The last time Natalie Bond raced in the Barnhardt Memorial Invitational at her home course of Dulaney, she was running in the JV portion.
Yesterday, the junior put an exclamation point on her meteoric rise to the top of the Lions' depth chart as Bond claimed the individual championship at the three-mile course in Timonium.
Her teammate on the boys side, senior Andy Carmer, also won the individual title, and Dulaney swept the team crowns for the second consecutive season.
Bond didn't break a the 20-minute mark, but her winning time of 20 minutes, 16 seconds was a personal best by 24 seconds.
"It's a big change for me," Bond said of starting last year on the JV squad and accepting the mantle as the Lions' top female runner. "My coach though I was a little complacent last year, but I'm glad I got to move up to varsity."
In addition to Bond, No. 6 Dulaney used top-10 efforts from junior Annie Cecil (fourth, 20:51), junior Jackie Schmidt (fifth, 21:10), sophomore Chrissy Shoemaker (sixth, 21:14) and senior Ali Dedianko (ninth, 21:16) to defeat No. 5 Mount de Sales, 25-48.
The Sailors competed without the services of junior Laura Garrett, who is out indefinitely with a left hip injury, and sophomore Kearny Raver, who could return this week after twisting an ankle, said Mount de Sales coach Liz Williams.
"I think it would've been closer, a little more exciting," Williams said of fielding a team that included her two absent runners. "I had hoped for a closer race, but it's a long season. We'll be all right."
Sailors senior Megan Adams finished second in 20:39, and Bel Air sophomore Cate Burns was third in 20:43.
On the boys side, Carmer out-dueled a pair of Loch Raven seniors in Robbie Dauses and Tyler Miles to help ease the Lions into a new season without former standouts Billy Duffy and Will Knox.
"I wanted to win badly," said Carmer, who crossed the line in 16:56. "After Billy and Will graduated, I've got to be the leader. I want to set an example."
Thanks to top-12 outings from Carmer, Emil Bojanov (fourth, 17:21), Jason Jura (fifth, 17:26), Travis Knox (eighth, 17:40) and Pat Duffy (12th, 18:03), No. 3 Dulaney skipped past No. 7 Loch Raven, 30-50.
"This is a fantastic start," said Lions coach Chad Boyle, who began to look ahead to the prestigious Bull Run at Hereford next Saturday. "I'm very optimistic - after these races today - about going into next week."
Peter Geraghty Invitational: Nyam Kagwima and No. 3 Bryn Mawr swept the girls race at Mount St. Mary's College.
Kagwima, a senior, grabbed the individual championship in 19:19.83.
With Kagwima, junior Laura Drossner (second, 19:31.35), senior Ashley Campbell (fifth, 20:18.49), senior Ellett George (seventh, 20:27.89) and junior Cora Sellers (26th, 21:50.46), the Mawrtians sprinted past runner-up Northwest, 36-89.
In the boys division, senior Eric Hanson of Archbishop Curley was the area's highest finisher at 20th in 17:28.99. The Friars also had the area's best finish as a team, placing sixth with 145 points.
Spiked Shoe Invitational: Britta Nelson of Havre de Grace captured her first championship of the season with a relatively easy win at Johns Hopkins University.
The senior crossed the finish line in 20:02.5 - more than 21 seconds faster than her closest competitor.
Mercy claimed the girls team trophy with a 33-point performance sparked by Mary Buettner (third, 20:55.6), Jamie Antonious (fourth, 21:06.8), Kaitlin Gass (sixth, 21:23.8), Maggie King (seventh, 21:52.4) and Hope Davis (18th, 23:30.5).