Not a marathon, but a sprint: How Viterbo’s Ashley Caswell transformed from cross country athlete to sprinting star

Ashley Caswell

Viterbo women’s track has one of the best indoor runners in the nation in junior and Wild Rose native Ashley Caswell.

Coming into the season, Caswell had 31 top-3 finishes and qualified for nationals at last year’s North Star conference meet. This winter, Caswell qualified for nationals in two events during the very first meet of the season.

Hitting the mark so early surprised her a little bit, but it’s a testament to her passion for the craft.

“I am addicted to running,”  she said. “I can’t stop doing it. In high school I ran cross country and started off as a distance runner, and just over the years I’ve progressed and found what fits my body most.”

You’d figure Caswell has been dominating this whole time in distance running. But when new head coach Chase Thomson arrived for Caswell’s freshman year, he actually decided to turn the passionate distance runner into a completely different kind of athlete.

“She transitioned over from distance to sprinting,” Thomson said. “It was really unique because Ashley’s the type of person who will grind, and grind, and grind, and just outwork everybody she has to go against.”

“There were a couple practices where Coach had to tell me, ‘Okay, Ashley, let’s settle down a little bit and move into that sprinter mindset,” Caswell said.

It’s paid off immensely, as Caswell owns the Viterbo indoor records in the 60, 200 and 400 meters. Because she qualified for nationals in the 60 and 200 so early, she says she can use the rest of the season to hone her sprinting technique and get her truly prepared for the best of the best.