Derek Troxell ‘made Catty proud’
For the first time in his life, Derek Troxell will be in a larger environment. Over the past four years, Troxell was the proverbial “big fish in the small pond.”
Next fall, Troxell will begin matriculating at Penn State’s main campus, and his stellar, three-sport Catasauqua athletic career officially will be over.
Yet, Troxell will leave a legacy, one that will be remembered in the annals of Catasauqua athletics for his play and demeanor on and off the court and field.
For this efforts, Troxell is the Catasauqua Press Male Player of the Year.
“Derek is one of the best and finest captains I have ever had on a team,” said Catasauqua head baseball coach Steve Bradley, who has coached baseball and golf for years. “He is a great leader, and he sets the example for others.
“Derek did whatever he could for the team, and he did whatever he could to get on base. He worked counts deep, and he wasn’t afraid to be hit by a pitch. He has a great feel for the game, and he doesn’t need to be coached up.
“He is a fine young man who made Catasauqua proud.”
Troxell was a four-year letterwinner in baseball, basketball and soccer for the Rough Riders. He came into his final baseball season with a shoulder injury from basketball that required surgery, but he elected to wait until after the season.
“I always have enjoyed baseball, and have played it since I was little,” said Troxell. “The only year I didn’t play it was in eighth grade. In my freshman year, I got back into it, and it has been great.”
Troxell has put aside the plays, and has concentrated on the memories.
“What I will remember is playing with some guys for a long time,” he said. “Cole Schiffer and I have played together since we were very young. That was special and it was hard to walk away from something like that.
“Our last year together was great because we made districts for the first time in a while, and we had a good year and a good time. There were a lot of memories.”
During the basketball season, Troxell became the 12th male and 22nd overall player to break the 1,000-point career scoring mark. He injured his shoulder in a game against Northern Lehigh Jan. 21, but he only missed two games. At first, the prognosis wasn’t good.
Troxell achieved the plateau in a game Feb. 26.
“I thought my arm had fallen off,” recalled Troxell. “When I was sitting on the bench, I really thought it was worse than it was. My mom was watching the game on TV, and she came right up to school. I cried in her arms twice that night.
“I had worked so hard to try and get that mark, and at first, I thought I didn’t have a chance. My dad was 46 points short when he played, and I knew how much it meant to him for me to get it. My parents sat me down the next day and told me it was about the team, and it may not happen for me. It was a scary time.”
Soccer arguably was Troxell’s low-profile sport, yet he did have a successful four-year run. He was a Colonial League honorable mention choice as a sophomore defender.
Even though his older brother Devon played football, the younger Troxell chose a different route.
“The helmets, the hitting, and everything else just wasn’t for me,” he stressed. “It was something to do for me, but it did become a lot more important. I continued to worked at the sport, and I became more confident and comfortable with everything.”
Troxell noted he began his high school career with new head coach Josh Inman and assistant coach Jamal Arnadt, who both had a huge influence over him.
“We came in this together, and I really felt we all grew together,” said Troxell. “They has faith in me to take charge out there, and they allowed to lead. It also helped that I had coach Inman in class. Coach Jamal was a coach who I could talk to about anything. They were both special.”
Troxell also has developed special bonds with Bradley and head boys’ basketball coach Eric Snyder.
“Coach Bradley is an interesting character,” said Troxell, “He is everything you want as a coach. He gets his players to play hard and works as hard as he can. He always had us psyched before games.
“It also was nice to have his son, Zack, on the coaching staff. Zack was a big help with the pitchers.”
Along with Bradley, Troxell always has been close with Snyder.
“I have been around coach Snyder since I was able to pick up a basketball” said Troxell. “His mom and my grandmother are very good friends. This has been a family affair with him, and he know me as well as anyone.
“His son, James, also was a big influence in my high school career as he always had time to work with me.”
Troxell also realizes and recognizes the support of his parents, brother Devon, and sister Delaney.
“Devon has helped me a lot,” said Troxell. “He would come to my games and we would talk afterward. He always has been there for me, and especially when I got hurt this year.”
Troxell will pursue a degree in either accounting or possibly education. He would like to enter the coaching ranks someday.
“Penn State is definitely going to be a major change,” he said. “This is the school that I have wanted to go to since I was a little boy, and my whole family are big Penn State fans.
“I know I will have to adapt to something new. Athletics has taught me a lot about life. But it really comes down to how I can represent my school, and what I can give back to my community.”