Drew Griffith and Ryan Pajak Smash 3,200m State Record

* Drew Griffith in the boys invitational 3,200m on Saturday at the Arcadia Invitational

Photo Credit: Raymond Tran/MileSplit

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In 2022, on a rainy May evening in West Chester, Gary Martin ran a solo 8:41.57 to set a new Pennsylvania state 3200m record.

Less than two years later, Drew Griffith and Ryan Pajak usurped Martin's feat and broke his mark by four seconds with Griffith's 8:37.43 and Pajak's 8:38.02. Yet again, we saw an unprecedented display of Pennsylvania distance prowess as Griffith and Pajak took their talents to California for the Arcadia 3200m Invitational.

Griffith, the Indoor 2 Mile National Record Holder, led the field early. His competitors yielded to him and allowed him to set the pace. Griffith surrendered the rail around the race's midpoint and found himself on the shoulder of Jason Parra (Millikan, CA) until Daniel Simmons (American Fork, UT) marched to the front.

Griffith responded to his move but couldn't quite replicate Simmons's closing speed. His 2:00.47 last 800m was only matched by Nathan Neil of Bozeman (MT).

Drew finished in third with his new Pennsylvania state record.

Meanwhile, Pajak had a very different kind of race. He found himself on the rail early but drifted to the midpack before picking his way through the crowd again. With 600m to go, Pajak came alive and started weaving up to the leaders and Griffith. He made one last charge at it but ultimately fell short of the win. He still walked away with a PA No. 2 All-Time Effort.

Editor's Thoughts:

Gary Martin's race on a cold and rainy day looked much different than the one we saw today. Each race had its advantages and disadvantages.

Martin had to deal with worse weather conditions, but his effort also had a time-trial feel. He had an open track in front of him, and he could push the pedal to the floor.

Griffith and Pajak, on the other hand, had near-perfect weather conditions and one of the best fields in high school history. Yet, having 38 boys in the same race provides some variables you can't quite account for. Just ask Pajak about that.

Regardless, these three efforts don't need to be compared. They are all unworldly and deserve their roses.

We are lucky to live in an era when Pennsylvania track and field is only getting better and better. Take this for example: In 2007, Paul Springer set the then 3200m state record of 8:49.84 (FAT). The record before that had stood since 1983, 24 years.

After that, it took 14 years for Robert DiDonato to complete his eight laps in 8:44.98. But less than a year later Gary Martin broke his record, and now, two years later, we've seen the mark improve again.

The bar keeps getting higher and yet these kids find a way to reach it. It is incredible to watch.