Welcome to the inaugural column of Running Rambles!
Throughout the year, we will be discussing running techniques and training methods, races and feature stories about them, and entertaining questions, comments, and suggestions.
It is an outlet for one of the latest and fastest growing crazes and sports around the Lehigh Valley and beyond as the amount of runners continuing increases weekly. Whether you're a walker or a beginner or experienced runner, we welcome your comments.
With the possibility of throwing a high number of innings this season, Dakota Schiffer doesn't mind.
The Catasauqua right-hander expects to be a workhorse for the Roughies' pitching staff. Schiffer, a senior, who threw six or seven innings in his starts last season, believes he will be back on a similar track this spring.
"Throwing six or seven innings isn't a problem for me," said Schiffer. "I feel I am more effective as a starter, but I know I can come into a game and throw a couple of innings late if I need to. It has never been a problem for me."
Since her freshman year, Lexi Ayache has been in the spotlight, one that has shown brightly with the Roughies' recent success.
She admittedly was nervous starting the team's first scrimmage as a freshman hurler. It proved to be one of many effective starts over the past three seasons as she has played an integral part in the team's rise to one of the valley's elite programs.
As she begins her senior year, Ayache is ready to reach another level, as she will serve as one of the team's captains this spring.
Catasauqua head baseball coach Steve Bradley was pleased his team finally had the chance to take the field against Pen Argyl Monday afternoon.
Even though the Roughies were on the short end of a 3-0 decision, Bradley could live with a moral victory in his team's long-awaited opener.
"We played well," said Bradley. "It was a tight game until we gave up a bunt, then committed an error and before you know, it's 3-0. Actually, both teams played well, and there wasn't a lot of mistakes.
"We don't want to lose, but it was a game that we can live with."
A few weeks into the season, Zack Bradley received a first-hand look at college football.
In his fourth game of the season at Franklin and Marshall, Bradley got the nod at quarterback and the freshman delivered an impressive 19 of 26, 193-yard, four touchdown performance in helping his team to a 35-33 victory over Juniata.
From there, Bradley made two more starts and also became a strong candidate to take the Diplomats' starting signal caller next fall. Overall, he appeared in five games and threw for 588 yards with six touchdowns.
Catasauqua head track coach Glenn Reightler has a handful of returnees back for the spring season, but his overall club will need to mature during the season.
Reightler, who will begin his 21st year as part of two stints in the position, will welcome back some experienced seniors as well as 14 freshmen with potential. The Roughies have had more than 50 athletes in preseason, a slight increase over the past few years.
With a rash of recent success, Catasauqua's softball program will strive to keep the bar raised this spring.
"For us, it's about continued success," said head coach Bobby Thomas, who will begin his seventh season at the helm of the program. "We have reached a stage where we have high expectations for this season.
"When the freshmen girls come into the program, they are not in awe of playing high school softball. They have seen what the program has accomplished and the older girls have done a great job in helping them make the move."
Catasauqua head baseball coach Steve Bradley has one specific goal for his team this spring - win a playoff game.
The Roughies have been denied the honor over the past three years, a time period in which they have accumulated a maximum of 12 wins.
Last season, Catty finished with an overall 12-8 mark, but they lost to Southern Lehigh in the Colonial League playoffs and then suffered a district playoff defeat to Pen Argyl.
On the night before he left for the state tournament in Hershey, Catasauqua's Satchel Stauffer recalled when his wrestling career was nearly an afterthought.
When he was eight, Stauffer went out to the mat for his inaugural match. Four seconds later, it was over.
"I remember my mom being there with the camera and it seemed like the whistle rang and then the ref's hand hit the mat," said Stauffer. "The match was over before my mom had a chance to take a picture. At that point, I wanted to quit.
"It was a little rough for a while, but I decided to stay with it."
Catasauqua head wrestling coach Kyle Rusnock is optimistic his wrestlers' recent performances at the PIAA state tournament can further solidify a foundation as well acting as springboard for the future.
Both senior Satchel Stauffer (220) and sophomore Ryan Greene (132) both were eliminated in the opening round and the first round of consolations, Rusnock believes they both can impact the future of the program.