Not to be outdone, Colin Whitaker stormed to the front at the adidas XC Challenge a week later and snagged a 15:04 5K, usurping Pajak by nine seconds.
This week, another familiar name made his way to the front of the leaderboards. You might remember him from the magical moment he shared with his former teammate, Singleton after the pair went 1-2 at the PIAA 3A Championship in 2021.
Drew Griffith and CJ Singleton after 2021 Championship - Photo by Bill Shearn
Griffith opened the season with a win at Marty Uher Invitational before taking a few weeks off to ensure he was 100% for this race. His goal was simple, to break 15.
"I wanted to break that 15-minute barrier, and I went out there with the plan to do it."
He did just that, running 14:49, posting a US #12, and the fifth fastest time by a junior this year.
In the process, Griffith paced a talented pack of boys and led 13 under 16-minutes, eight of which set personal bests. Talented senior Matthew O'Brien (Susquehannock) outran several strong runners, including Kevin Shank (Carlisle), Drew Brill (LaSalle College High School), and Drew Zundell (University High).
They all broke 15:33, and the first three mentioned all set PA Top-Seven times.
In terms of the Boys Team Race, West Virginia's University High came away victorious in the Challenge division with a strong 15:58 average and a 1-5 split of 39-seconds.
PA #2 LaSalle College High School was in a strong position through their first three finishers as they placed three inside the top 12, compared to University's two. But the tight 1-5 compression of University was challenging to overcome, and LaSalle finished second to the out-of-state foe.
Notably, LaSalle placed three boys under 15:50, including Ryan McGinley, who battled injury last spring.
It was a strong race for Tommy Crum, who got out fast from the gun. He settled into a pace after the opening mile and cruised his way to victory on the quick course. It wasn't a PR for Crum, but it was a strong mid-season mark that may set him up for success later down the road.