Longtime Dulaney coach Bob Dean likes to teach his runners to stay together in packs, continuously pushing each other until they cross the finish line.
Yesterday, the top-ranked Lions listened well.
Led by first-place Suzanne Sclafani, Dulaney swept the top six places en route to an overwhelming team victory at the Class 4A North Region championships at Oregon Ridge Park.
L Perry Hall, placing five in the top nine, won the boys race.
Crossing the tape consecutively for the defending state champions were Sclafani (20 minutes, 23 seconds), Meghan White (20:38), Marjorie Bollinger (21:07), Meredith Fellman (21:39), Holly Zahner (21:45) and Bianca Jay (21:52). Their seventh runner, Amy McCrone, finished 11th.
Together, they gave their team a 53-point victory over second-place Perry Hall.
"We just said we'd try as best we could to stay near the front and keep our positions," said Sclafani.
Though nearly falling half a dozen times, Sclafani still won the race by 15 seconds.
The 4A boys race was won by Mervo's Mike Curtis, who finished in 17:00 to beat Dulaney's Shawn Sullivan by 20 seconds.
Curtis, who took sixth in the state a year ago, hopes to vie for a state title on Nov. 11 at Hereford.
"That's all I want to do -- try and win states," said Curtis. "Last year was a good race for me, but I think I'm better now."
Perry Hall's team victory was led by Jason Harle (third), Ryan Alessi (fourth), Omar Knight (fifth), Matt Hester (sixth) and Kirk Bouffard (ninth).
Gators coach Jerry Martin said that the key to the win was his team's ability to hold off Antwon Collins and Garfield Thompson of Mervo, who pushed Perry Hall's lead pack but finished seventh and eighth, respectively.
Other races included the Class 2A, North Region championships.
Towson, led by first-place Lee Synkowski (18:39) won the boys race, while Catonsville, paced by second-place Brigid O'Connell and third-place Emily Knight (22:11), took top honors among girls teams.
The Towson boys took first, fifth, eighth, ninth and 10th place en route to an 18-point victory over Aberdeen.
North Harford's Megan McNew won the girls race in 20:49, but Catonsville's second, third, fifth, eighth and 11th-place finishes gave it a 12-point margin over Towson.