Tyler GuthrieGRANITE CITY - The early part of the season for Father McGivney Catholic cross country runner Tyler Guthrie has been one of making adjustments to the COVID-19 conditions, and he's been making the adjustments successfully thus far.

Guthrie's time of 15:47.29 was good for fourth place overall in the Granite City Invitational Sept. 5 at Wilson Park, and it's been one of his fastest times thus far in the early season. Guthrie felt that he was ready to go for the race. Guthrie is the September Riverbender.com/Father McGivney Catholic Male Athlete of the Month.

"Well today, I felt warmed up," Guthrie said during a post-race interview, "I felt ready for the race. It was just that mentally, still, we're still in the beginning of the season, so my times weren't exactly where I wanted to go for. Overall, I was expecting to get first place, but due to just the whole change about the manner of my routine, and with this whole mask policy and everything still, I'm still trying to get used to it. That's what I believe is keeping me down in this little set, where I'm really getting where I need to be."

For his win at Granite City, and his accomplishments as a cross country runner, Guthrie has been named the school's Riverbender.com Male Athlete of the Month for September, 2020.

The situations are indeed disrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Guthrie, who runs for head coach Jim Helton, feels he's making the adjustments as needed very well.

"At this point, right now, I think I'm starting to get used to them," Guthrie said. "As I can see from my last time I ran at the meet from Alhambra, my times weren't so well. But this time, I actually did a little bit better, about 15 or 20 seconds faster. So it just shows that I was trying to get back into it again, and this whole COVID situation is kind of hard for everyone, so I'm trying to see the bright side in all of this, trying to stay positive in everything, because I shouldn't let that affect me, and the best thing I can do is to stick up and not make excuses."

As with everyone, Guthrie is very grateful that the season has begun, but he also knows that the season could be undone and cancelled at any time, due to changing circumstances.

"Yeah, it really is," Guthrie said, "because at this point, we don't really know if we're going to have another meet, just because things could change with the whole COVID situation. This could be our last meet; I'm hoping not. But we had scheduled about eight other or six other meets, and I'm trying to get the (personal records) before I go off to college, because I want those coaches to really see my time, my personal record times. But yeah, I'm really grateful that the season's still going on about, and we're still running together, because I don't want to go out and miss a season like we did in our last track season."

That the entire track and spring sports seasons were cancelled by the Illinois High School Association because of the pandemic did hurt many athletes in the long run. But Guthrie is determined to keep on going and impress college coaches and recruiters with his times this fall.

"Yes sir, yes sir," Guthrie said. "That's what I plan to do. And I aim to please," he said with a smile and laugh.

Guthrie will continue to get back into a routine, and he's also planning on helping out his Griffin teammates on getting back into the said routine as well.

"I'm just trying to get back into it, as I said," Guthrie said. "I'm just trying to get our team motivated, because it seems like everyone on our team is still trying to get into it, too. And the best we can do is try to talk to each other, try to keep ourselves up, and try to compete with other people. And that's what I've seen for myself, and that's what everybody's starting to see, too."

Guthrie has developed into one of the area's top distance runners as well. He's been running cross country since seventh grade, and set a personal record during a virtual track meet last year with a 4:29 in the 1,600 meters. Guthrie qualified for the IHSA Class 1A State Meet in his sophomore year in 2018, and last year, finished 15th at state with a time of 15:20, earning him all-state honors. He was also named to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro second team, and the Madison County All-Decade team for the 2010s.

Guthrie thanked both his coach and parents for his success in cross country.

"I'd like to thank my coach for believing in me, and always pushing me to be better," Guthrie said. "Thanks to my parents for always being there for me, and supporting me to be the best I can be."

Guthrie's focus on both physical fitness and nutrition has helped him in sports, and being involved has helped him very positively.

"My high school career, along with sports, have made me very disciplined and focused on self-improvement, both physically and mentally," Guthrie said. "I feel that I am up for any challenge, and look forward to growing in the next phase of my life."

Guthrie is planning on running in college, and is currently looking at schools in the southeastern portion of the country. He plans on majoring in physical therapy, and may pursue his doctorate in it. He's also a very successful student, making the school's high honor roll numerous times, and also recently became of member of McGivney's chapter of the National Honor Society.

Guthrie is also on the Griffins' track team, specializing in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter races and is also a member of the 4x800-meter relay team. His hobbies include fishing and spending time outdoors, and hopes to attend a school in a coastal region, where he could pursue scuba diving and fishing in the ocean.

Riverbender.com's Athlete of the Month program is made possible by the generosity of our sponsors, and the cooperation of our area high schools. This is a great accomplishment, and one to be very proud of. Please join us in congratulating this young athlete. We at Riverbender.com wish you continued success in your future!

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