Better Together: 2 champion speed skaters in Norman push each other to go faster

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NORMAN, OKLAHOMA -- Skaters to your marks, two friends in this case.

Ashton Hale and Liam Twyford.

Get set.

Both are long time roller skaters.

Their Dads were youth speed skaters.

Neither is familiar with the term 'rink rat' even though that's what they are.

"I'm not a rat," insists Ashton. "I'm the mouse," says Liam.

Ashton and Liam practice at the Star Skate Rink as many as three times a week in Norman.

They push each other, skate against one another.

Ashton might be a little faster, but Liam is the quick starter.

"No. It's him," Liam points.

The clock doesn't matter nearly as much as who crosses the finish line first.

"There is a clock," says Ashton. "I just don't pay attention to it."

Last month they both went to the USA Roller Sports National Championships in Nebraska.

Ashton won his second consecutive individual championship.

Together they won the two-man relay in dramatic fashion.

Liam's dad Kenneth Twyford recalls, "He passed with one lap to go for first place."

Their win was even more dramatic because Liam considered backing out of the race entirely.

It was a grandmother's pep talk that made the difference.

"His grandma talked me into it," admits the younger Twyford.

Short track speed skating isn't roller derby.

You can't grab or trip.

Boys like Ashton win because they can think and react quickly.

Ashton's dad Chris Hale says, "His feet are moving as fast as they can and he's swinging his arms but his head is working even faster I think."

And because they have someone chasing them all the time, right behind or just in front, both making the other faster than anyone else.

The Star Skate speed skating team took home for medals at the USARS Nationals in July.

Liam's dad, Kenneth Twyford, won a silver medal in the Masters Division.

For more information about other programs at Star Skate in Norman go to

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