When Frankie Muldoon was about to be a freshman she had a decision to make: stick with football or start running cross country.
The junior at Dawson County High School just won her third straight individual region title in cross country and is happy about the path she chose.
“At the time I was playing football and I had to decide if I wanted to play football here or run and I decided to run and I am glad,” Muldoon said.
She was the kicker for the middle school team, wanting to follow her oldest brother Max who had also kicked for Dawson County. One day during a middle school P.E. class, however, Coach Charles Beusse told her that she really should consider running cross country at the high school level.
Muldoon listened to Beusse.
“As far as Frankie goes, she is really something special,” Beusse said. “It’s not often that you have a runner come along who is the total package but Frankie certainly is.
“She is coachable, understands the process we teach and is one of the best natural athletes I have ever seen.”
Muldoon is also a varsity soccer player and has had a collegiate level offer to play the sport. Though many soccer players choose cross country in the off season to stay in shape for the grueling on-field demands, Muldoon said it’s different for her.
“I wouldn’t say it is training for soccer,” Muldoon said. “Part of me would say it’s like soccer is more for cross country. I feel like one of the reasons I am good at cross country is because I played soccer because you have to have a lot of endurance for soccer.”
And though she already has an offer for soccer, she hopes to have offers from larger schools for running and for the chance to pursue a career in veterinarian medicine.
Beusse, for one, thinks that will not be a problem.
“Frankie continues to improve and I believe she will be a top college recruit coming out of high school after her senior season,” he said. “She’s already attracting interest from colleges and I believe she has the skills necessary to be successful at the next level. Frankie is a true leader.”
Muldoon has learned how to push herself, be it running with the boys’ team in practice or finding ways to motivate herself like finding and putting up quotes about running prior to a race.
“I have this chalkboard. I always do it the night before a race. I do a running quote or something like that,” she said.
Prior to the region race it was “run with a purpose.” She also had added the number 18:33 which is the DCHS girls school record she hopes to break.
“I was decorating it and I put 18:33 and she [Frankie’s mom] was like Frankie ‘you can’t go for 18:33 you have got to go for 18:32.’ I was like no mom I am going for 18:20,” Muldoon said with a laugh. “I just figure I need to give myself some leeway.”
“Runners like Frankie, who work hard and always look to improve, are the reason I love coaching so much,” Beusse said. “Frankie has given this team so much over the past three years and will be looked to for years to come as one of the best female runners Dawson County has ever had. I'm just glad she's only a junior and we will get another year to have her as a part of our program.”
Muldoon said that though she will look for opportunities to run at the collegiate level, she will be playing soccer this year. The death of Head Coach Jed Lacey has had a profound impact on the athletes he had coached for so long.
“I told myself that I have to play. We have all been talking about how we have to win state this year and it’s just hard,” she said.
For now Muldoon, who is ranked fourth in the state in Class AAA, is happy she won a third region title (“It’s great, I guess,” she said.) and is focused on a successful showing at the state race on Nov. 4.
“We will see what we can do,” she said.
Going forward, Muldoon said she plans to just keep running.
“If I were to quit running, I feel like I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I can’t go one day without running because I just feel bad,” she said.