Tri-sport athlete Mary Kate Baswell epitomizes what it means to be a Cavalier

Published 9:05 am Wednesday, March 8, 2023

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Tri-sport athlete Mary Kate Baswell embodies what it means to be a Cavalier. The Callaway junior just keeps grinding to get better regardless of what sport season it is.

“I love Callaway and I have been going to Callaway all my life except for Hogansville Elementary,” Baswell said. “All the teachers, admin and students make it feel like home.”

With schools in smaller classifications like AA Callaway, athletes usually play multiple sports with many often filling up the numbers on teams that are not their no. 1 priority — not Baswell. She is a starter for the soccer team where she serves as the conductor in the midfield. She started at quarterback during her first year on the flag football team in the fall, and she was a leader for the volleyball team as well. This does not even include the fact that she is a former cheerleader who helped Callaway win state as a freshman.

While she is a tri-sport athlete, the soccer pitch is home. She first got into organized soccer when she was little and could never let it go, falling more and more in love with the sport as the years went by. She is a player bursting with talent and was a key figure on the Callaway team that broke school records a season ago. In fact, the highlight of her soccer career so far has been beating the school win record and only losing three games a season ago as the team really came together in unity. 

She has elevated her game to new heights this year, scoring seven goals and contributing 12 assists in just nine games so far this year. It is a stark improvement for a player that is brimming with confidence this season. Baswell has turned into a real field general on the pitch for the Cavaliers, barking out commands at players as she orchestrates the show.

“Sometimes it is hard because I don’t want to say too much and come across as a coach,” Baswell said with a chuckle. 

One of the aspects of the team that makes her job that much easier is the players in front of, specifically Autumn Brown and Kate McAteer who put the ball in the back of the net with ease and make her job as facilitator less complicated.

“Sometimes the only opportunity we have is to get the ball past the defenders and let them get to it,” Baswell said. “We have really grown together since last year.”

It is also a position she knows well, playing in the midfield all three years of her high school career. 

A coaching change after her sophomore season has helped her grow even more in confidence.

“[Coach Mike Petite] helps us everyday to get better,” Baswell said. “He has really helped grow my confidence and helped me learn the game.”

Being challenged is not a new concept for Baswell. She challenged herself in the fall as she made the switch from cheerleading to volleyball. It had been since seventh grade since she played organized volleyball and said she was a bit nervous at first when she came back to the sport. She had no expectations for the season, but being a major piece of a team that made program history by making the first state quarterfinal appearance was one of the highlights of her athletic career so far.

“It was special to be the first team in history to put up a banner,” Baswell said. “With it being my first year back playing volleyball, I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t expect to improve so much as the season went along.”

Callaway volleyball coach Shelby Goins helped her rekindle her love for volleyball and now, Baswell plans to suit up in red and black for the team again this fall. 

She also found another sports family this past fall on the football field. Baswell did not play during the program’s inaugural year but fit like a glove during the second year for the team in the fall of 2022. She quickly earned the starting quarterback spot, won the county championship and led the Cavaliers to their first playoff appearance. 

She jumped right from volleyball into flag football and then right into soccer with little, if any, downtime in between and honestly, she would have it no other way.

“It keeps me on my toes,” Baswell said laughing. “I’m always going to compete for something.”