Webb School cross-country star Abby Faith Cheeseman racked up a second consecutive Top-15 finish at the 44th annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championships National …
Webb School cross-country star Abby Faith Cheeseman racked up a second consecutive Top-15 finish at the 44th annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championships National Finals in San Diego, California, on Saturday.
Hailed as one of the favorites coming in, in part due to her fourth place finish a year ago, Cheeseman qualified by finishing in the top ten in the South region on December 2nd. She came into Nationals with a plan of attack and started off the 5k race well.
“I think I put myself in a pretty good position to meet those [higher expectations for herself] and just wasn’t able to close very hard,” Cheeseman said. “The course out there is always tough…but I still tried to use the terrain to my advantage, especially by powering up the hills.”
She also expressed a little remorse over how she finished the race but was proud of her performance overall.
“I am really proud of my effort even though it wasn’t exactly the result I was hoping for,” she continued. “I am so grateful that I was able to finish as well as I did with a pretty slow last 1,000 meters.”
“If I had to change anything, I may have moved up a little more before 1.5 miles, but I really feel like I executed the race about as well as I could have.”
Cheeseman also expressed extreme gratitude and humbleness as she recognized how big of a deal it is to race for her local community back home in Tennessee.
“It is an amazing honor to represent my community and Webb at a national level!” she exclaimed. “Even though I am racing for a different team [the South region], it is my friends, especially on my Webb team, the faculty, and most of my family that have gotten me to this point and watched, helped, and led me through it all.”
In the end, she finished with a very impressive time of 17:56.3, good enough for 13th place out of the 40-person field. Cheeseman, who goes by Abby Faith, has qualified for the Foot Locker National Finals every year of her high school career. As a freshman in 2021, she finished 31st, and of course had that fourth-place finish in her sophomore season last year, both of which she was able to draw on to help her with her junior year race.
“I really enjoyed the experience last year, but this year was even sweeter because I have deeper connections with many of the girls and could really appreciate the team aspect and race with and for the South team even more,” she said. “I am not sure why I lost my legs like I did at the end, but this race has even led me closer to Christ and reminded me that He has a plan outside my control.”
Cheeseman continued to express her thankfulness to her savior, and she looks to continue her success into her senior year in 2024.
“I think the previous two years here have taught me to be confident in myself and to continue to trust in Christ and propelled me to spiritual maturity that allows me to be at peace with my race,” she reflected. “Also, I have learned a balance of appreciating and not underestimating the level of competition while also remembering that I don’t have to change the way I race or who I am to run well at a higher level.”
“My previous experiences have allowed me to take even more out of today; I want to keep investigating and analyzing to see what I can improve upon and what I did well both during and after the race,” she concluded.
Cheeseman looks forward to an exciting senior campaign where she can utilize everything that she has learned in her first three appearances at Nationals. She begins her quest to return to San Diego in the fall of 2024.