Paul Catalanatto Wins Gatorade Player Of The Year!


CHICAGO - In its 39th year of honoring the nation's most elite high school athletes, Gatorade today announced javelin thrower Paul Catalanatto, Jr. of Catholic High School is the 2023-24 Gatorade Louisiana Boys Track & Field Player of the Year. Catalanatto, Jr. is the first Gatorade Louisiana Boys Track & Field Player of the Year to be chosen from Catholic High School.

"It feels great to win the award," Catalanatto said. "This award is one of the best awards a high school athlete can win. It feels awesome to win it."

As good as the Summer of 2024 has been (he won the Nike Outdoor National Championship earlier this month), Catalanatto has some unfinished business to take care of. He is not going to waste time celebrating...just yet.

"I'm not allowing it (winning the award) to get into my head," Catalanatto said. "I still have 2 more meets including Javfest and the U20 World Championships, so I still need to be on top of my game. After the season, I'll celebrate, but for now I'll keep my head down and keep working."

The award, which celebrates the nation's top high school athletes for excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community, distinguishes Catalanatto, Jr. as Louisiana's best high school boys track & field player. From CEOs and coaches to star athletes, Gatorade Player of the Year winners showcase the power of sport, touting an all-star group of alumni that includes Alan Webb (2000-01, South Lakes High School, Va.), Kerron Clement (2002- 03, Laporte High School, Texas) and Grant Fisher (2014-15 & 2013-14, Grand Blanc High School, Mich.). 

The 6-foot, 180-pound senior javelin specialist launched the nation's No. 1 throw among prep boys competitors this spring with a personal-best effort of 232 feet, 11.25 inches to win at the Texas Relays. He also took second in the event at the USATF U20 Championships and won a national title at the Nike Outdoor Nationals with a distance of 222-6.75. His U.S. No. 1 throw in 2024 ranks No. 2 in state history. He won the event at the Class 5A state meet, too, lifting the Bears to second place as a team. 

Catalanatto has volunteered on behalf of Cajun Crushers, an organization that assists amputees who compete in various sports. Many of the athletes have a different limb amputation, which requires him to adjust his teaching approach based on individual needs. He has also donated his time with the St. Vincent de Paul food kitchen, serving meals to the homeless. 

 Catalanatto has maintained a 4.22 weighted GPA in the classroom. He has signed a national letter of intent to compete on an athletic scholarship at Louisiana State University this fall. 

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.

 The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport. 

Catalanatto, Jr. joins recent Gatorade Louisiana Boys Track & Field Players of the Year Justin Horne (2022-23, John Curtis Christian School), Jack Larriviere (2021-22, Jesuit High School), Kashie Crockett (2020-21, Ouachita Parish High School) and Sean Burrell (2019-20, Zachary High School), among the state's list of former award winners. 

As part of Gatorade's commitment to breaking down barriers in sport, every Player of the Year also receives a grant to donate to a social impact partner. To date, the Gatorade Player of the Year program has provided more than $4.9 million in grants to winners across more than 1,900 organizations.

 To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student - athletes, visit or follow us on social media on Facebook at, Instagram at and X(Twitter) at