For 14 laps, this is the way it went: Andrew led and Noah followed. The dozen or so other competitors in the state championship 3200m field gradually sloughed off the back, unable to sustain the relentless pace the duo set. For Andrew, they were irrelevant. His focus was singular. For years he’d heard about Noah. Noah was fast. Noah was shifty. Noah was talented.
Noah was also his teammate.
Now there were 400 meters remaining. Two laps on an indoor track. Andrew hadn’t slackened for so much as a step, but Noah moved up on the outside. Andrew tried to keep his emotions in check. His vision of winning a State title was predicated not on his talent, but his grit. It was his desire, his singlemindedness, his devotion to the task that kept him in the race. He was the one running 75-mile weeks, darn it. Now was the moment of truth.