Photos By Hillary Ehlen
Many think of a résumé and equate it to their career. It may drum up memories of an interview or even a past job that wasn’t exactly the most enjoyable experience. Yet, in simple terms, a résumé is just a collection of experiences that ultimately lead to success in your chosen field.
Athletes have a résumé too. Much like a person would avoid putting their very first job on a résumé, an athlete would maybe avoid recalling their first game, event or race. In most cases, it’s irrelevant.
That is not the case for Bison sophomore mid-distance runner Peyton Frolek. The Lidgerwood, N.D., native has seen nothing but success. Thanks to her impressive results in what is a young career, she may have trouble narrowing down what to put on her athletic résumé. Not many can say that, whether that be athletically or professionally.
It started for Frolek at an early age. Growing up in Lidgerwood, a town of just 652 people, she was taught work ethic at an early age. Frolek believes that the drive to work hard is a quality all small towns share. “Definitely work ethic, I think that is just a big part of small towns. Being humble and just your small town pride,” she said. “You want to work hard to represent your school, and I think that had definitely carried over here.”
With Lidgerwood lying just 75 miles southwest of Fargo, she was certainly in North Dakota State’s backyard. Setting her goals high and working towards those goals was her strategy in getting recruited by big schools, despite being from a small area.
Regardless of what her goals were, it was Frolek’s results in high school that caught the attention of the Bison coaching staff. She was named North Dakota Senior Athlete of the Year for Class B track & field. While that is a high honor, Frolek’s numbers at Lidgerwood High School are perhaps more impressive.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re from, you can still do good things at a big school.” – Peyton Frolek
Over the course of her prep career, Frolek was a five-time state champion in the 800m, 1600m and 3200m, winning the 1600m and 3200m crown twice. She was also a state runner-up in the 800m her senior season and was a runner-up in the 400m and 800m during her junior year. Running cross country as well, Frolek was a state runner-up twice. The icing on top? She was one of the best girls basketball players in Warbirds history, scoring more than 1,000 points in her career.
Ultimately, track & field became Frolek’s focus. Thanks to her impressive marks, she joined the Bison last season, running cross country and competing in the indoor and outdoor seasons. Coming in as a freshman, Frolek felt she had something to prove based on where she came from. While the women’s track & field roster is full of Class B products, she still came to Fargo looking to prove people wrong. “You’re definitely out to prove yourself,” Frolek said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from, you can still do good things at a big school.”
She did indeed prove people wrong in her true freshman season. Running cross country, Frolek was NDSU’s number three runner in two meets. Perhaps more impressive was the immediate impact she made during the track & field season. During last year’s indoor slate, she finished fifth in the 800m at the Summit League Indoor Championships. Frolek finished at the same spot at the conference’s outdoor championships. However, she was a part of the dominant women’s 4x400m relay team. That foursome won the Summit League Outdoor title last year.
In just one year, Frolek burst onto the track scene in Fargo, becoming one of the program’s rising stars. For her, it’s about being a good representation of the community she came from. Lidgerwood pride still runs deep in Frolek’s blood.
“Wanting to work hard and do your best to represent your community,” she said. “You want to make your community proud and make your community look good.”
Frolek has not seen a drop-off in her sophomore campaign either, she has continued to impress as the indoor season concluded. While she did not run cross country this season, Frolek was more than prepared as the indoor season began. At NDSU’s second meet of the season, the Thundering Herd Classic, Frolek was the runner-up in 1000m and her 4x400m relay team took runner-up honors as well. She also finished second in the 800m at the Mark Colligan Memorial at the University of Nebraska. At the Bison Open in early February, Frolek took the 400m and 600m crown. Her 4x400m relay team took runner-up honors. Lastly, she took runner-up honors in the 800m at the conference’s indoor championships in late February.
North Dakota State is now past the point in their schedule where they will have meets inside the Shelly Ellig Indoor Track & Field Facility. Lucky for them, four of their first five indoor meets were at home. That has since changed, as the track & field team will hit the road for the duration of the outdoor stretch.
To keep her momentum going, Frolek believes it comes down to the simple things. “Remembering to do the little things,” she said. “Sometimes it’s hard with traveling and you get really busy, but I think making sure you’re putting in the extra work, doing all the little things. If you forget to do those, the little things add up to big things.”
In such a young collegiate career, Peyton Frolek has wowed not just her coaches and teammates, but fans and casual viewers of track & field. For those “in the know,” they are not surprised at all. Given what Frolek did in Lidgerwood, her success was imminent, regardless of what school she choose to further her career.
Peyton Frolek’s résumé becomes more and more impressive as each day passes. She will certainly have a tough time fitting it all on one page once her Bison career is over, that’s for sure.
Hometown: Lidgerwood, North Dakota
High School: Lidgerwood High School
High School Enrollment: 88 students