Brodey Hasty had said earlier in the week that if the Brentwood Cross Country Club raced up to its potential on Saturday at NXR Southeast, then it would be a successful day.
Qualification to NXN or not.
But it was hard to really predict what this team would do entering NXR SE at WakeMed Park.
As the first program in NXN history to race at a regional without having run over the high school season, the team was not only trying to make history, but it was also trying to figure itself out.
But even if Brentwood wanted to fly under the radar, that was impossible, too. Moments before the gun went off, the team was called out by NXR's deejay as a potential sleeper to win the meet.
Still, despite all of that, and despite the motivations of its competitors, and the despite the lack of racing, and despite history, Brentwood actually exceeded expectations.
The program finished sixth overall, just 28 points outside of a possible fourth-place finish and a chance at an at-large bid.
But more than that, every member of the team, outside of Hasty -- whose previous best was a course record here at WakeMed in 14:32 -- ran their personal best.
Hasty won the meet for the third straight year in 14:36 and may still have more in the tank for NXN on Dec. 2.
After finishing, the senior -- uncommitted with another college visit planned after NXN -- walked along the siding of the finishing chute and began to count runners ...5 ...6. ...7 ...8
"I was trying to count some places," he said at the time. "I don't know how our 3-4-5 did, but Scott got (ninth) and I think there's an outside shot. It's the waiting game."
Brentwood eventually missed the cut.
But really, Hasty's aspirations did come true.
Senior Scott Thompson, who had overcome an injury that kept him out of much of the season, ran his first full 5K for the first time in a year and hit an 11-second PR, finishing one spot outside an individual qualification to NXN in 15:19.4.
Junior Elias Sandifer maneuvered his way from back in the pack after the 2K mark to finish just five seconds shy of breaking 16, posting a 37-second PR from the adidas XC Challenge.
"I think that all of our guys will be happy at the end of this race," he said. "I think we all worked really hard and we've been training all season for this race. Either way, we'll be happy."