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Tom Mix, Published September 08 2013

Shanley's twin cross country duo running in sync

Fargo - Whether they are cruising along a running path or researching debate topics, Fargo Shanley seniors Tom and Seb Startz never cut corners.

The twin 17-year-old brothers make sure to account for everything no matter what activity they are competing in.

During the fall months, the Startz brothers focus their efforts on running cross country for Shanley-Fargo Oak Grove.

“They are natural runners,” Shanley-Oak Grove head coach Jaclyn Petik said of the Startz twins. “They don’t take short cuts in anything they do. They give their best effort in every activity they participate in and that’s special. Their work ethic and persistence has really made them what they are.”

Seb and Tom each earned all-state honors at last season’s state meet. Seb placed second with a time of 16 minutes, 3 seconds and Tom finished 12th overall at 16:34.

A big reason for their success is that neither brother ever has the excuse of not going for a run because they don’t have a training partner.

“It makes it a lot easier,” Tom said. “I always have someone to push me and motivate me. We enjoy running together.”

The pair also run track together in the spring and during the winter both compete of the Deacons’ speech and debate squad.

“We get along very well as evidenced in all the activities we participate in together,” Seb said. “We always have the mutual goal in mind. We reinforce that goal in each other’s mind and try to push each other towards that goal.”

Tom and Seb’s biggest collaboration came last spring when their public policy debate team won first place at the International Public Policy Forum finals in New York.

Weekly 10-page papers and countless hours of research were poured into that effort, similar to the pair’s training routine for cross country.

“Cross country is an endurance sport and I think Seb and I both have a tendency to enjoy endurance activities,” Tom said. “It is a sport for the mind as well.”

Seb entered the season ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls based off of his finish a year ago and is currently ranked No. 6. He finished third at Saturday’s West Fargo Invite with a time of 17:02. Tom finished eighth at 17:28.

“We have to keep working hard,” Seb said. “The Shanley-Oak Grove team has a strong mentality to it. We do a different training method then most teams. We don’t usually put in a lot of summer miles. Instead we increase the intensity in the middle of the season.

“I think the most important thing for us to do now is not get disheartened by some of the results and remember that we always strive to have our best races at the end of the season.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562