Griffin Running into the Record Books

Christopher Tremblay Staff Sports Writer
Issue Date: 
April, 2020
Article Body: 

Entering his final year for King Philip, Mike Griffin was looking to put together a memorable one in terms of running for the Warriors. The senior runner opened his final campaign by capturing both the Division 2 and All-State titles in cross country. Griffin followed that up with a trip to San Diego, California to compete in the Footlocker National Cross Country Championships.
After returning from the West Coast, the senior took some time off to rest his legs.
“By the time Mike returned from nationals, the indoor season had already started,” KP track coach Scott Kramer said. “We decided to give him some time off (he missed the first two meets of the season) instead of jumping right back into it. The time off seemed to jump start him and ease him into the track season.”
The rest helped propel the senior runner as he put up personal best times in the 1000 (2:30) and the 2-mile (9:22), and then went onto win both the 1000 and the 4 x 800 relay at the Hockomock League championships. He followed those with a win in the mile (4:16) and a second-place finish in the 2-mile (9:22) at the Division 2 state championship. Griffin then rounded out the indoor track season with another win in the mile at the All-State championship, posting a new school record time of 4:13.55.
“Coming into the track season you never really know how he was going to do, especially having his cross country season extended,” the Warrior coach said. “We were hoping, and the coaches who knew his routine kept him on pace allowing him to accomplish what he did.”
Running entered Griffin’s life in middle school when he decided to try out for the cross country team. Once he realized that he could contend with the other runners he figured that he’d give track a try as well. During his middle school days Griffin found that running was exhilarating and something that he enjoyed. While everyone else was dreading the mile run in gym class, Griffin found himself pumped up.
“Most people hated being forced to run the mile in gym class, but I loved it,” he said. “I couldn’t wait to see what I could do next with it. In fact, a lot of the students stopped what they were doing in class and watched to see how I would do. I didn’t know this was happening until people came up to me to tell me their whole class was watching me out the windows.”
Entering high school, he found that he continued to battle for top placements in both cross country and track even though he was only a freshman. Coming into his senior year Griffin was looking to focus more on his times.
“Last year I was not expected to win,” Griffin said. “This year most of my main competition has graduated and there was really no one to challenge me anymore, so I took it on my own to do my best.”
Following the All State meet would have been the New England championship, but Griffin and his coaches decided to forgo that and concentrate on the New Balance Indoor Nationals in New York.
“We decided to skip the New Englands and opted to concentrate on the bigger race,” the senior runner said. “A lot of the guys that I would have run against in the New Englands are the same ones I have already run against. I decided to take it easy and get ready for the Nationals where I’ll go up against different runners.”
Griffin finished 4th at the Nationals in the freshman mile, missed the meet with an injury as a sophomore, and 20thin the championship mile last year as a junior. In New York this year Griffin will once again race in the mile as well as participate in the distance medley relay.
In the DMR, Griffin will be joined by Mike Norberg, Jovan Joseph, and Eric De Lorenzo. Norberg will open the relay running the 1200, Joseph will follow him in the 400, and De Lorenzo will run the 800 before handing the baton to Griffin for the final 1600. The Warrior foursome is currently ranked in the top 10 of the relay as they get ready for New York. Prior to this season the school record for the distance medley relay was 10:48 which was established in 1998. Griffin and his teammates destroyed that record this season, posting a best time of 10:25.
“I really think that we have a legitimate shot at finishing as an All-American (top 6finish) of the DMR,” Griffin said. “Running the final leg is a little stressful and nerve-wracking. It’s all up to my teammates to put me in the right situation so that we can win, and I totally trust them.”
Like in the DMR, Griffin is hoping to come away as an All-American winner in the mile.
“It’s the same situation as the DMR, it all depends on how I set myself up for the championship heat,” he said. “Going in I’m ranked 8th, but I’m looking to end the weekend as a double All-American.”
Coach Kramer believes that if Griffin is able to set himself up for the championship heat, his runner should be in good shape.
“Mike’s always looking to do well at these events. This year he should be in the seeded heat, where it will give him a better opportunity to place, opposed to running in the second or third heat like he did last year,” the KP coach said. “Mike’s a tactician as to how his race goes. He knows that he has to be in the right place at the right time in order to make his move.”
With two-thirds of his final campaign just about finished, Griffin still has one more season of outdoor track to stamp his name in the KP record books. Next fall he will be venturing to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville where he will take his running skills to both the cross country and track teams. And although he’ll find himself as a small fish in a big pond, the King Philip athlete plans on continuing to grow as a runner.
“I don’t plan on making any noise my freshman and sophomore year,” he said. “However, by the time my collegiate career comes to an end I want to be a top runner in the NCAA and hopefully make a run at the 2024 Olympic Trials.”
This story was written prior to the cancellation of the remaining indoor track season due to COVID-19. The KP runners did not travel to Nationals.