Emily Crall

Emily Crall had no idea what a small amount of water she used to take in before 125 ounces became the daily routine.

“I came to Desert Vista High and it is a program with very high expectations,” she said. “I didn’t know how much went into being a runner at that level. All of sudden, I was expected to drink 125 ounces a day. I didn’t know I was supposed to do that.

“There was so much to learn and grow. The learning curve never ends.”

Emily, who transferred from Chaparral High, was indoctrinated to the Thunder Way pretty quickly and became one of the state’s elite runners.

“Emily never focused upon nor addressed the issue of her individual accomplishments,” Thunder coach Jeff Messer said. “Rather, her defining foci included a range to team goals and aspirations that provided precise direction and tremendous focus for our overall program.”

A year after finishing third, Messer re-evaluated a few things of the process and posted one of the best seasons ever seen in Arizona.

The results were pretty impressive for Desert Vista all year long as the Thunder won its third state title in four years, setting a new big-school standard with a winning score of 20 points.

Emily, who was named the Tempe City Runner of the Year, finished fourth at the state meet, third on the Thunder, and was the one of the team’s essential leaders in pushing the program to the Nike Cross Nationals, where they finished sixth in the country.

“It was pretty special to be part of that,” she said of the trip to Oregon. “You are meeting and socializing with people that have the same goals and aspirations and have the same lifestyle as you do.”

A lifestyle that means waking up 4 a.m. every day for 5 a.m. practices, keeping track of how many ounces of water you drink so you are well hydrated, eating to fuel the body and falling asleep by 8 p.m. most days.

“You do it all so you can better contribute to your team,” said Emily, who is headed to New Mexico to continue her career. “Most people look at cross country as an individual sport, and it is, but we all love it so we dedicate ourselves and run because we have a larger purpose.”

Other cross-country standouts from Desert Vista included: Baylee Jones, a senior who rebounded after an illness two years ago;  junior Haley Wolf, who finished as state runner-up; freshman Brooklyn Christofis, who was ranked top 10 nationally for Class of 2020; and Amanda Davis, a senior and top runner at nearly any other program.

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