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Griffith headlines impressive Butler Invite

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Butler’s Drew Griffith crosses the finish line in first in the Ed Hartman Memorial Mile run at the Butler Track and Field Invitational at Art Bernardi Stadium on Friday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle

BUTLER TWP — As an athlete and coach, Mike Seybert has seen just about everything when it comes to track and field. Friday afternoon, however, offered him a first.

Seybert, head coach of Butler's boys, was standing on the 50-yard line at Art Bernardi Stadium, cheering on senior Drew Griffith as he attempted to run a sub-four minute mile as part of the 59th Annual Butler Invitational.

The latter was on pace to do so and as he came down the front straightaway, the crowd erupted.

"I've been coming here for 39 years and I've never heard the crowd get that loud," said Seybert. "Drew wasn't going to get short-changed today. Everybody here was pulling for him."

Griffith just missed out on his goal, finishing in four minutes, .77 seconds. The race, dubbed the Ed Hartman Memorial Mile, in honor of the late star athlete and 1979 Butler graduate, was run as part of the Invite's 1,600-meter run. Griffith took first place in that event at 3:59.80, the best time in the country this season according to MileSplit.com. Less than a second later, he crossed the finish line for the mile.

"There's that part of me that thinks, man, just seven-tenths of a second or whatever it was ... I mean it's like the snap of a finger, that quick. But I can't over analyze it. I'm super-happy with my time."

The 1,600 time broke the previous Invite record of 4:12.58 set by Butler's Noah Beveridge in 2018 and also snapped Butler's school record of 4:06.07, achieved by C.J. Singleton in 2022.

Singleton was on hand to lend his support. He currently is attending and competing at Notre Dame and will soon be joined by Griffith, who won Track MVP on Friday.

"It was special having him here, somebody I'll be running with the next couple of years," said Griffith. "He mentored me my first year and helped me a lot."

Also winning for Butler were two relays. The 4x100 quartet of Logan Ekas, Landon Lacey, David Graef and Kevin Shriver finished in 42.60, over a full second ahead of second-place McKeesport. In the very last heat of the meet, Griffin Bauer, Aaron Stebick, Graef and Landon Lacey won the 4x400 relay in 3:22.61. The efforts helped Butler win the team title with 55½ points. Norwin was second with 45.

Slippery Rock's Levi Prementine knows the thrill of winning a state championship — twice. Last May, he earned PIAA Class 2A gold in the long jump and 300 hurdles.

Now a senior, he is hoping to make a run at the same distinction in the 110 hurdles. His performance Friday indicates he's got a legitimate shot.

Prementine won with a time of 14.80 seconds, one-hundredth of a second faster than runner-up Davin Gartley of Quaker Valley.

"It means a lot to win here," he said. "Everybody here is trying their best and it gives me the chance to show what I can do."

Prementine placed sixth in the event at states last year. He turned in the fastest time in Friday's preliminaries at 14.83.

"I actually felt better in that race than I did in the final," he said. "There was about two hours inbetween and I began to feel sluggish, but the other guys were dealing with that, too."

Later in the day, Prementine won the 300 event in 39.30 seconds.

Hayden Smith did not waste his last chance to compete at the Butler Invite. The senior for Union/A-C Valley went a personal-best 6-11 in the high jump to not only win the event, but break a 28-year-old standard. Hempfield's Kevin Hohol set the previous record of 6-10.5 in 1996.

"It feels awesome. Breaking the record was my goal and this was my last chance to do it," said Smith.

After securing the win over his nearest competitor (North East's Noah Crozier, 6-9), Smith took three cracks at 7-1.

"I had it cleared, but my left elbow clipped the bar," he said.

Following are the Butler County-area athletes who earned a medal by placing in the top eight at Friday's Butler Track and Field Invitational.

