Roman Drabchuk and Charlie Nodus have been running together since the seventh grade at Gower Middle School in Burr Ridge.
They could have started earlier, but Nodus chose to play soccer over cross country in sixth grade.
Now that they are juniors, they’re among Hinsdale South’s top cross country runners. Drabchuk and Nodus also have become very good friends, regularly going mountain biking at Pulaski Woods Grove near the I&M Canal and attending monthly Boys Scouts meetings at Gower.
You might say they are two of a kind.
“We look similar and run together,” Nodus said. “Even our teachers can’t tell us apart. We are both tall and blond.”
Their cross country careers started at Gower and that’s how they became fast friends.
“At Gower, I used to be faster, but now because of his training, we’ve pretty much evened out,” Drabchuk said.
Drabchuk was Hinsdale South’s No. 1 runner in two of its last three invites. He was 66th (15:49.8) Saturday at the Spring Invitational in Peoria. Nodus placed 76th (15:52.9) out of a field of nearly 500 runners and 63 teams. The Hornets finished 30th (847 points).
Hornets coach Jim Dickerson confessed that his instructions may have contributed to Drabchuk and Nodus having a poor start in Peoria.
“I told them, ‘Be careful going out too fast,’ ” Dickerson said.
Their pace was too slow and they dropped to the middle of the field before mounting a second-half comeback.
In the Reavis Invitational Sept. 13, Nodus beat Drabchuck as the Hornets (77) placed runner-up.
“Running with Roman definitely helps both of us,” Nodus, who lives in Burr Ridge, said. “We hold each other accountable. We do not chicken out or not go out hard. We stay with each other.”
On Sunday morning, they worked as volunteers for the Komen Race for the Cure at Yorktown Center in Lombard. Drabchuk, who lives in Willowbrook, and Nodus represented Hinsdale South’s Key Club. Since they are running this season, Drabchuk and Nodus were not permitted to compete, but handed out water and supplies and cheered on the participants.
“We fit in together,” Drabchuk said of Nodus. “We have the same goals and visions in life.”
With Hinsdale South competing in Class 2A this postseason, Dickerson believes the team is deep enough to qualify for state, led by Drabchuk and Nodus at the top.
“This year, we’ll be good. I’m looking forward to next year, but you never want to have a throw-away year,” Dickerson said. “We should have a good path to state.”