Sporting two of the top runners in the state, the La Crescent boys cross country team will contend for a state title this weekend.
The Lancers are back for a third year in a row looking to improve on a sixth-place finish last year.
Senior Zack Emery is the defending state champion in Class A, but has been pushed all season by teammate junior Matt Steiger.
They went 1-2 at the Section 1A meet last week and have been in stride all season long.
"He gave me a lot of goals. I always see him, he always put out these really nice times. I was like, 'okay, I can do that myself.' That really helped me," said Steiger.
"We've both stepped up a lot and it's nice. He pushes me during practice, I push him, like he said. Out on runs, even in races, it's nice to have someone that you know and friends with right next to you," said Emery.
"Zack's a little bit better in the hills, a little bit better strength-wise, where Matt has a little bit more leg speed. It's been a real good compliment for the two of them and just to have someone to train with everyday is important," said La Crescent head coach Mark Abraham.
The Lancers will run at 10 AM Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.