Johnnie Guy is just a freshman, but he’s already managed to get himself on an exclusive list at USI — that of all-American in track and field (he’s the 13th male in school history to earn the honor). When he transferred to USI from Purdue last fall, coach Mike Hillyard was excited about the addition, and Guy has proven him right. Finishing seventh in the 10,000-meter run at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Nationals on Thursday night was impressive enough (the top eight finishers are named all-Americans). But the fact that Guy not only did it as a freshman but also in his first race at altitude (Pueblo, Colo., where the nationals are taking place, is 4,700 feet above sea level) makes his feat even more remarkable.
I figured if he finished among the top 20 it would be a triumph and something to build on over the next three years. He came in with the 12th-fastest time in D-II, at 29 minutes, 40.81 seconds. The North Harrison High School graduate finished in 30:50.97, which, again, is pretty amazing considering the race was at altitude and he’s a flatlander from Southern Indiana.
But he’s not finished. On Saturday night he’ll compete in the men’s 5,000 meters, starting at 9:30 CDT. He comes into that race with the 18th-fastest time, at 14:17.48. If Guy earns all-American honors in that race, who knows where he’ll end up by the time he’s a senior. National champion, maybe. Or perhaps national champion times two or three.