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Dulaney boys dominant in Baltimore County cross country championship; Hereford girls win

As Dulaney chased a clean sweep of the top five spots in the Baltimore County boys cross country championship Saturday, Towson senior Vaughn Parts posed the stiffest challenge down the stretch of the 3.1-mile course.

As the competitors covered the final 30 yards, Lions sophomore Matt Owens inched ahead of Parts at the last instant to give top-ranked Dulaney a perfect score of 15 points and another county crown.

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"It was my last race on a really fast course," Parts said. "I was about 15 to 20 meters behind him, and then I told myself to go all out. I didn't want them to get a shutout, but he kind of got his hand in there [across the finish line] first."

Prerace favorite Eric Walz finished first for the Lions in 15 minutes, 43 seconds, followed by fellow seniors Elijiah Hawkins (15:48), Andrew King (16:03) and Sean Smyth (16:14). Owens (16:19) edged Parts (16:20), and Dulaney's Austin Carey (16:27), Towson's Jonathan Ellis (16:33), and Hereford's Ethan Batchelor (16:37) and Dillon Coffey (16:44) rounded out the top 10.

Runner-up Towson (70 points), Hereford (80), Catonsville (131) and Franklin (133) finished behind the Lions in the team standings.

The Hereford girls edged host Dulaney, 32-39, ahead of Towson (49), Catonsville (131) and Pikesville (168).

Individual champion Sarah Coffey (18:25) said her battle with Towson's Johanna Admiraal (18:34) was even until the Hereford senior made a move with about a half-mile to go.

"I was worried after the first mile because we ran it in about 5:50," she said. "And it was still close until I went ahead, and she didn't go with me."

By the time Admiraal, who beat Coffey on the same course last month at the Barnhart Invitational and lost to her at the Bull Run Invitational after that, picked up the pace, Hereford sophomore Kelly Shearer (18:30) had moved into second place.

"We've gone back and forth against each other," Coffey said of her battles against Admiraal this season. "But we're good friends."

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Dulaney's Kristin Meek (18:43) and Dorrie Gaeng (18:58) were next to cross the finish line. Towson's Sydney Conboy (18:59), Hereford's Emily Causey (19:19) and Emily Konkus (19:23), and Dulaney's Brynn Jones (19:24 and Kira Flemke (19:33) also finished in the top 10.

"I told the girls to be patient and confident," Hereford coach John Roemer IV said. "We bided our time, and then we coalesced."

Walz, who hoped to equal or beat the course record (15:14) set in 2010 by Loyola Blakefield's Matt Jablonski, was stymied, in part, by a false start that forced the runners back to the starting line after a brief run.

"I don't want to blame everything on that," Walz said. "But it's kind of tough to go back and start all over. Still, I wasn't firing on all cylinders today. But it's hard to be upset when you win the race."

Dulaney coach Chad Boyle, who said none of his previous 17 teams had posted a perfect score in a championship meet, has been pondering where this team stacks up in school history.

"One of our alums, who was on the '73 team, said he thought this might be our best ever," Boyle said. "I'm not sure, because I don't have any perspective on those teams because I wasn't even born then. But I think we're a very good team. As for our girls, I think we ran great today. Hereford just ran better."

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