As Rushatz heads to states, team reflects
At the recent PIAA District 11 Cross Country championships, Catasauqua’s girls’ team placed third out of nine teams in the class A bracket.
Freshman Lexi Rushatz paced the team with a fifth-place finish and she will advance to the state meet in Hershey this weekend.
Four years ago, however, it would have never happened. The Roughies didn’t have a girls’ team.
Head coach Kyle Rusnock credits seniors Bree Sheldon and Alexia Reichl with the initiation of the program.
“They were the first girls we had and they wanted to get going,” said Rusnock about Sheldon and Reichl. “Those two have helped other runners and really helped the program progress. Lexi (Rushatz) wouldn’t be going to states without their influence. They will be missed.”
Sheldon and Reichl are among nine seniors who will be leaving the Roughies program, which literally has made numerous strides over the past four years. Sheldon finished 39th and Reichl was 68th at the district meet. Sabrina Kemmerer, a sophomore, was 11th and just missed an invite to states.
“For us to be third at the district meet is phenomenal,” stressed Rusnock. “It has shown how far this program has come. Sabrina (Kemmerer) had a great season and she just missed going to states. She certainly will be a major contributor for us next year.
“Lexi (Rushatz) has been running extremely well, and she has a tremendous work ethic. She will be running with hundreds of runners, but she still has enough left in the tank to record a good finish.”
During the regular season, the girls won six meets, while the boys were winless.
Cam Ritter and Darien Wasser are among male runners who will be leaving the program.
“Cam (Ritter) is a dual-athlete (soccer and cross country) and he is a great athlete. He runs with interest and is a good competitor who has an edge.
“Darrien (Wasser) has been with us for four years and he has been a consistent performer. Both of them will be missed.”
Rusnock also cited seniors Mitchell Phillips and Austin Gorr for their contributions and dedication through the years.
“Both of them brought outstanding character and support for everyone else,” said Rusnock about the duo. “They may not have had the best results, but both of them were team players and never complained.
“They were both very stable and were good senior leaders. They have been a big part of this program moving forward.”
With a good core coming back, Rusnock sees some longer strides ahead.
“We had a good season this year,” he said. “We have more runners involved and we will continue to grow.”