Brace Yourself: the Story of Xan Guthrie

Brace Yourself: the Story of Xan Guthrie

Alexander “Xan” Guthrie has become quite the name in the halls of Carterville High School, but not many know who he really is. Some may know him from the brace that adorns his right knee, others from his towering 6’7” stature. Guthrie came from a military family, moving for a chunk of his childhood. However, this did not stop him from a growing devotion to sports. From a young age, Guthrie became interested in both baseball and basketball.

Baseball had been with Guthrie from a very early age, but basketball came in later during middle school. “I wasn’t really interested in basketball but it kind of turned into my life. I [eventually] liked it more than baseball,” Guthrie recalls. The biggest reason he became entranced with the sport was because of his older brother. While living in Japan, Guthrie watched his brother and his friends play, and, as soon as they moved back to the United States, he could not have joined fast enough.

Despite this, baseball still played a huge role in Guthrie’s life. The bond with his father grew as he did. “My dad was always my coach, he kind of pushed me to [play] sports and [make friends] with people in sports,” said Guthrie.

From an early age, sports were always with Xan Guthrie, but everything fell apart during the first mandatory practice of basketball season his freshman year at Pittsfield High School in Pittsfield, IL. 

Guthrie had always had a few problems with his right knee and wore a thin knee sleeve to try and combat those troubles. However, for this particular practice he just so happened to forget it at home. No big deal, he thought, it is just one practice without it, but it was a big deal.

“On the very first sprint of the day, it happened,”

— Xan Guthrie, on his knee injury


“I hurt my right kneecap, [it was] dislocated and fractured in three different places.” That year was athletics-free for Guthrie: no basketball or baseball, just physical therapy. Though Guthrie tried to stay positive through the physical therapy process, it was tough.

“It was a lot of not liking my physical therapist,” Guthrie said, “I had to run on a treadmill a lot.”

Just after his freshman year ended at Pittsfield, Guthrie moved to where he now calls home, Carterville. Moving here was a “fresh start” as Guthrie put it. The injury did not impact sports here as much as he thought, it did however impact his personal and emotional life. “It shocked my confidence. I was not very confident in myself coming here my sophomore year. But I think the people here, my friends and teammates,  really helped build that back up,” said Guthrie. 

Friends like fellow senior Hunter Ridgeway helped Guthrie navigate through the foreign surroundings. Both Ridgeway and Guthrie were new kids to Carterville High School coming into the 2021-22 school year, “we kind of had that new kid relationship” Guthrie said. When entering sports, Guthrie made good friends with other fellow seniors Josh Waller and Brandon Skelcher. Guthrie enjoyed the company of “guys who could keep it real” and Waller fit his criteria. Guthrie described Skelcher as “a great leader for the team [this year]” and said he really helped him see the “life part of basketball.”

Not only were his teammates and friends supportive but so was his beloved older brother. “He was around for the physical therapy every time,” Guthrie remembers. His older brother was the reason his family made the move to Carterville. He attends nearby SIU and will be graduating this spring. 

As high school sports began again for Guthrie, this time as a Lion, he recalls not getting as much playing time as he had hoped. However, he was not angry with his role on the team by any means. “I was always the guy that helped everyone. I was kind of the guy that cut the bad out of them,” said Guthrie. Over the three years Guthrie played, the Carterville basketball team went on to win a Regional title and two conference titles.

Guthrie’s injury helped him to who he is as a person and an athlete. He knew his knee would never be “at 100% ever again” but still made the most of what he could. Pushing through adversity made being a better teammate and person easier for Guthrie. Carterville sports also allowed Guthrie to thrive in a competitive athletic environment, push himself to a better performances, and help him push his teammates.

Guthrie has begun his very last high school baseball and athletic season as a Carterville athlete. If you wish to keep up with Xan’s story as well as the Carterville Lions baseball team’s season follow @cartervilleath on Instagram and Twitter for regular updates.

About the Contributor
Regan Eigenrauch
Regan Eigenrauch, Sports Reporter
Regan Eigenrauch is a senior at Carterville High School. When she gets older she wants to become a special education teacher and move to Texas. Regan enjoys taking pictures and currently serves as the Media Editor for the CHS Sport Reporting Class.