The Guys love coach Hillyard

Johnnie and Josh Guy are sophomore brothers — fraternal twins, actually, who look almost identical — on the USI men’s cross country team coached by Mike Hillyard. He’s trained many a cross country and track all-American, and half the Guys — Johnnie — already has two such honors from last spring’s NCAA Division II outdoor track nationals. In my story I just posted online here, Hillyard thinks the Guys are going to contribute mightily to USI’s cross country success this season.

They already believe he’s contributed to their past and, especially, future success.

“He knows what workouts to do and what time of year to do them,” said Johnnie. “He’s pretty good at listening to how you feel. He’s really good at listening to your input. He’s really good about giving you advice. He’s helped me with race strategy a lot. He was really great in helping me (cope with) the altitude in Colorado (at the track nationals last spring).”

“He’s really good getting to know people on a personal level,” said Josh. “He cares about every runner whether you’re a conference or national favorite or the conference meet will be your last race of the season. He’s very optimistic. He tells you you can run a certain time.”

“And you start to believe,” said Johnnie, who said Josh’s being at USI was a big reason why he transferred from Purdue in the middle of the last school year. “I talked to him on the phone a lot. He let me know what the program was like, what coach Hillyard was like and how great everything is here.”

Both had visited USI together when they were still in high school, at North Harrison in Crawford County in Southeastern Indiana. Josh decided to attend USI while Johnnie thought Purdue would be a better fit. But he changed his mind once he got up to West Lafayette.

Johnnie thinks the Eagles are national caliber this year.

“I think we definitely have a shot at the podium at nationals,” he said, referring to a top-three finish. “Our team is probably deeper than it’s ever been. There will be a lot of competition for the top seven spots (on the team) at nationals. I think everybody is ready for the challenge.”

“I think our pack will be pretty close together — there should be a pack of Eagles running together,” said Josh. “As long as everybody can stay healthy and take care of their bodies, we should be in good shape.”

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