Dulaney junior Matt Owens had two goals in mind in the Class 4A boys race at the Maryland State cross country championship meet at Hereford High.
By achieving them both, he helped the Lions win their second straight state title by the slimmest of margins.
Dulaney finished with 97 points, while runner-up Severna Park had 98.
"I wanted to be top 10, but I just want to stay in front of Severna Park because it's all about the team win right now," said Owens, before he knew the results.
That's what gave him extra motivation down the home stretch.
"Severna Park's number one [Garrison Clark] was right next to me the whole last end of the race and I was worried because I was like dying up this hill and when I got to the top I got a second wind and I was able to take it down and beat him," Owens said.
Owens finished sixth in 16:34.65 and Clark clocked 16:37.31.
Dulaney classmate Brian McCullough placed ninth (16:43.65), while the Falcons' second runner Jonah Lane was 14th.
"Matt and Brian were absolutely fantastic today and they ran perfect races," Dulaney coach Chad Boyle said. "Them staying in front of the top Severna Park guys was key, and our three, four, five guys, just really finished well."
Junior Connor Martin (25th, 16:59.59), freshman Ethan Samels (31st, 17:09.59) and sophomore Drew Dailey (40th, 17:22.31) completed the top five and junior Brendan O'Brien (50th, 17:27.74) and sophomore Sam Merng (72nd, 17:41.11) ran six and seven for the Lions.
"We finish well," Boyle said. "That's been kind of a trademark of our team this year and you have to do that to win meets like they did today."
Dulaney wrapped up its seventh state title and second consecutive with the Falcons in second place.
In 2015, Dulaney had 37 points and Severna Park had 76.
In the 2014 and 2013 seasons Dulaney was the runner-up to Severna Park.
"This is like a five or six-year rivalry now, and it's almost like in other ball sports where they say mark your man, that's really how our rivalry has gone," Boyle said. "Cross country is kind of simple that way. Your number one has got to beat their number one and your number five has got beat their number five and most of the time if you can do that, it's how you will win the race and I think that's how both Severna Park and us approach the competition."
The win completed an unbeaten season in invitationals for the Lions.
"This season has been such an incredible journey because since day one it's been unbelievable because this team has just executed perfectly all the things you teach them to do to compete for championships and they went undefeated," Boyle said. "This was icing on the cake. It was an honor to have a battle like that with Severna Park, but our guys deserve it for sure."
The Dulaney girls placed fourth in the girls' 4A race won by Walter Johnson (59).
Annapolis senior Maria Coffin (17:49.38) won the individual race.
Dulaney was led by senior Jessica Meek (10th, 19:47.10).
Sophomore Brooke Ruffin (34th, 21:00.41), junior Dorrie Gaeng (36th, 21:01.01), junior Destiny Clinton (39th, 21:06.07), sophomore Emilie Bowerman (64th, 21:34.63), junior Megan Robinson (70th, 21:47.06) and sophomore Rachel King (74th, 21:50.96) also ran for the Lions.
Towson girls take sixth
In the girls' Class 3A race, the Towson girls were sixth (184) in the meet won by Northern-Calvert (72).
C. Milton Wright freshman Haley Cumins (18:41.61) won the individual race.
Senior Karen Prem (14th, 20:23.26) and sophomore Jaqui Sheedy (21st, 20:45.20) earned medals for placing in the top 25.
Prem had to kick hard in the final 50 meters to hold off Poolesville's Logan Rohde (20:23.59).
"I knew I could have gone harder honestly at the end, but I didn't really have to and I was trying not to, but I saw an heard her coming up behind me and I guess the adrenaline kicked it and I just sprinted as hard as I could," Prem said.
Prem was equally proud of teammates that included juniors Lauren Miller (49th, 21:48.57) and Sydney Conboy (53rd, 22:02.19), freshman Maggie Grandsire (65th, 22:21.81), junior Celia Parts (83rd, 22:39.73) and senior Amelia Kline (99th, 22:53.79).
"We know we all competed a really tough feat and we are really proud of each other and we congratulated ourselves," Prem said.
Coach Gil Stange was proud of the squad that defeated C. Milton Wright at the Class 4A North Region meet by two points.
"They were tough this year," Stange said. "It was great having C. Milton Wright push them at the regions because they had to work hard."
In the Class 3A boys race, Baltimore County and regional champion Jon Ellis (16:37.35) placed ninth for the eighth-place Towson boys.
Ellis was trying to become the first Towson male runner since Lindsay Duvall in 1985 to win a county, regional and state title, but Poolesville's Ryan Lockett (16:00.65) captured the 3A individual crown.
Senior Jack Morgan (39th, 17:46. 73), sophomore Liam Jones (40th, 17:48. 79), seniors Sushant Dhaurali (66th, 18:08.88) and Vincent Iglesias (73rd, 18:11.95), junior Tyler Paul (103rd, 18:35.06) and freshman Cory Parts (103rd, 18:48.36) also ran for the Generals.