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Boys County Championship Recap
By: Kevin Milsted

A Brief History of Northwood Cross Country

Northwood had a successful distance program prior to the school's shuttering in 1985. The girls team won three of the first four cross country state titles as soon as Maryland adopted girls cross country as an official sport in 1975. The boys team finished second in the state in 1962 and regularly contended as a top ten team in Montgomery County through the early 1980's. The Indian boys' peak at the XC county championship was third place in 1980. The Northwood boys team was known for their sprint teams which were dominant at times during the early 80's.

Northwood High School re-opened in 2004 after the physical building had been used for miscellaneous MCPS space needs for twenty years. With only freshman students, nobody expected the newly named Northwood Gladiators to contend in varsity athletics at first, but sadly they did not field a cross country team at all in 2004 and 2005.

Giovanni Reumante was one of a handful of freshmen students who joined the Northwood track team in the winter of 2005, and as a junior he joined Northwood's revived, albeit incomplete cross country team in 2006. Invisible at first, Northwood track grew to have a presence on the state level through the efforts of head coach Mark Brown, athletes Reumante, Derrick Powell, Keith Hudson, Le'Quisha Parker and others, but the cross country program was unable to escape the lower divisions and the double-digit county rankings for a long time.

Reumante was part of the first graduating Gladiator class in 2008. He departed for a few years, but returned as an assistant track coach in 2012 and assistant cross country coach alongside head coach Mike Sauter in 2013. Between 2004 and 2015, Northwood moved from the 1A classification to the 4A classification, which made it increasingly difficult to compete at the state level.

A Seed Planted

In 2016, Sauter stepped down, and Reumante stepped up as head cross country coach. Northwood's girls team finished last in the 4A West region and the boys finished 12th out of 13 team, but a seed was planted. Young runners, skinny freshmen and sophomores, dismissed by the powerhouse programs as region-fillers, invisible as Reumante's teams had been in 2005, showed promise, if only they could stick together and trust their new coach.

"They believed in each other," said Reumante. "I think that's where it starts...they put in the work in the summer. They put in a lot of miles and they just trusted where they are."

In 2017, the Northwood boys improved to 6th in the county, 5th in the region, and 13th in the state. In 2018, the Northwood boys won the school's first county title with 64 points, the lowest winning boys score by any team since 2010. The Northwood girls team unexpectedly won its first Consortia Championship title and finished 7th at the county championship, the highest finish by the Northwood girls since 1981.

The Gladiator boys have aspirations far beyond the county championship.

"They all had this common goal of winning counties, regions, states, and possibly qualifying for NXN," said Reumante. "It sounds farfetched for a team who came in last year who couldn't even win the Montgomery County title,, they don't even believe they had their best race. That shows a lot that they are still learning, but they are still on the right track."

Saturday's victory started at the top with the duo of Obsaa Feda and Eldad Mulugeta, who became just the second male teammates to sweep the top two spots at the county championship in meet history. Baraka Sila, who ran with the team during the low point in 2016, finished 16th overall. Lamar Wilson and Mulisa Regassa rounded out the top five Gladiators in 22nd and 23rd place.

Adapting to the Elements

Two weeks prior, Feda said that he wanted to aim for sub-15 at the county championship just to see how it felt. That strategy changed a little bit when the course was drenched with rain for over 24 hours. The normally speedy county course was spotted with slick, muddy patches that were difficult for runners to navigate.

"It was so muddy," said Feda after crossing the line in 16:00, the 24th fastest time in course history.

He and every runner at Bohrer Park was covered in mud from head to spikes.

"The footing was really bad everywhere, especially in the back side. I was slipping every time."

Feda was happy to let his teammate lead for more than half the race. The two were able to separate from all but Wootton's John Riker in the first five minutes of the race. Riker later paid the price for going with them since he eventually finished 13th.

At about a mile and a half into the race, Feda said that his teammate gave him the lead. He said that he was tired because he was working harder than expected through the mud. Fortunately, in stark contrast to the 2017 county championship which saw nine guys finish between 15:32 and 15:51, he did not need to worry about any runners around him in the final half mile.

Mulugeta said that he did not give the lead to his teammate. Rather, he tied up in the second half and altered his goal to make sure no other runners passed him. He powered through to the end to hold off the hard-charging Ezra Dessie from Paint Branch High School, 16:23 to 16:27.

