While Carter Cheeseman wasn't necessarily happy with his race on Saturday at Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon, there was at least one thing to consider.
"It's good to get one under my belt," the Fort Worth Christian (TX) High junior said. "It's my first big-time national race like this. So it's just good experience wise."
Plus, Cheeseman will have ample opportunity to bounce back on Dec. 9 at Foot Locker Nationals in San Diego, California.
Don't expect Cheeseman to finish his fall without a big move. The former Tennessee star who transferred to Texas over the offseason has had a killer season in 2017 and could go toe-to-toe with the top contenders at Balboa Park.
There remains a handful of top contenders heading into the individual championship on Saturday. That includes Lyons Township's (IL) Danny Kilrea, Buckeye Valley's (OH) Zach Kreft, RJ Reynold's (NC) John Tatter and Whitney Young's (IL) Clayton Mendez, among others.
"(NXN) didn't really pan out the way I hoped," he said. "I got out decently well, but I kept falling back. I felt my body didn't really have it today. It's unfortunate. But just to be here is exciting, so I'm thankful for the opportunity to enjoy the race."
His PR came in September at the Keller Invitational with a time of 14:42.44, though Cheeseman finished seventh at Great American (15:12.90), won NXR South (15:34.07) and was fourth at Foot Locker South (15:06.0).
He's raced a couple different ways this season -- toggling between attack-mode and build-up tactics -- but Saturday could mark a point in Cheeseman's season when he all puts it together.
He's one of a handful of athletes who have an opportunity to make a statement in San Diego.
If anything, pay attention to 'The Cheese.'