Casa cross country runner planning to go longer

One of Casa Grande High School’s most elite cross country runners is going longer.

Emma Baswall, a 2019 Casa grad, is now attending California Polytechnic State University. She will not be running cross country or track for Cal Poly, but will, instead, run for the Cal Poly Distance Club in National Intercollegiate Runners Association events.

Baswell hasn’t really gotten into her new running routine as she recovers from a foot injury. “I’m just getting back from my injury,” she said. “I am definitely going to continue running. It is something I enjoy.”

After an outstanding cross country season where she came very close to qualifying for state, Baswell lost her entire senior track season to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a season she was eagerly anticipating. “It was very sad,” she said. “I really wanted to run a 5-minute mile.

She is philosophical about her situation. “It (the lost season) gave me an opportunity to appreciate the three years I did have. It was very humbling.”

Baswell made the most of those three years, improving every season. Last season as a junior, she helped the Casa Grande girls track team win the Vine Valley Athletic League track and field championship, finishing second in both the 1600 and 3200.

She did manage to get in a senior cross country season and finished second in the VVAL championships and came close to qualifying for state. With a small turnout for the girls team, Baswell trained with a Gaucho boys team that did qualify for state.

She led by both example and inspiration, showing the way for a five-girl to finiscross country team to finish second in the VVAL.

She said she took her role of leadership seriously. “Cross country is not easy,” she said. “I appreciate the hard work they put in. Girls before me have taken on a leadership role. I wanted to follow their example.”

Casa Grande cross country and track distance coach Carl Triola said Baswell’s success was well earned. “She was a very hard worker,” he said. “She worked hard in practice, and was always willing to work with the younger girls.”

Now, she is looking past the disappointment of having her high school career end so abruptly to new and longer challenges, focusing her hard work on working her way up to a marathon, perhaps starting with a half-marathon.

“It is something a want to conquer to be able to say I’ve done it,” she said.

“Meanwhile, she is enjoying her time at Cal Poly after switching from plans to attend the University of Wyoming. “It was a changeshe made when she discovered how the California school’s large-animal veterinary program was so highly regarded. She also acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic made staying closer to home even more important.

So far, despite having to take classes online, it has been a good choice for the 18 year old. “I love my classes,” she said. “It is a big switch from high school, but I’ m enjoying it. I do miss the socialization and the connections with my classmates. Hopefully we will get into the classroom in the winter.”

Baswell has two brothers, Logan, 21, and Hayden, 15, a Petaluma High student. She is the daughter of Lisa and Jeffrey Baswell.”

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