Washington Post correspondent Josh Leventhal recently spoke with Northwest boys' cross-country coach Beth Muehl to discuss the Jaguars' championship season. Northwest won its second straight Maryland 3A championship by a 12-point margin, and also captured the 3A West Region title.

* When did you realize Northwest had a shot at winning the title?

Last year. We won the state title last year and we were bringing back our top six runners -- that always has some good implication for the next season. Watching them the next summer, they were in the weight room and they really jelled nicely as a team. During the summer two-a-day workouts, we really upped their mileage and they were very enthusiastic about repeating what they had accomplished.

* How does this year's team compare to last year's championship squad?

This year's team is definitely better. Both teams were definitely talented, but last year we were the unknown, the underdog. We had just moved to 3A and lost our top two runners and nobody expected us to win. This year was incredible. From the beginning of the season to say this is what we want to do and we're going to do it. Nothing was going to get in our way.

* What was it like to lead your team to a second straight title?

It was fun, from the first race all the way through. Everybody wanted to get better and be there every single day. It was almost as perfect of a season as you could ask for.

Kevin Lebkicher placed 41st at the 3A state cross-country meet. Matt Walenciak finished 26th at the 3A state meet, as Northwest won its second straight boys' team title.