South Western sprinters Drew Hartlaub and DeLunche Shaw discuss competing against each other in the 100-meter dash. Matt Allibone
South Western junior DeLunche Shaw might be the reigning York-Adams 100-meter dash champion, but he isn't even the fastest runner on his own team this spring.
That's because the Mustangs have Drew Hartlaub.
A senior sprinter who's headed to Penn State as a preferred walk-on for football next season, Hartlaub missed last season's YAIAA championships with a hamstring injury before returning for the District 3 championships. He beat Shaw to reach the medal stand, something he still occasionally needles his teammate about.
"I got him back," Hartlaub said with a smile. "We go back-and-forth all the time."
Hartlaub has continued to top Shaw this spring, taking first-place in 100 in South Western's first two dual meets. But Shaw isn't angry or frustrated with coming in second to someone as fast as Hartlaub.
In fact, he welcomes the challenge.
"It's kind of awesome, because he keeps pushing me," Shaw said. "I want somebody I can compete with. I try to beat him all the time."
Shaw moved to Hanover from Baltimore before his sophomore year. Confident in his own speed, he thought there was a good chance he'd be the fastest player on his new football and track teams. But that mindset changed the first time he saw Hartlaub run.
While a torn ACL ended Hartlaub's junior football season after one game, the Penn State commit was healthy enough to run track last season. It was then that the competition between the two began. Although Hartlaub was the team's top sprinter all season, Shaw surprised many around the league when he entered the league championships with the ninth-best qualifying time in the 100 and captured gold with a time of 11.08.
The friendly rivalry continued into this past football season, when the two competed for touches in South Western's crowded backfield. While that wasn't easy for either of them, both said it didn't hurt their relationship.
"We're best friends," Shaw said. "I've never had somebody that was going to Penn State on my team. I'm really happy for him."
Added Hartlaub: "He's fun to be around, he brings a positive attitude, and he always wants to work really hard. So he's good to have around."
Hartlaub credited Shaw with giving him added motivation heading into his final track season. The senior is determined to be in top physical condition when he reports to Penn State this summer, and practicing with Shaw has prevented him from taking days off.
It's also helped his time in the 100 improve. Hartlaub ran an impressive 10.8 seconds in the team's opening meet win against Spring Grove, a time that could make him a contender at districts if he maintains it. Muhlenberg's Najee Smith won the event in Class 3A last season with a time of 10.93.
"I always have somebody to compete against, so it's not like I can take a day off, which will help me in the long run in college," Hartlaub said. "Dee's always been really fast and talented, to compete against somebody like that makes you want to work harder."
While the two will have to compete against each other for many of their individual goals this season — namely qualifying for states — they aren't always rivals. Both of them run in South Western's 400 relay, and Shaw also competes in the 200-meter dash.
Still, the two actually enjoy it more when they're going against each other. According to them, that's when they're at their best.
"I don't want to be the main guy yet, I want somebody I can compete with," Shaw said. "He's taught me stuff, like block starts, and when to push to full-speed and stuff."