Rule Could Prevent Drew Griffith's State Title Defense

* Butler's Drew Griffith's PTFCA Championship Mile Entry has not been accepted.

Photo Credit: David Nguyen/MileSplit

- - - 

by John Davern and Phil Grove

A weekend of celebration has turned sour for Drew Griffith and his Butler High School teammates. On Saturday, Griffith ran a national all-time best in the two-mile by running 8:38.67.

On Sunday, his Mile entry into the PTFCA Championship was not accepted on the basis that Griffith's time came in a race that included a post-high school athlete. As a result, he is currently not entered in any individual events at this year's state meet. Griffith was the 2023 PTFCA Indoor Mile Champion.

On February 4th, Griffith ran a 4:02.71 mile at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. That race was paced by Jaxson Hoey, a professional athlete sponsored by adidas. 

The most recent two-mile race at the Alex Wilson Invitational would also be disallowed on that basis, however Butler did not enter Griffith in the PTFCA 3000m race. Griffith's only other individual race of the season was a 1:59.06 800m at the YSU HS Meet #2.

Griffith not being accepted is a big blow to Butler's title hopes. They were most recently ranked third in the PA MileSplit Power Rankings, but losing Griffith's individual points will hurt. Butler is still entered in the Distance Medley Relay and the 4x800m relay. He is expected to anchor the Distance Medley Relay at the very least.

Mentioned in the meet packet (downloadable on the meet page) is a bullet about competition with collegiate or post-HS athletes. The bullet reads:

"No marks performed in competition against college or post-HS age athletes or outdoor surfaces will be accepted."

The decision is currently being appealed by Butler and PTFCA officials will not comment while the decision is considered under appeal. 

PA MileSplit will update this story when more information becomes available.

Update as of 9:53 PM, February 18th:

The Butler boy's indoor track and field coach, Mike Seybert, commented on the matter.

"We were very upset when we heard from Ron Lopresti (PTFCA President) about them not accepting Drew's entry into the mile run," said Seybert. "Drew's time from New Balance Grand Prix has been posted on the PTFCA website as the top time in the mile for over 10 days. That is the official site of the PTFCA. They saw the time and posted it. If there was a problem with the time, why did they post it?"

"Drew is a great representative of our school, community, the state of Pennsylvania and, with his national success, the United States," Seybert said. "We have filed our appeal and expect the PTFCA to do the right thing and enter him in the mile. He is the defending state champion in the mile, and we just want to see him have the opportunity to win it again."

Update as of 8:42 PM, February 18th:

PTFCA officials have received the written appeal from Butler. The written appeal will be forwarded to the Jury of Appeals and a final determination will be made.