Boys

3,200 relay: 2-Butler ( Ethan Thomas, Logan Rogers, Zach Slear, Drew Knight) 8:04.41

110 hurdles: 1-Levi Prementine (SR) 14.80; 4-Eli Anderson (SR) 14.88

1,600 run: 1-Drew Griffith (B) 3:59.80

400 relay: 1-Butler ( Logan Ekas, Landon Lacey, David Graef, Kevin Shriver) 42.60

300 hurdles: 1-Levi Prementine (SR) 39.30; 4-Kyler Matson (SV) 40.01

200 dash: 2-Landon Lacey (B) 22.54

3,200 run: 2-Michael Braun (F) 9:02.76

1,600 relay: 1-Butler ( Griffin Bauer, Aaron Stebick, David Graef, Landon Lacey) 3:22.61; 3-Slippery Rock ( Eli Anderson, Tyler Arblaster, Trent Davey, Doug Popovec) 3:28.17; 6-Seneca Valley ( Kyler Matson, Karter Leroy, Elliott Deutsch, Max Wagstaff) 3:31.38

Shot put: 4-Dawson Camper (U/ACV) 49-5.5

Discus: 8-Logan Campbell (MO) 127-2

Javelin: 4-Nico Baggetta (B) 155-1; 8-Luke Cramer (KC) 148-10

High jump: 1-Hayden Smith (U/ACV) 6-11; 4(tie)-Adam Rohrbaugh (MA) 6-1; 8-Braylon Littlejohn (B) 6-1

Long jump: 2-Levi Prementine (SR) 21-10.5; 4-Orein McBride-Cager (B) 21-0.5; 8-Dustin Joyce (SR) 20-3.5

Triple jump: 7-Dustin Joyce (SR) 43-8.5

Pole vault: 3-Ashton Grossman (MO) 13-8

Girls

3,200 relay: 4-Seneca Valley ( Claire Riehl, Paige Damico, Delaney Mansfield, Sydney Heltzell) 9:48.27; 5-Butler ( Ava Brewster, Makayla McLister, Lyla Bowden, Madison McGarrah) 9:52.35

100 hurdles: 8-Autumn Flowers (MA) 16.13

100 dash: 5-Seava Cresta (NC) 12.78

1,600 run: 7-Madeline Meeuf (NC) 5:11.0

400 relay: 3-North Catholic ( Seava Cresta, Daphne Flerl, Isabella Iaquinta, Sunni Love) 50.31; 7-Butler ( Aubrey Rock, Lauren Bowden, Ari Morrow, Jocie Slesinski) 50.63

300 hurdles: 3-Lauren Bowden (B) 46.11

800 run: 7-Madison McGarrah (B) 2:19.94

200 dash: 8-Seava Cresta (NC) 26.76

1,600 relay: 3-Butler ( Audrey Lehman, Madison McGarrah, Jocie Slesinski, Lauren Bowden) 4:05.77

Shot put: 6-Madison Hunt (K) 34-5.25

Javelin: 3-Karlee Buterbaugh (K) 127-5; 8-Evie Paserba (B) 111-6

Long jump: 2-Aubrey Rock (B) 17-5.5; 5-Daphne Flerl (NC) 17-4; 6-Kendall Loos (K) 17-3.5

Triple jump: 4-Kara Fennell (K) 37-0.75; 6-Hannah Ithen (U/ACV) 35-1

Pole vault: 2(tie)-Aubrey Rock (B) 11-8; 4(tie)-Mackenzie Magness (F) 11-2; 7(tie)-Kara Fennell (K) 10-2

Union/A-C Valley’s Hayden Smith clears 6 feet, 11 inches to win the boys high jump at the Butler Track and Field Invitational at Art Bernardi Stadium on Friday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Union/A-C Valley’s Hayden Smith is fired up after clearing 6 feet, 11 inches to win the boys high jump at the Butler Track and Field Invitational at Art Bernardi Stadium on Friday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Butler’s Kevin Shriver stretches over the finish line as Butler’s boys win the 4x100-meter relay at the Butler Track and Field Invitational at Art Bernardi Stadium on Friday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Slippery Rock’s Levi Prementine is on his way to winning the 110-meter hurdles at the Butler Track and Field Invitational at Art Bernardi Stadium on Friday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Freeport’s Mackenzie Magness clears 11 feet, 2 inches in the girls pole vault at the Butler Track and Field Invitational at Art Bernardi Stadium on Friday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Butler’s Drew Griffith pushes himself in an attempt to run a sub-four minute mile at the Butler Track and Field Invitational at Art Bernardi Stadium on Friday. Griffith just missed the mark, finishing in 4:00.77. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Butler’s Drew Griffith gets a hug after winning the Ed Hartman Memorial Mile at the Butler Track and Field Invitational at Art Bernardi Stadium on Friday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle

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