Brookville's Guthrie wrestles like Gumby
Lynchburg News & Advance
Thursday, March 6, 2008


At first glance, Brookville senior Ronnie Guthrie looks more like a cross country
runner than a wrestler, with his sinewy frame and clean-cut image.

But looks can be deceiving, as is the case with the Region III 140-pound champion, one
of the Bees' eight qualifiers for today's and Saturday's Group AA state championships
at the Salem Civic Center.

"He's really tough," said practice partner Tony Goodman, who earned a berth at 152
pounds. "He's like a noodle."

"A wet noodle," added 119-pound qualifier Kyle Broda.

Guthrie's elusiveness as a wrestler is rivaled only by the firmness of his grip.

"He has like Gumby powers," said Zeb Stewart, a 125-pound state qualifier.

"He's a very, very weird wrestler," Goodman added. "He's very flexible. He's not strong
at all (but) he's really good around the legs. When he puts legs on me, I can't get
out."

"He's got a little bit of strength from conditioning," Stewart countered. "It's not
like he can pick you up and slam you, but he'll catch you and find leverage."

Guthrie started wrestling in kindergarten, when he lived in Northern Virginia, and
joined the Bee Club in middle school when his family moved to Lynchburg.

"One of my brothers, Kyle Fritz, used to wrestle (at Park View High School in Sterling)
and I've followed in his footsteps," said Guthrie, who has specialized in the sport.

"He's a wrestler and he's a mat rag," added Brookville coach Don Shuler.

Guthrie has made consistent strides in the sport in the four years Shuler has worked
with him, improving the most recently in wrestling on his feet in the neutral position.
He has emerged as one of the most reliable to get a win or a pin when the Bees need it
the most.

"He's got a lot of knowledge and he's a good all-around wrestler," Shuler said. "He's
gotten much better and tougher and in better shape. He goes out and is aggressive when
he needs to be (and) he takes advantage of other peoples' mistakes. He's going to go
out and give 100 percent every time and he has maturity. He knows what to do."

Guthrie will complete his career with his third consecutive trip to Salem, where he
intends to place higher than last year, when he was sixth at 140.

"I'm going to try my hardest this weekend," said Guthrie, who's 30-6 on the season.
"I'm wrestling at the same weight as last year so I should improve. I'm hoping to place
top-four in the state."

If he can win two matches today, against Joey Cavanaugh in the first round and the
winner of Hidden Valley's David Williams and Heritage's Jimmy Jurado in the second,
Guthrie might face Chancellor's Sam MacGregor in Saturday's semifinals in what would be
a rematch of one of his only setbacks.

No matter who he wrestles, Guthrie won't back down from the challenge, and could
surprise his opponent by catching him off guard in the closing seconds.

"I like winning the match when it comes down to the very end," Guthrie said. "Usually,
at the end of the season, I do my best."

Guthrie started the year ranked third in Group AA at 152 pounds before cutting down to
145 then again to 140. Goodman and 145-pounder Nathan Shuler did the same thing.

"(Goodman) was at 171 and Nathan was at 160, so everybody's cutting down," Guthrie
said.

Like Goodman, who plans to walk onto the wrestling team, and heavyweight Ryan Jackson,
the defending state champion who will play football, Guthrie will attend Liberty
University next fall, only with no plans to compete as an athlete.

Guthrie lives by a quote, posted on the window to Brookville's wrestling room, from Dan
Gable, one of the United States' greatest wrestlers of all time.

"It's a motto most of us go by: 'Once you've wrestled, everything else in life is
easy,'" said Guthrie, who who plans to study aviation or criminal justice at LU. "I
believe that. It's a mentally tough sport. It gives you a lot of self discipline and
gets you in shape."