Byron Grevious '24 runs to national championship

Racer adds to his robust collection of top performances and brings home a U.S. title in the 5,000 meters at Nike Outdoor Championships. 

Brian Muldoon
June 19, 2023

Byron Grevious ’24 put an exclamation point on his upper-year campaign over the weekend, claiming the national title in the boys 5,000 meters at Nike Outdoor Nationals on historic Hayward Field at the University of Oregon. Grevious ran away from the pack early and was all by himself for the final 3,200 meters before crossing with a time of 14:24.04, 18 seconds faster than the second-place finisher.

The top-seeded runner in the event's elite 50-runner field, Grevious ran with the lead pack for the opening lap before jumping into the first position. He remained at the head of the pack and started to push his pace at the one-mile mark and quickly built separation from the crowd and won with an unprecedented lead.

“This was the first time at a national level race where I was the top seed in an event,” said Grevious. “All these guys proved that they can race on a national stage, they are all fast, and you can’t become content. Running at Hayward Field can be overwhelming, but the atmosphere was really cool. When I ran last year, it felt so big. This year I was a bit more prepared for it. They let fans down on the track in lanes six and seven, they were ringing cowbells. The last lap felt a little bit like a victory lap which was really nice. Coming down the final straightaway was so amazing.”

“We’re so happy for Byron,” said Hilary Hall, head coach of Exeter track and field. “There is so much that goes into reaching an accomplishment like this, and he is so deserving. His teammates were down on the track in the final straightaway ringing cowbells and cheering him on the entire race. Winning a national championship is a rarity and we all just want him to savor the moment.”

His runaway performance comes just two weeks after he broke a 48-year-old New England record in the 5,000 meters when he competed at the New Balance Battle Road Twilight series and crossed the finish at 14:04.44. Grevious’ record, which was timed with video Full Automatic Timing (FAT) — a standard today at competitive meets — tops the record of former Olympian Alberto Salazar, who ran a hand-timed 14:04 in 1975. His time also broke the Age-16 national record of 14:12 set by another former Olympian, Craig Virgin, in 1972.   

“I was not totally expecting the caliber of athletes that I was racing against at Battle Road,” Grevious said of the several college runners in the field. “When we went through 2,000 meters I heard the announcer say we were at 14:05 pace, so then that was goal for the day. The pacer was starting to fall off a bit, so I decided to go around him and make it my own race. With 200 meters to go, I had a guy on my shoulder and had to battle it out and really push. When I crossed the finish, I didn’t really realize what I had just run.”  

Grevious has been building towards this milestone with a crescendo of high stakes performances in the past few seasons. He led Exeter to a Division I New England prep outdoor championship this spring, earning MVP honors while snapping a 39-year-old record in the 1,500 (3:53.95) and his own record in the 3,000 (8:32.72) in the process.

“Byron has a history of showing up in big moments and running big in those moments,” Hall said. “Byron has a skill set that he has developed of how to handle emotions in big races and he is as skilled at that as he is at running. He is at an advanced level of being present and executing his plan. He was deeply in focus prior to the start of the race. He did not appear nervous; he looked prepared. He seeks out top competition and wants to put himself up against the best.”  

This past winter, Grevious was a three-time All-American at the New Balance Indoor Nationals with a sixth-place finish in the two mile (8:51.00) and a pair of fourth-place finishes in the distance medley (10:11.63) and 4x800 (7:47.45) relay’s, while also finishing sixth overall in the one mile (4:12.95) at the historic Millrose Games. This came after a second straight New England team and individual cross country title, a second-place finish at Nike Cross Country Regionals, and a 12th-place finish at Nike Cross Country Nationals. Last spring at Hayward Field, he claimed fifth overall in the 5,000 (14:36.14) and 12th overall in the two mile (9:04.02).

Exeter had an unprecedented 28 students qualify for national competition following a season in which the boys captured a New England title while the girls nabbed second place. Nike Outdoor Nationals hosts timed qualifying sections for both Emerging Elite sections and Championship sections of racing. Qualification for either section requires top level performance rated against track athletes from around the country.  

Tanner Boulden ’24 earned All-American status and finished sixth overall in the javelin at New Balance Nationals with a heave of 187 feet, 1 inch. Jaylen Bennett ’25 raced to a 14th-place finish in the championship's 400 meters with a time of 48.65 while taking a 25th place in the 100 meters (11.01) and 27th place in the 200 meters (22.10). Oliver Brandes ’23 competed in championship sections of the 800 meters (1:54.72) and one mile (4:18.86), while Max Lacombe ’24 competed in the Emerging Elite section of the one mile (4:29.65). Edward Hawkson ’23 finished 10th overall in the Emerging Elite 100 meters (11.07) and placed 21st in the Emerging Elite 200 meters (22.40).

On the girls side, Tenley Nelson ’24 posted a pair of top-10 finishes, coming in eighth overall in the Emerging Elite one mile (5:01.04) and 10th overall in the Emerging Elite 800 meters (2:14.30). Jannah Maguire ’25 claimed 24th overall in the Emerging Elite 400 meter hurdles (1:08.54) and Melani Dowling ’25 finished 30th overall in the Emerging Elite javelin (77’5’’).