spiked Shoe, University of Maryland and Westminster High events, and placing third at UMBC behind two highly touted Virginia teams -- including nationally ranked champion Potomac.

The Lions have a 7-1 meet record, losing only to Catonsville when they were missing two starters, and after Friz ran the wrong way and didn't complete the race.

"We go after the best girls on other teams, knowing that we have to beat them," said Davis, 16. "If I was the best girl on another team, I'd be concerned about how I'd do against us."

White (19 minutes, 24 seconds) and Friz (20:25) opened the season by finishing 1-2 in the Spiked Shoe Invitational to lead the Lions to a 51-55 victory over defending Class 3A state champion Walt Whitman of Montgomery County. White broke the course record of 19:57 set by Fallston's Jenny Howard in 1990.

As a runner-up to White (18:47) in the Westminster Invitational, Friz's time of 19:34 was closer than she had ever been to her running mate.

"I've been on a weight program, lifting three times a week and squeezing in some swimming. I can pump my arms stronger on the hills, which keeps my legs from tiring," said Friz, a second-team All-Metro pick.

A B-plus student, Friz is considering a scholarship offer from Southwest Missouri State and is interested in several other schools with quality programs.

"I'd like a scholarship somewhere," said Friz, whose fastest time (19:21) earned her fifth place at the University of Maryland meet. "I work with Mandy a lot in practice, and I really try to focus on encouraging the other runners. This team is wonderful, with a lot of spirit."

And as the season goes along, says coach Bob Dean, the Lions have only gathered steam.

"Friz has been closer to Mandy than any runner in Baltimore County, and the others, their times aren't as spread out as they were at the beginning," said Dean. "As a coach, that's what you like to see happen, especially with the underclassmen."

Davis, Dorr and Zahner all have recorded times under 23 minutes at one time or another, with Dorr edging Davis in the meet at UMBC.

"We both help each other during practice to make us go faster," said Davis. "There used to be a big gap between all of us last year, but this year, we all started out at about the same level."

Dorr said: "It's a plus to be so close together, because you have to work harder. Usually, Dishina is ahead of me, with Patti coming behind, but it helps us in training to pace off of each other."

Sophomores Stacy Simpson and Erin Cecil add depth and have finished before some of the top runners from other schools in a few races. The two of them, not to mention an unbeaten junior varsity squad, keep Zahner on her toes.

"I know that as the fifth spot on the varsity, I have to run very strong," said Zahner, last year's junior varsity county champion. "There's a lot of pressure on the varsity, but my times have improved a lot."

Dean, The Sun's 1991 Coach of the Year, said the fifth position was costly for Dulaney in last year's state meet, when the Lions were fourth behind champion Churchill, Quince Orchard and Frederick.

But the Lions have two victories over Quince Orchard -- by 55-104 and 51-91 -- and another over Frederick, and Churchill isn't as strong as either of the two teams.

"I think Quince Orchard is the best team [in Maryland] that we've seen," said Dean. "And we've beaten them twice."

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