Lexi Sheldon recalled being in seventh grade and watching her older sister, Bree, compete in a cross country meet.
The younger Sheldon knew then that she was hooked.
“It looked like fun and I wanted to do it,” said Sheldon. “My sister always has been a big motivator for me, and she has helped me through it.
“I always enjoyed running and it really has helped me get through everything.”
For the Catasauqua football team, it wasn’t gaining the yardage, but it was ending with it.
The Roughies ran for 199 yards on the ground in their recent game against Notre Dame, but they couldn’t find the end zone in an eventual 42-0 loss to the Crusaders at Alumni Field.
Their defeat kept them winless (0-8) on the season.
“They finished their drives and we had ours ended with penalties and fumbles,” said Roughies ‘ head coach Mike McClarin. “We shot ourselves in the foot.
“They were a very big and athletic team and made some holes.”
Even though his team only had six wins, Catasauqua’s Joe Merkle was pleased with his season as well as his team’s.
“This was the best season for me,” said Merkle, a senior. “I thought that I had played better and we had more wins in a year than the past three years.
“We had more chemistry this year. That wasn’t there during the other years.”
Merkle also didn’t mind continuing his role as a leader on the team, as he served as a team captain for the second-straight season.
Adam Reinhart admittedly was antsy watching form the sidelines.
The senior quarterback missed the better part of two-plus games dealing with complications of Epstein’s Bar. He played against Salisbury and made the start in the recent Palmerton game.
“I felt good enough to play a few weeks ago, but I wasn’t cleared to play,” said Reinhart. “I understood that.
“But I feel like I am 100-percent back, and I just had to adjust to everything.”
With leagues and districts on the horizon, Catasauqua’s cross country teams have been rising to the occasion.
The girls’ team gained victories over Moravian Academy (25-30) and Saucon Valley (24-31) in a seven–team meet at Palisades Tuesday.
Lexi Rushatz finished fourth overall in a time of a new personal record of 19:54.10 and Lucy Brubaker was 16th (21:36). Breonna Brinkley was the other Rough Rider in the top 20 (18th, 21:42)
It marked their 10th win of the season, which is believed to be the most wins in a school season.
Injuries and illnesses have plagued the Rough Riders football season throughout the year, and they definitely have plodded the progress of a young football team.
In their recent 34-0 loss to Salisbury, the Roughies (0-6) were missing three starting lineman and a receiver.
“We have had guys on the line nicked up all year,” said head coach Mike McClarin. “It has given us a chance to play freshmen and sophomores who wouldn’t have had playing time.
Over the last six games of the season, Catasauqua head girls’ soccer coach Chris Hain is looking for more steadiness in his team.
The Roughies had an overall 5-7 mark and sat in fourth place in the PIAA District 11 Class postseason bracket.
“I think the confidence is there,” said Hain. “For us, it’s about being more consistent. We’re trying to reach a consistent level of competitiveness. It hasn’t been where I would like it to be.
“It’s not for lack of effort or attitude. We do have a younger team this year than last year.”
Second-year head coach Emily Marley isn’t judging her team’s progress simply on record alone.
It is truly about a process.
The Roughies were 0-10 through their first 10 games, and they had an 0-18 final record last season. They also have scored in just two games in the process.
“Our record doesn’t reflect how we’re playing,” said Marley. “We have been right in games and we’re playing well.
“Our biggest issue is putting the ball in the net. We have been a very defensive team.”
Marley also has been appreciative of her team’s work ethic.
Missing the small details in a football game can lead to lack of execution. That, in, turn, usually doesn’t result in a favorable outcome.
Catasauqua’s football team knows the feeling.
“It’s the little things and breakdowns that have hurt us,” said Roughies’ head coach Mike McClarin. “We start off well and then we shoot ourselves in the foot. We have been so close to finishing drives, and then the other teams comes back with a big play.
“We have had trouble finishing.”
Ben Langsdorf always liked to run.
As a freshman, he joined the Catasauqua track team and ran the 800 and the mile. The following year, Langsdorf decided to take it a step further when he joined the cross country team.
“I have been running around ever since I can remember,” he said. “I thought it would be fun to join the track team. Ever since I decided to join the cross country team, I have fallen in love with it since.”
Langsdorf, a senior, has been a steady performer for the Roughies the past two seasons, and sees himself as making an impact.