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SOLON — Jeremy Fopma and Myles Bach have a push-pull relationship.
The Marion duo pushes each other in practice, allowing them to pull away from the competition.
They did exactly that on Thursday. Fopma and Bach finished first and second, respectively, at the Class 3A district cross-country meet. They helped the Indians finish second and advance to the state meet. Mount Vernon/Lisbon swept both the boys' and girls' team titles.
Fopma claimed the district title in 15:46. Bach, who has battled illness this week, was second at 16:35.
'It definitely helps in workouts,' Fopma said. 'You push each other hard and make sure each other works hard all the time.
'You don't give anybody anything. We're up there and are trying to go 1-2 in every race.'
Neither wants to take a back seat to the other, but if they aren't the first to cross the finish line then they want it to be a teammate.
'We have a pretty intense rivalry,' Bach said. 'I think it's good. It pushes both of us to be better. I think it helps both of us out.'
Fopma overcame a slow start to the race, but added a kick.
'I tried to put in a surge a little later, like after the mile mark,' Fopma said. 'I know it helped me pull away, but Myles is sick so he wasn't 100 percent.'
Bach suffered a chest cold earlier in the week. He missed school Monday and then fought it throughout training. As the race played out, Bach settled to hold his position for qualifying and getting a shot next week at state.
'We got to the two-mile point and we weren't really on (personal record) pace,' Bach said. 'I didn't want to risk getting sick for state because that is my ultimate goal to win a state title.'
Mount Vernon/Lisbon wanted to continue its success and build momentum for state on Saturday, Oct. 29. They showed depth with all scorers in the top eight, winning with 29 points. Garrett Herring, Jack Young, Chase McLaughlin and Liam Conroy finished in consecutive spots from fifth through eighth.
'It was awesome,' Mount Vernon/Lisbon Coach Kory Swart said. 'We want them packing it up and working together, helping each other out. It's been our mantra a little bit.'
Thatcher Krob led the way for MVL, placing third at 16:40.
'Thatcher Krob ran a great race,' Swart said. 'It looked like he was running a great race and went with it.
'Running is a little bit of a roller-coaster ride sometimes. Different guys have stepped up for us throughout the year. Today must have been Thatcher's day.'
Mount Vernon/Lisbon captured the girls crown with 63 points, topping the host Spartans by 16. Both advance to state.
Hayley Corkin was seventh in 20:17 to lead Mount Vernon/Lisbon. Faith Anton and Aubrey Frey added 10th and 11th-place finishes for Mount Vernon/Lisbon.
Claire Horak, of Washington, Iowa, was third in 19:31. Marion's Hallie Kephart was one spot behind her in 19:40.
Davenport Assumption was third in the girls' team standings, boasting individual champion Joy Ripslinger and runner-up Julia Schumacher.
Clear Creek Amana was third in the boys' division and moves on to state in Fort Dodge.
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