MCA's Catalina Reichard Runs La.'s Fastest 1600m! 5:06.05!


The first two weeks of the  2023 La. high school outdoor season has provided fans of the sport a crowded leader board at the top of the girls' 1600m rankings. Instead of an arms race, it's a legs race as the group of powerful runners work hard to become the first female to break five minutes in the 1600m. Now the question is...who will be the first?

No female in the state was able to accomplish the feat in 2022. Former Vandebilt Catholic phenom, Ella Chesnut, who now competes for LSU, came the closest with a 5:05 at the E.D. White Cardinal Relays.

Mt. Carmel's Catalina Reichard is the new state leader in the event after running a 5:06.05 at the Brothers of Sacred Heart Invite at Catholic on Saturday. 

Reichard's time was a second faster than Houma Christian's Emma Bourg, who ran her season best on Thursday night in Covington at the STA-CHS Judy Beahr Relays

Usually, when a high schooler writes numbers on the inside of their hand, you can suspect foul play on a math test, but the test for Reichard was to break the school record. In order to accomplish the goal she wrote the splits she would need to hit on the inside of her hand. 

That might not work at the LHSAA State Meet in May when the temperatures can soar into the mid 90s, but it worked out just fine for Reichard on Saturday in the cool and cloudy conditions. 

Another thing which helped Reichard was St. Joseph's Academy's Elise Brown, who took Reichard to the wire with the state's second best time of 5:06.39.

"I'm just really grateful I got the opportunity to run with her today," Reichard said of running with Brown. "We used each other to get ahead. Man, I had the splits in my hand because I wanted to break the school record. I got it, but it was really hard going for time rather than competition which I normally do. I was trying to work on my leading-which I usually don't do."

Reichard was in unchartered waters, but so was Brown

"It was a great race," Brown said. "Me and Catalina were battling it out, which was stressful, but a lot of fun. "

The fun for La. high school track and field fans will come in watching the season progress and see who will be the first to break the magical 5:00 mark in the girls 1600m. 

Two other milers to watch include Ruston's Lily Garrett, who had flirted with the 5:00 barrier. During her junior year, Garrett ran a 5:05.52. Also, Epsicopal's eighth grader Lucy Cramer is another talent to watch. Cramer's best time in the event came during the '23 indoor season when she ran a 5:07.62.

La. Girls' 1600m: The Tale of the Tape

Catalina ReichardEmma BourgElise BrownLily GarretLucy Cramer
'23 Best5:06.055:09.515:06.395:175:11.21
'23 Indoor Best5:12.355:06.555:10.415:18.225:07.62
'22 Cross Country17:43.6017:21.4617:49.2118:06.8017:44.61
'22 Outdoor Best5:16.215:06.75-5:06.765:16.68