Leachman Adds Absolute 5000 HSR

Running far ahead of the field in the Texas Relays 5000, Elizabeth Leachman figured the prep record was out of reach but then reeled it in with a storming final kilo. (BERT RICHARDSON/IMAGE OF SPORT)

AUSTIN, TEXAS, March 28 — Just 10 days before the Texas Relays, Elizabeth Leachman (Champion, Boerne, Texas) got the nod as our High School Girls Indoor Athlete of the Year. In Austin, Leachman began her case for Outdoor AOY as well.

Running against an otherwise all-collegian field, the precocious soph essentially led wire-to-wire and ran a High School Record 15:25.27. Her time shaved 0.66 off the 2022 mark by fellow Texan Natalie Cook (Flower Mound, Lewisville), now a Colorado Buffalo by way of Oklahoma State. Leachman’s run followed by just 3 weeks her Nike Indoor double that included on the back end a 15:28.90 — the No. 2 all-time prep mark at the time and now No. 3.

Needing to average 3:05.19 per kilo to take down Cook’s record, Leachman immediately pulled clear of the field with an opening 3:04.7, but following splits of 3:08.7, 3:07.3 and 3:08.6 had the record in doubt … until she blasted home in 2:56.0.

“I was really mostly trying to make sure that I didn’t take it out too aggressive,” Leachman said. “I think people know I have kind of a history for that and so just trying to make sure that I didn’t kill myself on the front end was a big priority.”

There had been online chatter that Leachman was specifically targeting the record on this cool, slightly windy night, but she said that wasn’t the plan.

“I wasn’t really going into this race going after that. I know that that’s what a lot of people thought, but when I got to that last K I kind of thought, OK, well that’s not what’s gonna happen. But that wasn’t necessarily the goal anyway, so I wasn’t too worried about it. And when I felt good and I could pick it up that last lap, it was definitely exciting.

“I really didn’t know what to expect going into this meet. It’s definitely a little different on the outdoor oval, I guess, than indoors. But yeah, I mean I’ve looked up to Natalie for a really long time. She’s incredible. So yeah, to be able to be here and run anywhere close to what she did is just, I feel so blessed and yeah, I’m excited to be here.”

Leachman got an unexpected boost from a small cheering section of teammates.

“I think I was about a K in and I looked over and saw all my teammates just over there cheering for me and I was just, I was shocked. I really didn’t know they were coming, so that just meant a lot. And having their support means everything to me.”

Fans hoping to see Leachman toe the line at big meets like Arcadia next weekend will have to put those expectations on hold. The qualifying meets to reach the Texas state meet (beginning with district, then area, then regional) begins next week, so she is focused on that.

“But then after that, the plan this summer is to hopefully go to Brooks and Nike Outdoor. So we’ll see how it goes. I think hopefully to drop my time in the mile would be nice and just see how well I can improve in my other events throughout this season.”


1. Elizabeth Leachman (Champion, Boerne, Texas) 15:25.27 HSR (old HSR 15:25.93 Natalie Cook [Flower Mound, Texas] ’22)(3:04.7, 3:08.7 [6:13.4], 3:07.3 [9:20.7], 3:08.6 [12:29.3], 2:56.0);

2. -Florance Uwajeneza’ (WTxAM-Rwa) 16:00.14; 3. *Eva Jess (Tx) 16:04.83; 4. ***Anastacia Chepkorir’ (TxT-Ken) 16:10.80; 5. *Nia Clatworthy (Lam) 16:14.91.