Augusta Prep senior Ben Guthrie faced some pretty stiff competition at the Cavaliers’ home track meet April 27 – himself.
Augusta Christian’s Grant Newman, the defending South Carolina Independent School Association state long jump champion, was competing, but Guthrie turned his focus inward.
“These past few years I’ve just really tried to get everyone else out of my mind and just sort of compete against myself,” he said.
Guthrie beat Newman in the long jump, leaping 20’7” 3/4, breaking the school record of 20’3” 3/4, which has been one of his goals since joining the Cavaliers’ track team. Urgency might be a factor in his achievement.
“Every year it’s been like, ‘Ben you’ve got one more year, two more years, whatever,’ and you can’t say that anymore There’s no more years left. There’s a couple of records left to break.”
Guthrie was second to Newman in the triple jump but almost pulled off a records sweep, tying the school mark of 42’1”.
For track head coach Tom Holodak, Guthrie is more than just a standout jumper, hurdler and relay runner. Last year, Guthrie was fourth in the Georgia Independent Schools Association in long jump and third in the 300 hurdles.
“He’s one of our leaders by example, the way he gets everybody going on a daily basis at practice,” said Holodak. “He’s my only returning junior from last year. I’ve got one senior boy, Michael Lopez, who’s never run before this year, and so I think all the boys look up to Ben for guidance. He’s almost like an assistant coach out there for me.”
Track is not the only sport in which Guthrie excels. He was a GISA All-Region performer in basketball, averaging 7.4 points, 3.1 assists and 3.0 steals per game from his point guard position. His father coaches the boys basketball team, and they had a tendency to butt heads at times.
“The past few years I just got really frustrated and flustered in games, and it just didn’t turn out well,” said Guthrie, adding that he thinks he and his father are a lot alike. “This year was a lot better. I think I just didn’t mess up as much. I think that’s what it was, honestly. I was just a lot more confident in my basketball ability.”
While he applied late and didn’t get into his first-choice schools, Georgia Tech or the University of Georgia, Guthrie still has a number of options, including Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Johns Hopkins and BYU.
“RPI and Johns Hopkins, I could run track at both of them BYU would be a little harder. ... Maybe if I add 10 feet to my triple jump.”
Heading west is something Guthrie is still considering.
“BYU is a really good school,” he said. “The connections you can make there with other Mormons around the world are just crazy.”