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Rushatz never wasted opportunity

On the field and the court, Lexi Rushatz has never wasted an opportunity. When she isn’t involved in a sport, Rushatz may be found making chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter, her favorite baking item.

The recently graduated Catasauqua four-sport athlete appreciated to participate in a relatively normal athletic year after COVID-19 affected the fall and winter and shut down the spring seasons.

Rushatz adjusted as well as she could in field hockey, cross country, basketball and track in providing experience and leadership to her teammates. Off the court, Rushatz juggled her schedules and was able to gain the honor of being the class’ salutatorian.

Over her four years, Rushatz was a true iron athlete.

For her well-rounded year on and off the court, Rushatz is the Catasauqua Press Female Athlete of the Year.

“It’s really hard to believe the year went by so fast,” she said. “It was definitely good to have sports feel more normal this year. We were all glad to have a season, and appreciated that we were allowed to have them.

“It gave me a sense of getting back to normal and what I am used to.”

In cross country, Rushatz excelled over her career as she went to the state meet during her freshman and junior years. This past fall, she finished 13th at the league meet, and struggled for a 25th finish at districts.

In track, Rushatz finished seventh in the 400, 11th in the 800 and 1,600 at districts.

A shortened regular-season schedule as well as adjustments to the postseason made it a challenge.

“It definitely wasn’t what I wanted to be more successful,” she stressed. “Given the circumstances, I think I ran better toward the end of the season. I didn’t have the track season in the spring, and it took longer for me to get into shape.

“But (cross country) really developed into a personal thing for me. This is my main sport that I focus on more.”

Head cross country and track coach Kyle Rusnock knew Rushatz could be a rarity among his runners.

“She is a tireless worker who doesn’t stop,” said Rusnock. “She really worked her way to becoming one of the top runners in the league and the area. Lexi knew how to balance everything in her life, and she was able to juggle two sports in one season.

“She is just an overall outstanding athlete with plenty of drive and determination. She was a good leader for the younger runners and she will be missed.”

Rushatz managed to run and play field hockey in the fall. She recognized the support of all of her coaches in helping to make her full schedule succeed.

“All of them played a big role,” she said. “They all pushed me and knew what I could. They pushed me to my limits. Through them, I was able to run cross country and play field hockey.

“For me, I had to realize what I could do, and try to keep everything in order. They were times when I would go to a cross country meet after a field hockey game and vice versa.

“It really was overcoming more of mental barrier than a physical one. There were plenty of days when I was really active, and I just kept a good mental outlook. I knew I could do it physically.”

In field hockey and basketball, Rushatz played a leadership role, one that she relished.

“We were a young team in field hockey and it hurt us that we didn’t have enough time to practice during the summer,” she said. “We did have a good team bond even though a lot of us didn’t play together. We did get better with each game, and I felt more comfortable being in a role as leader in each game.

“We had a similar situation with basketball being a young team, and we didn’t have a summer league. There were a lot of young players, and you could see them getting better as the season went on.”

Rushatz ran the point in basketball for the Roughies, and she developed her leadership skills through the years.

“When I was younger, the upperclassmen had helped me out,” she noted. “With every year after that, I gained more confidence, and it was easier for me to talk to the other girls about their game.”

“I played basketball when I was young, but I really started to focus on it in middle school. I decided to stick with it.”

Rushatz began playing soccer in high school and then switched to club soccer. Ironically, she will be attending Moravian University in the fall on a soccer scholarship.

“The club team I played on has had a lot of success,” she said. “It was the equivalent of high school soccer and above. Some days, it was hard to go from either field hockey or cross country practice to club soccer, but soccer was only a few times a week.”

Keeping in line with her packed athletic schedule, Rushatz worked diligently to maintain her grades to become the second ranked student in her class.

“There were plenty of late nights,” reflected Rushatz. “I would come home after games and start to work on my academics. But I never wanted to let it go by the way side. I worked hard at sports, and wanted to do the same with academics.”

Rushatz will pursue a degree in political science at Moravian, her first path toward becoming a lawyer.

“I like arguing with people, and I think it will be a good fit for me,” she said. “I also like writing, and I fell that I am a good public speaker. This should be a good career choice for me.”

Rushatz also can gain a sense of less stress that she will need to concentrate on only one sport next year.

“It will be a kind of a relief only focusing on one sport,” she said. “It will be interesting to see if I have more time to do other things. I always know I can do a lot more. I can hang out with my friends more, but it may feel kind of weird for a while.”