Butler’s Griffith gets Gatorade award
BUTLER TWP — Just when Drew Griffith thought his 2022 running season was over, he received his greatest accolade yet.
The Butler junior has been named the Gatorade Pennsylvania Cross Country Athlete of the Year. He becomes the second Butler athlete in three years to receive a Gatorade state honor. Ethan Morton received the honor in boys basketball in 2020.
“Ethan is starting for the No. 1 ranked college basketball team in the country right now,” Butler athletic director Bill Mylan said. “Drew is headed toward a similarly successful career as a Division 1 runner when he gets there.
“Those two aren’t only great athletes. They are great people. They have high academics and are involved in their community. They represent Butler extremely well.”
Griffith won the WPIAL cross country title last fall, then finished second to Brian DiCola of Hatboro Horsham in the PIAA race. Griffith went on to win the Northeast Region and place eighth at the national meet, earning second team All-America honors.
Tack on a runner-up finish to Butler teammate C.J. Singleton in the 3,200 meters at the WPIAL Track and Field Championships and fourth-place finish at the PIAA meet in the 3,200 last spring.
“Just having my name linked with Ethan Morton is incredible to me,” Griffith said. “The magnitude of this award has hit me a little, but it hasn’t totally sunk in yet.
“This is the icing on the cake for my 2022 season.”
Butler cross country coach Rick Davanzati emphasized that the Gatorade award also takes into account academic standing and community work. Griffith carries a 4.1 grade point average and helps out with Butler’s Backpack program for needy children in the community.
He hopes to study either aerospace engineering or computer science in college. But he’s got work to do at the high school level yet.
“Being part of the team (track and field) championship at the state meet last spring was a lot of fun,” Griffith said. “But coming so close to individual titles in track and cross country last year have made me focus on winning at states this year. It’s time to get that done.”
Davanzati said Griffith more than made up for the loss to DiCola at the PIAA Cross Country Championship.
“Drew ran past him in their two races after that, the regional and national,” the coach said. “Drew’s loss at the PIAA cross country meet was the only blemish on his (cross country) resume’ last season. He won everything else.
“(Patrick) Anderson of Mt. Lebanon won the Gatorade state cross country award in 2019 and 2020. Now Drew has a chance to win it again. I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens.”
Gary Martin of Archbishop Wood won the Gatorade Pa. cross country award last year.
“None of this happens without my teammates and Coach Davanzati,” Griffith said. “Just being part of that program makes you want to push to be the best.”
Mylan pointed to the achievement of Butler having two Gatorade state award winners in three years.
“It speaks well for the talent in our athletic program and the quality of what we’re doing in athletics at this school,” he said.