TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - - Belmont University men's cross country placed fourth at the NCAA South Regional Friday at Florida State University, the team's best finish in regionals since 2002.
OVC Freshman of the Year Jacob McLeod (Soperton, Ga.) continued his remarkable season, finishing fourth individually, qualifying for the 2018 NCAA Men's Cross Country Championship in Madison, Wis.
McLeod and the Bruins ran extremely tactical and disciplined races in the 10K, dealing with the heat and humidity of the Apalachee Regional Park course.
Down the stretch, the younger McLeod beat Ben Varghese of ETSU to the line; Varghese had dueled eventual individual champion Alfred Chelanga of Alabama for top honors for the lion's share of the race.
Kaleb McLeod (Soperton, Ga.) finished less than five seconds after Jacob, placing seventh in 31:25.1.
Matt Edwards (Glamorgan, Wales, UK) ran a likewise courageous race, placing 23rd to give Belmont a trio of United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-South Region runners.
All told, Belmont defeated seven Power 5 conference programs, including Georgia Tech and Alabama.
"Obviously we were hoping for a top-5 finish from Jacob, but Kaleb was so determined to stay with Jacob throughout and it paid off with a big time performance from him," said Belmont Head Coach Jeff Langdon. "We are hopeful that he will grab an individual qualifying spot for Nationals. He certainly deserves it."
Nationally-ranked Ole Miss placed five of the Top 15 to claim the team title.
Aside from Jacob McLeod's ticket to nationals, Kaleb and the Bruin team have compiled a resume worthy of NCAA at-large consideration.
Belmont will learn their fate Saturday, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. CT during the 2018 NCAA Division I Cross Country Selection Show on NCAA.com.
A History of Belmont Men's Cross Country NCAA Individual Qualifiers
William Kemey (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002)
Ryan Snellen (2004)
Matt Miller (2013)
Jacob McLeod (2018)
No. 4 Jacob McLeod, Fr., 31:20.2
No. 7 Kaleb McLeod, Jr., 31:25.1
No. 23 Mattie Edwards, Sr., 32:07.7
No. 53 Declan McManus, Jr., 32:53.0
No. 54 Aidan Thompson, Jr., 32:54.2
No. 86 Taylor Vroon, Fr., 33:45.3
No. 118 Chase Ballard, Jr., 34:51.6