Belvidere North sophomore Madison Diercks and Hononegah junior Taylor Frommer know what it's like to push themselves to their limits. They also know what it's like to push each other to the limit, as they've had some memorable mile races in recent track meets for the NIC-10 and 3-A Sectional championships.
Diercks had to hold off Frommer to win both races by slim margins, including winning by less than two-tenths of a second at Sectionals. They both went under the five minute mark. Frommer credits Diercks for forcing her to keep pace.
"If I did not have her I would not get any of the times I've gotten," Frommer said. "She's an amazing runner only being a sophomore. And doing all of those field events, she's probably one of the most talented people I know."
Having a friendly rival on the track helps the runners put their minds at ease before a big race.
"Just seeing her it's kind of like familiarity," Diercks said. "I'm happy to race against her because we love each other."
Diercks and Frommer posted the sixth and seventh best 1600M times among all 3-A Sectional meets in the state, putting them in range of making the podium at state. They've been able to get their times down despite a tough spring for training.
"[It was] really hard having to run in the snow and rain," Frommer said. "Any condition you get you just have to power through it. It's been really tough but my team and I have powered through it the whole time."
Madison and Taylor will take the track at Eastern Illinois as contenders for a state crown. After the race, there will likely be one more embrace between competitors who continue to bring the best out of one another.