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Griffith sets another state record

Butler senior cruises in 3,200; Other county athletes place at PIAA meet

By Derek Pyda

Eagle Staff Writer

Butler’s Drew Griffith was all smiles after winning the 3,200 meter run at the PIAA Class 3A Boys Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University on Saturday May 25, 2024. (Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle)

SHIPPENSBURG — In his final day of competing at the PIAA Track and Field Championships, Drew Griffith set his sights on capturing the distance double.

A day after shattering the national high school record in the 1,600-meter run with a time of three minutes, 57.08 seconds, Butler's senior took to the track for the Class 3A boys 3,200 Saturday morning.

Much like his first race, the drama did not lie in who was going to win the event, but how fast could Griffith complete his eight laps.

He came in at eight minutes, 43.72 seconds to break the previous state record of 8:47.39, set by Hatboro-Horsham's Brian DiCola just last year.

For the second straight day, the temperature was rising as Griffith and the field lined up for the start.

"Coming back from yesterday, I was a little sore and it felt a bit hotter than it was for the 1,600," said Griffith. "I was trying to save a little to help us get on the podium in the 4x800 (later Saturday) and I'm happy with how it played out."

Griffith ran the anchor leg of the relay and joined Drew Knight, Zach Slear and Owen Dressler in earning a 6th-place medal. Butler tied for second place in the team standings, just one point behind Coatesville.

Over the next month, Griffith will compete in national events in St. Louis, Seattle and Philadelphia. He has elevated himself from a promising distance runner just a few years ago to one who has a legitimate shot of taking down a national record every time he competes.

"My freshman year, I was not the best runner, by any means. I was putting in the work and it just took time and a little development and trust," he said. " I hope that people look at me and can go out and chase their goals."

Butler earned a medal on the girls side thanks to Lauren Bowden's 5th-place effort of 45 seconds in the 300 hurdles.

"I am a little disappointed. I looked at the hurdles before the race and it messed with my head," said Bowden. "But I was glad to make the finals and it's exciting to finish in the top eight in the state. I'm glad I was able to experience this."

In Class 2A action, Freeport's Michael Braun placed third in the 3,200. He was seventh in the 1,600 on Friday and came away from the state meet more satisfied than he was after WPIALs a week before when his times were slower than his potential.

"The WPIAL meet was hectic. I was coming off an injury and it was good to put that behind me," he said. "I didn't hit my best times, but running out here is a lot different from the regular season."

Moniteau's Ashton Grossman reached 14 feet in the Class 2A boys pole vault and placed sixth. He is now just two inches from the school record.

"I was hoping to (get a personal record) and place," he said. "I did both, so I'm pretty happy with it."

Knoch's Kara Fennell took two trips to the podium, placing third in the Class 2A girls triple jump and tying for sixth in the pole vault. Her effort in the triple jump of 38-10.25 was the best in Butler County this season by over a foot.

In wheelchair events, North Catholic's Alex Brown edged Knoch's Kristofer Robinson in the 100 dash (20 seconds to 20.6). Robinson returned the favor in the 200, winning by an incredibly slim margin (39.51 to 39.52).

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