PARKERSBURG - Tyler Cantley was concerned.
Although he was going for an historic sixth consecutive victory in the News and Sentinel Two-Mile Race on Saturday morning, he had only got to train for his historic attempt for a week.
Rather than concentrating on his running and fitness, he was more concerned about getting his degree from Ohio University.
Now that Saturday's race is over, both missions have been accomplished.
Not only does Cantley hold a degree in exercise physiology, but he also is the six-time winner of the 2-Miler.
On a cool morning, Cantley started out slow, letting others set the pace. Once he saw what was taking place ahead of him, he assumed the lead "to keep the pace honest.'' It turned out nobody else could keep up with that pace. Cantley finished in a time of 9 minutes and 56.6 seconds, winning by a margin of 12 seconds over a game runner-up in 17-year-old Kody Thomas of Racine, Ohio. Another teenager, 16-year-old Matthew Bradford of Charleston, was just two seconds behind Thomas in 10:10.
Cantley tied the record of Jason Linton, who had won the previous six Two Mile Races before Cantley began dominating the event. Both Linton and Cantley have taken the same path through life, graduating from both Warren High School and Ohio U.
"I was a little nervous,'' Cantley admitted. "I wasn't sure what shape I was in.''
But Cantley was determined, and when Tyler Cantley is determined, the rest of the field is in trouble.
"This past week the people around Warren have been talking to me about the race. They've supported me throughout my career and I didn't want to let them down," said a somewhat relieved Cantley following his win.
Cantley was pleased with his time. Obviously, had he been in better shape he could have knocked some seconds off of it, but for just one week of training, he will take it.
"I'm pretty happy,'' he said.
Cantley ran alone on Saturday. He didn't have an Ohio teammate to help him with his pace and his younger brother, Greyson, who runs for Warren, was nursing an injury and was unable to participate.
As for future plans, Cantley is in the market for a job. He's networking with some therapy clinics and hopes to be employed soon.
He does have one other future event on his agenda.
He wants to break Linton's record and become the first seven-time champion of the Two Mile Race.
Asked about next year's race, Cantley stole a line from Arnold Schwarznegger.
"I'll be back,'' he said.