Cross country: Spartans' Frum takes second in Class 3A state meet
It was kind of a nightmare, she said.
Also pretty great.
On a cold, wet, windy day in Peoria, running on a course turned muddy by four prior races, Glenbrook North sophomore Juliet Frum finished second in the girls cross country Class 3A state final meet Nov. 12 at Detweiller Park.
Frum's time of 17 minutes, 16.66 seconds trailed only Glenbard North's Notre Dame-bound senior Grace Schager (16:40.35), who quickly made it a race for second place.
In the top chase pack, Frum ran with York senior Bria Bennis and girls from Prospect's state-championship squad before separating from Bennis in the last mile of the 3-mile course.
"This race was really hard," said Frum, who finished 17th last year as a freshman.
"It was super, super muddy, almost a mud pit on every turn, very windy, too. Whenever we would turn we had to figure out which side we wanted to take on the course, right or left, because the middle was filled with mud. It was kind of a nightmare. It was probably the worst conditions I've ever run in at Detweiller," she said.
That includes two state meets and two Peoria Invitationals. She won the Oct. 1 invite, among a string of four straight meet victories before she took second at regional, sectional and state meets.
The worst conditions turned into the best state finish by a Spartans cross country athlete, male or female. Dave Valentine's fourth-place finish in 1978 was the prior mark.
Among Glenbrook High School District 225 athletes, Frum equaled the second-place Class AA finish of Glenbrook South's Scott Lidskin in 1991.
"She really ran the race plan to perfection," said Glenbrook North coach Bob LeBlanc. "She's such a smart racer and that, combined with her talent, has really led her to take off at the end of the season."
LeBlanc and Frum scouted the course the day before to get a better idea of where to step and what to avoid, LeBlanc said, knowing it would be a swamp by 1 p.m. Saturday.
Frum inserted longer 3/8-inch spikes into the soles of her yellow Nike Dragonfly running shoes.
"Initially they were neon, but by the end they were encrusted in mud and I don't think they'll ever be that color again," she said.
With her mother, Karen -- who in May competed at the Ironman World Championship in Utah -- in Cleveland watching Juliet's brother, Jonah, play in a hockey tournament, father Alex Frum watched his daughter carefully pick the right time to make her final kick into second place.
"I didn't want to start too early because there's a really long straightaway to finish the race," said Juliet Frum, who also finished 11th in the 1,600-meter run at the Class 3A girls track and field finals last spring. She'll run this Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Nike Cross Regionals Midwest in Terre Haute, Indiana.
"I was so shocked and so happy at same time," she said. "I was having a really good season, so I knew something good would happen at the end. All these girls are really fast and I had looked up to them last season and this season, so being able compete with them again and beat them was very shocking to me."
It wouldn't shock LeBlanc or her Glenbrook North teammates, who voted Frum the team's hardest worker.
"I think that's a very cool thing for your best runner to also be your hardest-working runner on the team," LeBlanc said.