The brothers from Soperton, Ga. are coming off of a couple of top ten finishes from the NCAA South Regional 10K, in which Jacob finished No. 4 with a posted time of 31:20.2 and Kaleb finished No. 7 with a posted time of 31:25.1. Despite the heat and humidity of Tallahassee, Fla., the brothers ran incredible races that weekend and will be looking to duplicate that come Saturday.
This will be the first time since 2013 that a Belmont runner will compete in the National Championships, the last person being Matt Miller, and this will be the first time that Belmont sends two runners instead of one to compete at nationals.
Here's what head coach Jeff Langdon had to say on what this means for the program as well as what kind of training the brothers are partaking in this week:
"It's a great step forward for our program. These 2 guys have been the leaders all season and they are ready to mix it up with the nations best. This has been a light week of training. More of just getting them mentally prepared and talking about some potential race strategies."
Normally there is two weeks between races, so workouts tend to be heavier between that time, but there is only one week between regionals and nationals, so it makes complete sense why Jacob and Kaleb McLeod would be keeping workouts light in preparation for Nationals.
Though Jacob and Kaleb McLeod are representing Belmont University for this race, they will be competing as independent runners only. However, some of the runners competing in this race will be from teams, such as Eastern Kentucky of the OVC, Florida State and Ole Miss of the South Region, and Northern Arizona. Northern Arizona will be hoping to defend last years National Championship, and will be competing as the No. 1 team in the country.
Jacob and Kaleb McLeod were fortunate enough to race in Madison earlier this year when they ran at pre-nationals with the Bruins. In that 8K race, the Bruins finished 17th out of 35 teams. Jacob McLeod finished 28th with a time of 24:28.5, and Kaleb McLeod finished 135th with a time of 25:22.9.
At that race, conditions were wet with temperatures in the mid 40s. This time, Jacob and Kaleb will be racing in the coldest conditions of the year, as the high is likely to be 32 degrees on Saturday.
The race will begin 11:45 A.M. on Saturday at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course in Madison, Wis. Live results can be found on FloTrack.org.