Westminster's Tony Brown wears a headband and knee-high socks to keep the mood light.
But on the track, his team is all business.
Brown won the 110-meter hurdles and the Owls won both the boys and girls competitions in dismal, rainy weather at the Carroll County Track and Field championship yesterday at Western Maryland College.
"My teammates lighten my intensity up a little bit because of the fact that we have so much power," Brown said. "But I still go out and try my hardest every time."
Westminster's power is attributable to its numbers. The largest and only 4A school in Carroll County, the Owls have won 21 consecutive county championships on the boys' side and eight straight on the girls' side.
However, the Owls girls' squad faced a challenge from first-year school Century, which despite being the smallest school in the county and fielding a team of all freshman and sophomores, was the highest scoring Carroll unit at last week's Central Maryland Conference championships.
Century freshman Laura Carlson won the shot put with a throw of 30 feet, 06.75 inches. Carlson, who won the indoor regional and 2A-1A state titles in the event, also finished fourth in the triple jump.
Meanwhile, Westminster swept the girls' high jump with senior Jenn Nilson taking first place, clearing the bar four inches higher than any other girl at 5-2 despite the conditions.
"I hate the rain," Nilson said. "It just puts me in a bad mood. But Erin [Boston] said, `You can't let the weather bother you,' so I didn't."
Nilson finished in fourth in the long jump, which was won by Century's Teresa Yannone with a distance of 15-7. Yannone also won gold in the triple jump.
But perhaps the biggest star at the girls' meet was Century sophomore Stephanie Dickerson.
Dickerson pulled away from the pack in the 100 meters to take her first county title of the afternoon. The sophomore also anchored the Knights' winning 4 x 200 relay team.
Dickerson also took the gold in the most suspenseful race of the afternoon, which pitted the sophomore against county rival Laura Wilson of Liberty in the 200. Dickerson held off a late surge by Wilson to defeat the Lions' runner for the second time in two weeks.
"I was extremely nervous," Dickerson said. "I could hear her coming close to me and it made me even more nervous and I started to lose my form, so I just threw my hand out [over the finish line]."
Wilson got her revenge minutes later, however, when she took advantage of a bobbled Century exchange to take the lead on the final leg of the 4 x 100. Dickerson made up ground after the exchange, but came up short of a second relay gold.
While Century posed a formidable challenge early on (2 1/2 points behind after 11 events), Westminster was able to distance itself from the Knights and take the title by a 17.5-point margin.
The most exciting race of the day on the boys' side may have been Brown's duel with Liberty's Brandon Bard in the 300 hurdles. Bard caught Brown from behind with 100 meters to go and was able to edge out the Westminster runner at the finish line.