"The first mile was pretty good," said Mulugeta. "And then after that, I just started tying up. Our goal was to go out super-fast and then [Feda] can help me out. Today, I couldn't do that, so I just [tempered] the pace. He just opened it up [in the second half]."

Now, it's on to bigger and better things for Feda, Mulugeta, and the rest, but for Coach Reumante, who literally resurrected Northwood's running program from non-existence in 2005, the significance of rising to the top of Montgomery County was not lost.

"I'm excited, very excited," said Reumante just after holding the first place trophy for the first time. " means a lot just because in the state, Montgomery County is usually highly represented. Most of the top-5, top-10 teams come from Montgomery County, so for us to come out here and prove that we are the best team in Montgomery County, that says a lot for us moving forward."

Photo #1: 1978 Northwood Girls XC Team at the Woodward Relays, Photo by Monica Mintz, Montgomery Journal. Used with Permission.
Photo #2: 2007 Montgomery County Championship. Bib #820 Giovanni Reumante's 35th place finish was highest by a Northwood runner in at least 23 years.
Photo #3: 2018 Northwood boys at start of county championship
Photo #4: 2018 Obsaa Feda crossing finish line first in 16:00
Photo #5: Northwood boys posed for photo after winning school's first county title


Coach Gio
2018-10-28 19:51:41

This is awesome. Couldn't ask for a better recap of Northwood's first county title!

Thanks for the recap
2018-10-28 20:21:54

Lots of seniors r gone. Wide open next year

Andy Carr NHS Class of 1981
2018-10-28 21:03:04

That’s Emily VanDeventer & 1980 State Champion Susan Kinnecome in that first photo

2018-10-28 22:27:00

This Friday @ 4A North Regionals - Northwood (Moco Champ) vs Dulaney (Bmore County Champ) vs Howard (Hoco Champ) Should be a great Race!

Don't believe me...
2018-10-28 22:44:33

Just watch. Paint Branch will beat them all.

2018-10-28 23:20:22

Wow, no one thought Northwood would win it this year. Whatever Coach Reumante is doing is magic!!

2018-10-28 23:39:58

4A North now better than 4A West cuz it looks like only 5 will qualify(wtf where is mervo). Northwood Dulaney currently dear even in virtual meet. Both r in a different league than PB and Howard. Well see who qualifies between Blair and Sherwood

2018-10-28 23:40:54

Bruhhh. Most thought Northwood would be a contender if not the champion this year. Still remarkable tho because last year they weren’t that good

Way too Early 2019 predictions
2018-10-29 09:29:48

Looking ahead towards next year.
Richard Montgomery
Had an really off day Saturday, but if Garrett Suhr is healthy, he is undoubtedly the favorite for the individual title. With Nick Olano, and XC debutants in Aidan Goldenberg-Hart and Rafael Berhanu, RM has got 4 returners under 17.
Based solely off the Saturday's results, they return 1 and 2 for next year with Jack Anderson and Sean Enright, and the best team(by 1 point over WJ). They desperately need to close the gap, but we'll see what times(likely PRs on a solidly fast course) they can post this Friday.
Pretty much only losing Cannuscio and Davidoff, Joel Simpson, a sophomore who did not run Saturday, will lead the team with junior Gabriel Worthington. They will be in a fight to qualify for states against Sherwood at 4A North.
Have a solid gap, but they must move up their pack. They are only losing Yepez-Lopez, and can be dangerous next year. We'll see how junior Jacob Marks can lead the team.
Similar story to WJ. Have them on here simply because of their pedrigree. They consistently have breakout runners each year, looking at Smyth, and to a lesser extent, Madrigal.

Other Individuals to watch for
Surafel Mengist(Springbrook)
Lamar Wilson(Northwood)
Sam Bodmer(Poolesville)

2018-10-29 09:51:16

Northwood woulda won without their top 2...

Just trust the Process
2018-10-29 18:53:37

If God is for us then who can be against us!

2018-10-29 22:15:21

4a north boys is the best region in the state. The 2-5 teams at states may all come from there with Dulaney howard Northwood and pb. Small case might be made for arundal to break into that but only if 1-3 run to their potential.

2018-10-29 22:20:41

Also, to the comment above Northwood would not win without 1-2 ... they lose to pb 126-136 Moco as a county is down this year compared to years past. Both boys and girls, especially boys

2018-10-29 23:14:21

Whoever says moco is down this year as a county needs to dig their head out of the sand. The only fast meet ran by any teams this season has been Great American, the rest were muddy slug fests. Don’t hate on the county and give props to Northwood and the rest of the teams that competed.

