(WGEM) -- It all started during the 2016 cross country season when Nathan Frazee was a Clark County newcomer and made a name for himself as the fastest freshman in Northeast Missouri.
Mark Twain's Devin Neff, a junior then, took notice.
"Never seen the kid before," Neff said.
"But he came out and beat me. That put some heart into me and told me that I need to go out and start competing harder."
That's how the rivalry began because Neff watched a freshman cross the finish line first.
He knew he had to do better.
"(Frazee) brings me to a new mindset. I have to go out there and I have to push the extra mile. I have to go harder and harder," Neff added.
"He's a great runner, so I just have to go out there and give it my all."
Frazee and Neff continued to dual in cross country and would carry that competitive nature over to the track, racing each other in the mile and two mile events.
"We pace off each other a lot," Frazee said.
"Either I get ahead a little bit, or he does, or we run side by side. We're just always right there."
According to Neff, "This year it's been (Frazee) in the two-mile and me in the mile. But it goes back and forth usually."
But what started as a rivalry turned into a friendship, one that brings the best out of the two distance runners each race.
"It really helps you improve when you have a pretty slack meet," Frazee explained.
"You always have that one person to help you better your time."