SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. — Butler’s Drew Griffith chased a sub-4-minute mile several times this spring, even coming within a second of achieving the amazing feat a month ago.

Griffith might have not officially gone sub-4 Friday at PIAA track and field championships, but he essentially did just that after breaking a national record in the 1,600-meter run by more than two seconds — 3:57.08.

Griffith, a senior and arguably the top high school distance runner in the country, added to his legacy by winning his first PIAA track gold medal and doing it in exciting fashion at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium. His time in the Class 3A 1,600 was not only a personal record, but it broke the PIAA record set by Archbishop Wood’s Gary Martin (4:01.56) in 2022 and the National Federation of High Schools record set by Alan Webb of South Lakes, Va. (3:59.51) in 2001. Webb went on to become an Olympian.

Since the 1,600 isn’t an actual mile, Griffith wasn’t able to add his name to the list of 21 high schoolers to run a sub-4-minute mile. But his 3:57.08 converts to a mile time of 3:58.46, so Griffith essentially went sub-4.

“I’ve kind of been dreaming about this for a while,” said Griffith, a Notre Dame recruit. “It might not be a full mile, but for me it’s definitely far enough under for the 1,600 to call it sub-4. I feel like every distance runner’s dream is to crack that 4-minute mile. To be able to see those numbers on the screen was just amazing.”

While Griffith’s time was eye-popping, it actually was his goal. Griffith, whose PR had been the 3:59.81 he ran at the Butler Invitational, said Friday he was shooting to run a 3:57.

In doing so, Griffith now has a PIAA track gold medal to go along with the PIAA cross country gold he captured in the fall. Griffith had called the PIAA track championships his “Kryptonite.” He came close in the 1,600 a year ago, but lost his lead to Hampton’s Dale Hall on the final lap and settled for second. Griffith also placed third in the 3,200 in 2023 after finishing fourth a year earlier.

“Last year was a big disappointment for me,” Griffith said. “To be able to come in here, have fun, enjoy it and run fast all at the same time is just awesome.”

The WPIAL is known for producing excellent distance runners, and that was on display in this race as District 7 athletes stood on the top five spots on the medal podium. Ringgold’s Ryan Pajak was second (4:04.72) , Hall third (4:06.90), Fox Chapel’s Rowan Gwin fourth (4:07.06) and North Allegheny’s Jack Bertram fifth (4:07.17).

Griffith set meet records in the 1,600 and 3,200 a week ago at the WPIAL championships. He’ll compete Saturday in the PIAA 3,200 final.

Miles bounces back

Griffith was the only WPIAL boy Friday to win a gold medal None finished second, either, but there was a third-place finisher as Fox Chapel senior Mason Miles claimed a bronze medal in the Class 3A shot put courtesy of a career-best heave of 58 feet, 4½ inches. Brady Mider of Berks Catholic won consecutive titles after a mark of 61-10¾.

“It’s amazing,” Miles said. “I started off the season not too well. I had an injured finger, so I had to fight through that. It was nice to get a good PR out there and finish off the season strong. It meant a lot to me.”

Miles had a strained tendon in one of his fingers early in the season, but his biggest recovery from injury came a year ago. Miles’ ACL was torn in his left knee in his junior football season. He made it back for track season, but wasn’t able to regain the form that saw him place second in the WPIAL his sophomore season.

“I had just recovered and they just cleared me right in the middle of track season,” said Miles, who rebounded to finish second at WPIALs again this season. “That’s why I threw so low my junior year. But it’s great getting the feet that I wanted this year that I should have had last year. It’s really nice.”

Miles will continue his track and field career at South Carolina State.

Little luck in the 100

The most recent WPIAL athlete to win a boys 100-meter title at the PIAA championships now plays in the NFL. Aliquippa’s M.J. Devonshire captured the Class 2A title in 2019. There’s a strong chance the WPIAL will be shut out again this year.

Only one WPIAL boy advanced Saturday to the final in the 100. That would be Fort Cherry’s Tegan Henke, whose time of 11.00 in preliminaries qualified him for the Class 2A final. Henke was third at the WPIAL meet. WPIAL champion DeJuan Croumbles of Neighborhood Academy finished ninth in preliminaries, one spot short of a qualifying spot.

It was even worse for Class 3A 100-meter runners from the WPIAL, as none moved on from the preliminaries. WPIAL champion Scoop Smith of Woodland Hills did not run after his hamstring was injured in the 200 final at the WPIAL championships. Canon-McMillan’s Colton Dean was the top WPIAL runner in qualifiers, and he was 20th after a time of 10.98. George Washington’s Shaun McCoullum ran a 10.37 to set a PIAA record. No Class 3A runner from the WPIAL has won a PIAA Class 3A title in the 100 since Gateway’s Julius Rivera in 2013.

Oh, and the 200 was really rough for WPIAL runners, too, as none moved on Saturday to the final.

Fort Cherry flies

Friday wasn’t all bad for WPIAL sprinters, though. In fact, it was excellent for Fort Cherry’s 400 relay team, which ran to the No. 1 time in Class 2A preliminaries. The group of Dylan Wudkwych, Henke, Shane Cornali and Matt Sieg surged to a time of 42.64, which was just a tad slower than the 42.59 they ran to win the WPIAL title a week earlier. Neighborhood Academy’s team of Tarik Phillips, Chase Brown, Delon Evans and Croumbles finished third in prelims to also advance to the final. No WPIAL Class 3A teams advanced in the 400 relay.

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