Brody Buffington Has Officially Made A Statement

"I think it's awesome. But my name's going to keep getting bigger and bigger as I keep running this season and outdoors."

By Ashley Tysiac -- MileSplit

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Some of the nation's top names in high school sprinting took to the blocks for the 60m at the Millrose Games in February.

Issam Asinga and Micah Larry from the powerhouse program of Montverde Academy (FL). Two of Archbishop Carroll's (DC) best in Marcus Brown and Camren Williams.

But in lane five stood someone a little off the radar: Specifically, the 6-foot-3 and 200-pound guy out of Thurmont, Maryland, sporting a red singlet and hoping to have a chance against a field of established talents.

Back then, Catoctin (MD) senior Brody Buffington was still a relative newcomer to the national stage.

While the five-time Maryland Class 1A state champion had grown accustomed to winning within the confines of his home state, at Millrose Buffington just hoped he could hang with the field. 

"I was going in there thinking, 'I might lose this,'" Buffington said.

When the gun went off, though, he proved that he belonged.

Buffington stormed to a runner-up finish in a new personal best of 6.66 seconds. He would later take third in the 300m with yet another PR, clocking 33.80.

Both of those marks currently rank among the top 10 performances in the nation this indoor season.

And all of that notoriety comes from someone who just a couple years ago had little to no experience in track and field.

Buffington has been the high school sprint scene's best kept secret, tucked away in the mountains of Northern Maryland in the 7,000-person town of Thurmont.

But the cat's out of the bag now. While Buffington will always be the hometown star, he's now become the viral national sensation of 2023 -- for a variety of reasons.

Nation-leading times, eye-catching race videos and a disqualification have all made small-town Buffington a name to remember.

New Balance Nationals Indoor this weekend will give him a chance to show that he's now a recognizable face in track and field for a reason -- plus, he's a legitimate national title contender.

"I think it's awesome," he said. "But my name's going to keep getting bigger and bigger as I keep running this season and outdoors."

Photo Credit: Derrick Dingle/MileSplit New York

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When Buffington cruised through the line in his second 55m final of the indoor season at the Montgomery Invitational in January, he knew 2023 could be different.

The time of 6.25 flashed on the clock after he crossed the line; at first, he almost couldn't believe it. That was nearly two-tenths of a second faster than his junior season best. 

"I knew I was going to PR, but not by that much," he said. "I was pretty surprised."

That 55m best would continue dropping -- 6.21 at the Millrose Games en route to a 6.66 60m PR and later a US No. 1 effort of 6.19 at the Maryland 1A Indoor Championships.

Videos of Buffington powering his way to those elite marks made waves on social media as people wondered where this Maryland sprint sensation came from.

A clip of his nation-leading 55m race at the indoor state championships has accrued nearly 300,000 views to date on the MileSplit Instagram account, making it one of the most viewed videos on the platform during the 2023 indoor season.

For someone that's grown up in a tight-knit town all his life, the national buzz has been a whirlwind.

"It feels like everyone's helped me to get here and it's just been good, especially coming from a small town and now getting national attention," he said.

If you were to search "Brody Buffington" on the internet, that championship 55m video wouldn't be the first media to pop up.

Instead, you'd find a video from the Twitter account of Hagerstown Herald-Mail reporter Andy Mason showing Buffington celebrating through the finish line of the 300m at the 1A West Regional on Feb. 4 -- a race he would get disqualified from by meet officials.

According to the Herald-Mail, officials disqualified Buffington from the 300m for "an action which brings discredit to their individual or school." That disbarred Buffington from qualifying for the 1A state championships in the event.

Buffington said he was merely celebrating the moment as he and the other two athletes in the race -- both Catoctin teammates -- had just gone 1-2-3 in the 300m race.

That set off a social media frenzy as runners and fans around the country -- including high-profile professional athletes -- chimed in on what many viewed to be an unpopular ruling.

Two-time World Champion Noah Lyles tweeted, "That's so stupid. Why do we keep hindering ourselves as a sport(?)" 

Former American distance great Kara Goucher also expressed outrage on Twitter, tweeting that she saw "a kid running hard and having fun," and didn't "see any disrespect."

"Gah, track and field, why are we killing our own excitement," Goucher ended in her Tweet.

Buffington's parents received upwards of 20 phone calls from news reporters wanting to learn more about the situation that quickly went viral.

"That was, that was tough," Robert, Buffington's father, said. 

Sure, Buffington said, he's earned headlines and social media clicks for his unmatched speed on the track. But the news of the DQ sticks out to him like a sore thumb.

He doesn't want to be known only as "the kid that got DQ'd." Buffington wants to be remembered in a more positive light.

"When I got that national attention, I'm out there for that 300m disqualification, not because I'm really good," he said. "I wanted to come back and really show that I'm worth the attention and that I'm really good."

That mentality is what fueled that time of 6.19 in the 55m at the state championships. 

"Can he celebrate now?" someone posed in the comments of the Instagram race video.

Buffington won't be cheering yet as he still has more left to accomplish, starting this weekend at New Balance Nationals where he'll compete in the 60m, 200m and long jump.

Unlike when he entered the Millrose Games as the underdog from Thurmont, he's rightfully earned the reputation as a top player in the nationals fields.

"It's going to be a big deal to get up there on those blocks and compete with the best guys in the nation," he said.

That's not to say that it all isn't still a shock to Buffington -- the progression, the attention, the burst onto the sprint scene in 2023. Even the college recruiting process trended upward significantly once he started putting up elite times.

And for someone that spent his childhood playing team sports around town and only picked up track and field in high school, it's the rapid improvement in just a couple year's time that still has Buffington in awe.

"The progression of it, it's just all me," he said. "(I) keep getting better and better, that's the main reason."

It's full-throttle now until the finish -- nationals, outdoor and then on to the next level. But Buffington's still taking the time to slow down and soak it all in.

Because when he takes to the blocks in Boston for the 60m preliminary rounds on Saturday, he'll still be the kid from Thurmont at heart. 

Only now, he'll be looking for another reason to make "Brody Buffington" a household name in the high school track and field scene.

"It all happened so quick," he said. "Now, I've got the next stage of life, which is to go to college and get a degree and do well in track and field at the next level."

Related Links:

Your In-Depth New Balance Nationals Boys Preview

Preliminary Start Lists For New Balance Nationals Indoor