THEY finished one-two in their division of the Bendigo Bank Dragon Mile, now Luke Padgham and Ben Powell are putting rivalry aside and joining forces to run for state pride.
The Bendigo middle distance runners will race for Victoria this weekend at the Australian Little Athletics Championships.
They are among just 11 boys and 11 girls chosen in an under-13 squad to compete for the Trevor Billingham Trophy, presented to the state that wins the teams competition overall.
Padgham will contest the 1500m and 1500m racewalk, for which he has sought expert coaching as it is not one of his specialist events.
His training partner and mate Powell will be in action in the 400m and 800m.
The boys starred on the track over summer. Padgham represented Team Vic at the School Sport Australia 12-years-and-under athletics carnival in Brisbane late last year and won two bronze medals in distance events at the little athletics state titles in March.
Both boys broke the under-13 400m record at Bendigo little athletics this year, but Powell holds the honour after crossing the finish line first.
He claimed silver in the 800m and bronze in the 400m at the state little aths championships.
Padgham and Powell said they were excited about representing Victoria and aiming to achieve personal best performances.
“I’m also hoping Victoria will win,” said Padgham.
Powell said the team had even prepared a chant for when they marched into Lakeside Stadium.
The championships involves four days of formalities, starting on Thursday, with a full day of competition in Albert Park on Saturday.