Richard Montgomery's Garrett Suhr wanted to run his final Montgomery County Cross Country Championship in the pack and win it with a kick. He also wanted the course record. It turned out that he couldn't have it both ways. He separated from the field early with a 4:40 first mile. 4:40 wouldn't be a big deal for the 4:13 miler if he did not have 2.1 more miles to run.
"I hate 5k's more and more every time I do one," said Suhr following the race, clearly yearning for track season.
"My original plan was just to stick with all the other guys until like a mile to go and make a move for it, but I got out, I was in first, didn't really want to slow down and I just went for it."
He was on an island, running all alone for the first two miles without much opportunity to check behind him. When he did turn around with about a half mile remaining, it was an "Oh, expletive," moment.
"I was like, 'Ohhhhhhhh, man. This is going to be a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.'"
That's because Springbrook's Surafel Mengist was right there. An accomplished track athlete in his own right, Mengist didn't give Suhr any time to think about it. He did the only thing that he could do to win the race: run the kick out of the middle distance specialist, Suhr.
Said Mengist, "I started pushing it because obviously Garrett is a 1:54 800 runner so I was like, 'I gotta push early. Just make him earn it, not just sit on us and kick.' So that's why I started pushing the pace early, and then the last straightaway he had more."
With a perfect view of it all, Northwood's Ayalew Fantaw started dreaming of a victory of his own. Fantaw closed the gap along with Mengist, but he never was so bold as to pass Suhr himself.
"I was like, 'I could actually win this,'" said Fantaw. "I was scared because I know Garrett is a fast miler so I thought he had an amazing kick. I was starting to close it, and I was like, 'well, maybe I can win,' but I should have kicked a little earlier."
Suhr said that he was happy to get passed in the last half mile.
Said Suhr, "I was kind of hoping [Mengist] was going to do that. I like sitting and kicking. That's my thing. And it just gave me more motivation to run fast. I was kind of dying out a little bit but he gave me extra motivation to run fast."
Suhr outkicked Fantaw and Mengist, but not by much. Suhr won in 15:35, Fantaw was second in 15:36, and Mengist was third in 15:37. Suhr will not see Northwood or Springbrook at the 4A West Regional Meet, but he promises that at the state championship meet, he will not lead until (ideally) the final quarter mile. He will then race for time and a national championship qualification at the Nike Cross Regional in late November.
Without Lamar Wilson, who was among Northwood's best runners last year and has missed the majority of races this season, Northwood's depth was a concern. Northwood's fifth man on Saturday was slowest among the top seven boys teams, but with four boys in the top 14, Northwood pulled off the victory with 88 points.
"I think this year means more," said Coach Giovanni Reumante. "It means more to us especially to our program. A lot of people said last year was kind of a fluke or whatever you want to call it just because we had two really good runners. But this year, they had something to prove and I feel like I kind of had something to prove as well just to show that we could repeat our success. We were down one guy but everybody else stepped up. We knew it was going to be tough with our four-to-five gap, but they ran well. They ran tough and I am proud of them."
Your biggest fan
Sunday, October 20, 2019 05:40:32 PM
BRUH IS THAT GAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREEEET SUHHHHRRRRR
4A North is insane
Sunday, October 20, 2019 05:44:17 PM
8 of top 12 in moco at 4A North including very good teams in Northwood, Blair, Sherwood and Springbrook(and of course Dulaney).
Sunday, October 20, 2019 05:53:49 PM
gotta give a hand to Tamrat Snyder. He came out of nowhere in the last mile to finish 5th.
Sunday, October 20, 2019 05:57:03 PM
Blair is slept on. 4A North watch out
Sunday, October 20, 2019 06:56:11 PM
Don’t sleep on blair
Sunday, October 20, 2019 08:18:05 PM
Garrett’s first mile was 4:51.
Sunday, October 20, 2019 08:34:57 PM
Agreed. Context clues from people timing the race agree with that.
