Outdoor T&F Preview: Boys’ Distance Events

With so many variables, it’s never easy. But we’ll give it our best shot predicting who we feel will be some of our top track & field athletes this outdoor season. Here we feature the boys’ distance events, which includes the 800m, Mile and Two Mile.


It was all about the seniors at last year’s Meet of Champions as our most recent graduates took six of the top eight spots on the podium, including the first three. Among our returnees, Ajay Raina is the fastest of the bunch. The Acton Boxborough senior was third at last year’s championship meet and owns an all-time best of 1 minute, 55.46 seconds from his victory at the Div. 1 Championships. After a successful indoor season where he posted bests of 1:20.59 for the 600m and 2:31.84 for the 1K, Raina appears to be on pace to get his 800m time in the low 1:50 range by the end of the season. He’s proven that this is a race that is most-suited to his strengths. Raina’s also a 49-second 400m runner, clocking 49.78 at the Div. 1 meet last June. Wachusett’s Dylan Brenn is another of our returnees that has gone 1:55 for the two-lapper. He was just ahead of Raina at the Weston Twilight Invitational with an outdoor PR of 1:55.88 in 2023 and was a runner-up to his rival at D1 where he crossed the line at 1:55.99. Obviously, we can’t ignore Brookline’s Cameron Walter. He captured the 600m at the MOC in 1:21.13 and also ran a best of 1:20.96 to finish second to Raina in the Large School race of the Coaches Invitational. He ran an all-time best of 1:56.14 for the 800m last spring and placed seventh at the MOC. There’s also Weston’s Ben Tavares and St. John’s Prep’s Daniel Padley and Nick MacDonald, to name a few. Padley has run the quickest time this year for the 800m with his best of 1:55.02 from the New Balance Nationals last month.


The state has several talented milers that should make some noise this season, some competing against their fellow rivals in MSTCA and MIAA sanctioned meets and some outside of the two associations, such as Northbridge’s Marcus Reilly and Andover Phillips Academy’s Tamrat Gavenas. Reilly will be looking to lower his current best of 4:06.12, a time he ran at the New Balance Nationals last June and matched at the indoor nationals in mid March. Gavenas will set his sights on dipping under his current best of 4:07.85 from his runner-up finish at last year’s inaugural BSR Elite Scholastic Mile, an event that will take place on May 3 this season. Back in February, Gavenas clocked an indoor best of 4:12.07 at the Millrose Games. The Bay State had a half dozen more runners break 4:20 this past winter, including MOC winner Chris Larnard of Boston College High. The Eagles’ senior had his best effort when it counted the most, racing to his all-time best of 4:14.01 at the meet. Algonquin Regional’s Stephen White, who was second behind Larnard, is also coming back. He went 4:19.54 at the MOC and ran a PR of 4:18.17 at the New Balance Nationals. BC High’s Shamus Larnard, Boston Latin’s Colin Fisher, and Littleton’s Bona Bradshaw are among others that went sub 4:20. There’s also runners like Newton South’s Alex Friedman that could make an impact. Friedman was third at the MOC this winter with a best of 4:21.65.

Two Mile

The big question is will we see Paul Bergeron competing at the division state meet and/or the MOC this spring? The Westford Academy senior, who is the defending D1 titlist after running a near state mark of 8:51.88, did not participate in any MSTCA or MIAA meets this past winter. He was limiting his races to help nurse an injury and to train for a strong outdoor campaign. Bergeron’s decision appeared to pay dividends in the end as he capped off the season by placing second in the 5,000m at the New Balance Nationals with a state record of 14:14.57, his second sub 14:20 clocking of the winter. A year after fellow rival and St. John Prep grad Nathan Lopez smashed the 40-year-old state record with an eye-popping 8:44.54 at the New Balance Nationals, could we see that record fall again with a healthy Bergeron on the line? At the very least, the Stanford commit is certainly capable of getting his time in the 8:40s this year. On a national scale, there’s no doubt he’ll have the competition to push him whatever elite meet he enters. At the recent Arcadia Invitational, nearly 40 runners broke nine minutes for 3,200m in the seeded heat! Who are some of the other top two-milers? The Eagles’ Chris Larnard is coming off a outdoor season where he not only won the mile at the MOC, but raced to a huge PR of 9:07.83 for the deuce at the New Balance Nationals. Lowell’s Jack Courtney had a best of 9:12.71 to take top honors at the Div. 1 meet in mid February. There’s also indoor MOC titlist Ryan Leslie of Billerica, who will certainly be looking to match or exceed what he did as a junior, where he had a PR of 9:09.52. You can’t count out Westford Academy’s Jack Graffeo, too. Like his teammate, Graffeo did not compete in any MSTCA or MIAA events during the winter. He ran 14:49.17 for 5K at New Balance and was a Foot Locker Nationals finalist in the fall, proving he’s capable of dipping well below his 9:29 best.

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