The elements were nearly perfect. So was Drew Griffith.

The Butler junior bested a field of 300 cross country runners Saturday at the Carlisle Invitational, completing the course in 14 minutes, 49 seconds. He missed the course record by only four seconds and won the race by 30 seconds.

His time ranked fourth all-time in Pennsylvania for a high school runner on a certified 5k course. It was the fastest time recorded by an underclassman.

“The weather was great. It was about 70 degrees,” Butler coach Rick Davanzati said. “The only thing missing was a little cool, misty rain, but it was a generally cool day anyway.

“This race marked the middle of the season, so we cut back on the runners’ training a little bit. Drew was ready for this event. He trains and works extremely hard.”

Griffith said his goal was to run the course in 15 minutes.

“I knew what I wanted to do, so I took off at the gun,” Griffith said. “After 20 seconds, I was out ahead of the field. It was challenging to know exactly where I was time-wise.

“About halfway through, I felt like I was on pace. I just wanted to finish hard.”

There were 48 schools in the event, representing Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey and Maryland. The Golden Tornado finished 18th. Owen Dressler finished 40th overall, but set a personal-record time of 16:39, more than 40 seconds faster than his previous best.

Griffith’s effort can be put into perspective by comparing it to last year’s Carlisle Invitational.

“C.J. (Singleton) ran that course in 15:27 last year, but it was in 83-degree weather on a humid day,” Davanzati said. “He finished second overall. Drew’s time, regardless of the conditions, is very impressive.”

Griffith is following in the footsteps of recent Butler cross country greats Noah Beveridge (Syracuse), Brett Brady (Naval Academy() and CJ Singleton (Notre Dame), among others.

“Those guys have definitely inspired me,” Griffith said. “I want to be like them, continue the tradition that’s been established in this program.

“My goal is to win a state championship, qualify for national meets. I’m in a good spot to do that, but there’s a lot more work to be done.”

Butler’s girls finished 20th out of 40 teams. Ava Brewster was 38th overall with a time of 20:15, her personal best this year.

Butler returns to action Tuesday at Schenley Park. The boys run against Central Catholic while the girls face Oakland Catholic.