Sunday, October 20, 2019 08:48:03 PM
Can Suhr handle those hills more than the strength runners (ie. Surafel, Ayu, Sam)??
Sunday, October 20, 2019 09:02:37 PM
Of the top 15 individual finishers:
4A North: 9 runners
4A West: 5 runners
2A West: 1 runner
The W schools don't seem to run Moco anymore....
Sunday, October 20, 2019 09:27:20 PM
People sleep on Blair they’re too fast
Sunday, October 20, 2019 09:56:33 PM
Suhr had no problem with hills relative to his skill back in sophomore year. Keeny will come in the favorite, but Suhr should be up there. Also, 4A North is awesome. It's great to see a changing of the guard.
Sunday, October 20, 2019 09:56:52 PM
In MOCO XC history, these 6 teams have seemed to dominate: Whitman, WJ, Churchill, BCC, Wootton, and Northwest. These teams are so dominant that there have only been 5 years in meet history that not one of these 6 teams finished first or second. 1981, 1994, 2003, and now in 2018 and 2019 (Interestingly, from 2009-2017, you would ONLY find those 6 teams in the top 2). Now you see down county schools like Northwood, Paint Branch, and Montgomery Blair rising to the top. This new shake up is a welcome sight and hopefully means we'll have a more competition in the years to come.
Credit where credit is due
Sunday, October 20, 2019 11:30:51 PM
Einstein started this movement when Blair, Northwood, and Paint Branch were still pooping their diapers
Monday, October 21, 2019 09:29:48 AM
Two reasons for DCC success:
1) Soccer is one of the few well organized youth rec/travel sport in the DCC area. (Swimming is the other that I can think of.) Lack of facilities for many other sports means there are a lot of soccer players migrating into distance running.
2) USA-JA has helped train some young runners up, HS coaches are going above and beyond to bring experienced runners onto their teams as freshmen.
@The Last Comment
Monday, October 21, 2019 12:38:30 PM
Blair Kid here. I only know of a couple kids who played soccer but not many who were on travel teams. Also, I feel like soccer migration is just as common for other schools in Moco. It's not something special for DCC. I don't think I've ever met someone at Blair who was on USA-JA.
Monday, October 21, 2019 02:21:11 PM
It's great to see the 4A North schools step up. Before 2017, Northwood had never broken the top 10 at counties. Springbrook hasn't been top 10 since 1994(until this year) while Blair's top 10 finish in 2017 was the first since 2001. Sherwood has emerged from mediocrity over the last several years. Paint Branch was pretty awful pre 2014, but finished 2nd last year.
Monday, October 21, 2019 03:22:35 PM
random. it's all random. Einstein and Paint Branch rose up for a minute now they are back down. Northwood, Blair, and Springbrook will be too. If there was really a movement, if these programs were really on the rise, the girls teams wouldn't be so horrible. 6th 10th 16th 18th 20th 21st 22nd (that's five of the bottom seven for those keeping score) and one incomplete team for consortia schools. Silver Spring has soccer now? Congrats guys!
Sam Keeny A+ student
Monday, October 21, 2019 03:54:33 PM
He better not stir or step on a spur or speak with a slur because I can assure my beautiful fur will look like a blur swinging chandeleur when I deter the famous mileurr Garrett Suhr
Monday, October 21, 2019 06:53:26 PM
^but I’m not a rapper
Tuesday, October 22, 2019 01:08:56 AM
yall sleeping on paint branch & blair!!! just wait till indoor
Real Sam Keezy
Tuesday, October 22, 2019 06:25:22 AM
I actually am a championship caliber rapper. Approach me at state but be prepared to battle.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 01:52:26 PM
Nobody is talking about indoor. THIS IS CROSS COUNTRY SEASON.
Friday, November 01, 2019 08:23:39 PM
Northwest Jags have the best team in the nation. Rip blood. Love u dood
follow @rm_trackmemes on Instagram
Saturday, November 02, 2019 01:35:49 AM
stop arguing about teams. our 4x8 is better than yours.
follow @rm_trackmemes on ig!