NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's cross country is among the marquee entries in the 2018 Wisconsin Pre-Nationals Saturday.
Belmont, ranked No. 4 in the South Region, will compete on the same Zimmer race course that hosts the 2018 NCAA National Championships Nov. 17.
The Bruins enter with confidence, placing third in the deep Louisville Classic field two weeks ago.
Belmont will run against 36 schools in total, including five of the top 10, and 15 of the top 40 programs in the nation.
Headliners include No. 22 Ole Miss, host school and No. 3 Wisconsin, and 2017 NCAA Champion and top-ranked Northern Arizona.
"This is a good chance for the cross country team to get a good feeling on where they are on the national level," said assistant coach, Joe Frye. "It's going to give us a good chance to be able to measure up how we compete against some of the better teams in the nation."
This will also be a good chance for freshman Jacob McLeod to see where he stacks up amongst the top runners in the country. McLeod has showcased fitness and race strategy which belie his years; three top 10 finishes, including victory in the Belmont Opener, ninth in the Vanderbilt Classic, and a sixth-place finish in the Louisville Classic.
Though the Bruins are coming into the meet with much momentum, the team is not expected to be walking on sunshine in this race. Cool temperatures and rain are in the forecast at the University of Wisconsin, but head coach Jeff Langdon's squad is laden with experienced harriers, used to a wide variety of race conditions.
With depth coming in the persons of McLeod, brother Kaleb McLeod, and seasoned internationals Matt Edwards, Declan McManus and Aidan Thompson, the Bruins are poised to make a splash in Badger country.
The Cardinal race begins at 11:30 a.m.