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Griffith 2nd in PIAA cross country

Butler’s Drew Griffith placed second in the PIAA Class 3A Boys cross country race Saturday in Hershey. 11/07/2022
Butler junior takes boys 3A runner-up spot for 2nd consecutive year

HERSHEY — Drew Griffith’s time was 23 seconds faster than last year. But his result was the same.

The Butler junior placed second in the Class 3A Boys division of the PIAA Cross Country Championships Saturday in Hershey. His time of 15 minutes, 35.2 seconds was 11 seconds behind champion Brian DiCola of Hatboro Horsham. DiCola, a senior, completed the 3.1-mile race in 15:24.2. That broke the previous course record set by Mt. Lebanon’s Patrick Anderson in 2019.

Saturday marked the only cross country race all season Griffith didn’t win.

“I’m still pretty happy with my season,” Griffith said. “I’m just disappointed that I didn’t win the race that really mattered.”

Griffith finished second to Butler teammate CJ Singleton at last year’s PIAA meet, running a 15:58.20. Singleton’s winning time was 15:52.90 a year ago.

“Drew ran a very good race Saturday,” Butler coach Rick Davanzati said. “He lost to the only kid that could have beaten him. Drew had a good strategy in trying to beat a kid who had more foot-speed than him.

“He (Griffith) led for most of the race. He slowed up a time or two, trying to let DiCola get in front of him, but DiCola never took the lead. He had a strategy of his own.”

Griffith led the race for 2.75 miles, but DiCola stayed seconds behind him. The pair crested a hill before the final 300 meters, which is when DiCola sprinted past him to win the race.

“He had more in the tank at the end,” Griffith said. “He had a stronger finish that I did. I didn’t have enough to match him during that final sprint.

North Allegheny’s Jack Bertram placed third with a time of 16:10. North Allegheny won the Class 3A Boys team title with 85 points, beating out LaSalle College’s 161.

“I’m proud of the season Drew put together,” Davanzati said. “He set a goal to win this thing last summer and worked hard all through the summer and fall to get here.”

“This definitely fuels my fire for next year,” Griffith said of the consecutive runner-up finishes. “I have to wait 365 days for another shot, but I’ll keep working.”

Griffith plans to compete in the Northeast Regional in New York City on Nov. 27. The top 10 from there advance to the Champs Nationals on Dec. 10 in San Diego.

Golden Tornado junior Ava Brewster placed 47th in the Class 3A Girls race with a time of 20:33.6. She wa the 12th WPIAL finisher in the race, an improvement of six places from last week’s WPIAL meet.

North Catholic’s Julia Zalenski placed 22nd in the Class 2A Girls race with a time of 16:17.5. Grove City’s boys won the Class 2A team title with 77 points. Runner-up Danville had 128.

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