Photo by Craig Amoss
There wasn't much that could stop Northwood seniors Obsaa Feda and Eldad Mulugeta in the fall of 2018. Maryland has seen its share of outstanding 1-2 duos over the course of the decade: Mikey Singer and Dalton Hengst at McDonogh, Juliette Whittaker and Samantha Facius at Mount de Sales, Nora McUmber and Caroline Beakes at B-CC to name a few. But none dominated quite like these two.
Feda, an 11th-place finisher at the 2017 4A state meet, came into the season with a more accomplished cross country resumé, but Mulugeta had also run 9:30 the year before. At the head of an up-and-coming Northwood team that was about to seize control of the entire state, non-Severna Park division, the two set out for one of the most dominant seasons in state history. Feda went undefeated all the way into states, which included a win at the Carlisle Invitational in Pennsylvania. There, Mulugeta placed tenth, just four seconds behind Linganore senior (and eventual 3A state champion) Michael Belmaggio. It was the only time all season that he lost to a Maryland runner beside his teammate.
The two went back-and-forth, much as they had done two of the three prior races, at Hereford, vying to beat the course record that had been set by North Harford's Nick Fransham at the first state meet held on the new course in 2014. It was another valiant, dominant effort (they gapped the field by nearly 20 seconds), but one that fell just three seconds short of the 15:41 record - one broken last year by Sam Keeny.
It was still a historic day for the duo and the Northwood program; the team's runner-up finished tied the best showing in school history, one that hadn't been accomplished since 1962. And the two weren't done; on a wet, muddy day at the Team Nationals Southeast regional meet on Thanksgiving weekend, Mulugeta and Feda finished fourth and eighth, respectively, each earning trips to Oregon for the national championships. They were two of just eight Maryland boys to qualify individually for either national championship over the course of the decade.