As Drew Griffith completed the third of his four laps Friday, history was in his sights.

Griffith, Butler’s sensational distance standout, was trying to become only the 22nd U.S. high school runner to run a sub-4-minute mile when he competed in the inaugural Ed Hartman Memorial Mile at the Butler Invitational.

“That last 400 meters, I saw it was possible,” Griffith recalled. “I just put my head down to the grindstone and tried to barrel it out.”

Griffith needed to run his final lap in 59.46 seconds. Instead, he did it in 1 minute, 0.24 seconds.

Oh so close.

Or in Griffith’s case specifically, less than eight-tenths-of-a-second-away close.

While it wasn’t exactly the way this Drew had drawn up what he hoped to be a historic performance, it was nevertheless an outstanding effort as the senior and Notre Dame recruit finished in a personal-record time of 4:00.77, which is also the fastest time in the country this season. Griffith had previously run the mile in bests of 4:11.10 outdoors and 4:02.19 indoors.

“I could see the numbers slowly ticking [down],” Griffith said. “At one point you realize that you can’t make up that much ground once you’re that close. I just wanted to finish out the race no matter what. It was a big PR for me today, so I can’t complain at all.”

Competing on his home track on what was a cool day, Griffith raced to a scorching start as he ran his first lap in 58.15. But in Griffith’s mind, that’s where he went wrong.

“Maybe not go out so hard. It was a pretty aggressive first 400. Maybe if I raced it a little slower. That’s my only regret, I guess,” he said.

Drew Griffith fell short of running a sub-4-minute mile Friday, but his time of 4:00.77 at the Butler Invitational was the top time in the country this season. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Griffith ran his next two laps in 1:00.93 and 1:01.46, meaning he needed to make up some ground in the final lap. The crowd stood and roared as Griffith stormed toward the finish line as he ran the final 100 meters before leaving out a collective sigh after realizing he had fallen just short.

It was a landslide win for Griffith, his first in an individual event at the Butler Invitational in his career. He did not run in the meet a season ago due to a calf injury. Griffith’s closest competition Friday came from Hampton senior Dale Hall (4:17.14) and Elizabeth Forward senior Patrick Burgos (4:17.42). Hall edged out Griffith to win the title in the 1,600-meter run at last year’s PIAA Class 3A championships.

Griffith’s chase at history provided a cool moment at what is annually one of the largest local invitationals of the season. Art Bernardi Stadium was buzzing before the race. Griffith had lots of family there, and the crowd also included former Butler distance star C.J. Singleton. Griffith will join Singleton at Notre Dame last season.

And while Griffith didn’t run a sub-4 Friday, it’s looking more and more likely that it’s going to happen eventually, possibly even as soon as next Friday when he runs the mile at the Penn Relays.

Butler’s Drew Griffith pushes himself during the final 100 meters of Friday’s Ed Hartman Memorial Mile at the Butler Invitational. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

“It was amazing,” Griffith said of competing in his final Butler Invitational. “The atmosphere was insane. It just felt electric as I was going around the track. There were people screaming at me from both sides. The stands were going nuts. It was just special.”

The Hartman Memorial Mile girls race was much closer, and it had some drama, too. Gabby Pistner of Saint Marys stood in fourth place after three laps before running her final split in 1:11.13 to top the field with a final time of 5:03.11.

Avonworth/Northgate senior Hayzes Robinson and Woodland Hills sophomore Scoop Smith were two of the biggest stars in the sprints. Robinson won the girls 100 with a time of 12.32 to beat out South Fayette’s Olivia Renk and Winchester Thurston’s Monroe Law, each of whom finished in 12.49. Smith won the boys 100 (10.82) and 200 (22.10). He was the only runner to break 11 seconds in the 100, this after he ran a meet-record 10.62 in preliminaries.

Robinson, a Pitt recruit, joined older sister Hunter as a 100-meter champ at the Butler Invitational. Hunter Robinson won the 100, 200 and 400 three consecutive years from 2016-18.

“I’m really glad that I finally won because last year I was close, but I didn’t win,” said Hayzes, who placed second in the race last season. “I was kind of frustrated that I got second, and this year I was worried because the two girls who I was racing against, they beat me in indoor a few times and I knew they were really fast. I knew I needed to have a really good race to beat them.”

Renk (25.26) then bounced back to edge Robinson (25.37) in the 200.

Smith has a few Division I scholarship offers in football, but he wasn’t the only star in that sport to win two titles Friday. Central Catholic junior Xxavier Thomas successfully defended his title in the triple jump with a leap of 45 feet, 6.5 inches. Thomas, a Penn State football recruit, produced a top jump of 44-7 last season. Thomas then captured a title in the long jump by leaping a personal-best 22-5.75

One of the most exciting finishes came in the boys 800, where Ringgold star and Notre Dame recruit Ryan Pajak (1:54.16) slipped past Kayden Lightner of North Hills (1:54.29).

South Fayette sophomore Delaney Schumaker continued her excellence in the hurdles by producing a sweep. She ran the 100 hurdles in 15.20 and the 300 hurdles in 45.29.

North Allegheny’s Isabella Costa won the long jump and placed second in the high jump at Friday’s Butler Invitational. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Winning also won a title Friday. That would be the aptly named Mackenzie Winning, a sophomore at North Allegheny who took the girls 400 in 57.43.

Derry junior Sophia Mazzoni broke a 22-year-old record in the javelin … by one inch. Mazzoni’s heave of 144-5 on her second throw topped the previous record of 144-4 set by Freedom’s Ashley Kauffman in 2002.

“It feels pretty good,” Mazzoni said. “We’ve never come to Butler before. As soon as I saw the record board, I was like, ‘Man, that’s a goal for me.’ I’m really happy that I could reach that goal.”

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Brad Everett

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at