2018-10-30 08:09:36

@Person - You only did half the math. Take eldad and obsaa out of the race and move every finisher up 2 spots. PB goes 1,6,18,19,82,(90) while NW goes 14,20,21,26,45,(59). Both add to 126 but NW wins tiebreak

Asking mocorunning
2018-10-30 19:51:40

Mocorunning or anyone that knows, how many teams r qualifying out of 4A north boys considering mervo has not run a race yet

2018-10-30 21:28:25

season times would've been faster and teams would've been deeper than last year if the conditions for most races weren't so crappy this season

2018-10-30 22:23:50

11 teams are entered in 4a north so 6 will qualify. The city does a poor job at posting results during the season. As far as the conditions, paint branch was 4th at spiked shoe and 5th at barnhart? Not terrible but I would expect the second best boys team in the county to be better than that. And for the girls wj is way down this year ( but and unbelievable run the last 4-5 years) and after Whitman and Wooten it’s a big drop off. How many teams will moco have top 5 in the state for any classification? Northwood boys and Whitman girls for sure. Anyone else is a bubble at best

Asking Person
2018-10-30 22:26:57

How do u know mervo has posted results. Also, they may not have had 5 people run this year.

I wish I was in 4A South
2018-10-30 22:32:04

I wish I was in 4A South. 4A North looks like the region of death this year though, mostly cuz they have less available spots. 4A North moco teams and individuals did much better in counties.

Some one who has beat
2018-10-31 11:11:40

Some one who has beat Obssa
2018-10-31 11:13:16

I think Northwood is overrated, They got two elite runners who will be gone next year and the school won't be that good anymore again.

Some one who has beat Obssa
2018-10-31 11:13:55

I think Northwood is overrated, They got two elite runners who will be gone next year and the school won't be that good anymore again.

2018-10-31 16:35:05

Nobody thought that Paint Branch was #2 in the county before the meet. It was a combination of them trending upwards big time and runners from Whitman, Wootton and Richard Montgomery stinking up the joint in the mud. Things will be different when it is 70 degrees and sunny (literally the weather will be great) at the 4A west meet, but you won't see how they compare to Northwood and PB again until the state meet. Keep thinking MoCo is down and spelling Wootton wrong. MoCo will have 7 to 8 teams in the 4A top ten like always.

2018-10-31 17:58:44

Paint branch did so well because Ezra Dessie came out of nowhere. He had a crazy breakout race.

2018-10-31 19:04:12

Moco should have 7-8 teams since it makes up almost half of the teams in 4A. Especially since PG is so bad a fourth of the teams in 4A never factor in. Unfortunately moco boys teams top 10 finishes have been trending down. The last 5 years have been 7(2013), 6(2014), 6(2015), 5(2016), 5(2017) and the majority of those top 10 places have been in the 6-10 spots. Moco has had its years of dominance, and will have solid teams/years going forward, im just saying this year isnt one of them.

2018-10-31 19:08:36

As far as the 4A North Mervo question, I have seen the entries. Mervo girls have 7 entries boys have 5. I have no idea where their results are but I am assuming Chad Boyle has confirmed them somewhere since you need to run 2 to compete.

2018-10-31 19:08:37

Yes, no doubt but PB was more than just Dessie. TPaint Branch shouldn't be measured by what they were a month ago and other teams shouldn't be measure by what they were at the county championship if a runner was missing or finished 40 places behind where they were projected to finish. Finishing that far behind their season-long ranking probably means they fell or had a tough go not reflective of their fitness.

2018-11-02 18:42:05

Let’s get some POSITIVITY in here. Moco is the best county ever. Northwood is unreal. Paint branch is lit. Whitman is outstanding. Wooten is the bomb. Richard Montgomery is stellar. YEAH

4a north is loaded
2018-11-02 19:19:58

Northwood and paint branch looked good today. Great race alongside Howard and dulaney. Should be a fun state meet !

We can all agree on something
2018-11-03 16:24:57

At least the announcer said all the names right this year

no he didn't
2018-11-04 12:56:32

he pronounced the Mulugetas Mu-gote

2018-11-06 20:25:52

are eldad and newell related in any way

2018-11-07 18:25:16


PGerard Poolesville
2018-11-10 07:50:23

Fantastic running and coaching. Dedication and hard work on the coaches and athletes part. I love this sport.

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