Leading by example, Annie Firsbie’s adventure with Iowa State cross country

Kobe Gaines

She is a leader for the Iowa State cross country team, junior in graphic design, All-Big 12, Academic All-Big 12 First Team, Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll, All-Academic Individual for three years — but who is the real Annie Frisbie?

From River Falls, Wisconsin, being the only runner in her family, Frisbie always felt that running was her passion. Frisbie’s mother wanted her to go out for a fall sport after playing soccer until seventh grade and she chose cross country. Eight years later, nothing has changed.

“Picking cross country was the best decision of my life,” Frisbie said. “Cross country for me is my sanctuary, running means so much to me and I would not change a thing.”

Frisbie ran for River Falls High School. As a senior, Frisbie won the Wisconsin Division I State Cross Country individual title, took fourth at the Nike Cross Regionals Midwest and placed seventh at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional.

Even though she signed her senior year, she was not receiving any Division I offers, so she reached out to colleges such as the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, the University of Montana and Iowa State.

“When I reached out to the colleges after my senior year,” Frisbie said, “I felt I had something to prove. I wanted to show the other schools that over looked me that they made a mistake.

“Picking Iowa State was amazing, coach [Andrea] Grove-McDonough believed in me and saw my talents, and our relationship has gotten stronger ever since.”

Frisbie has found success here at Iowa State, whether it be running for the cross country team or in the studio working on her graphic design projects. 

She uses her studio time wisely, so that when she is out of school she can purely focus on cross country. The key for Frisbie is that she always makes time for herself.

“Dealing with the pressures of being a student athlete is to always make time for yourself,” Frisbie said. “The key is to balance the two so that you make enough time for each subject because they are both very important.

“I would love to go professional in running, but I know that I’m not just at Iowa State for running; I am also here to find a job out of college.”

Being a leader for the cross country team is an important role for Frisbie, but there’s no pressure as she leads by example. Frisbie takes what she learned from past runners to influence others on the team.

She wants to take the expectations from last semester and build on them for the upcoming season. Frisbie praises her coach, Grove-McDonough, who rallies the group and sparks the team.

“Coach Grove-McDonough understands each of the girls on the team,” Frisbie said. “She communicates with all of us in the best way she can to let us know what she expects all of us to achieve in the season, not only for the team but for ourselves.”

Frisbie’s goal for her junior season is to build off the success of last season into this year by winning the Big 12 championships, regionals and making nationals. The team is currently ranked 23rd in the 2017 NCAA DI Cross Country Women’s National Coaches’ Poll.

Coming off a win at the Hawkeye Invitational two weeks ago, the team still has a lot to prove. The team welcomes in seven new freshmen to an already young team. The key for Frisbie and the team is to not let the rankings, whether it be for the team or personal rankings, affect their mindset.

“We would rather be the underdogs that have a good day,” Frisbie said. “We have so much to prove this year and we are excited to get the season started.”