NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University cross country and track & field program director Jeff Langdon released the 2019 men's cross country schedule Wednesday.
Men's cross country, boasting 19 consecutive regional Top 15 rankings in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll and six conference championships, returns a pair of national qualifiers in senior Kaleb McLeod (Soperton, Ga.) and brother sophomore Jacob McLeod.
As has become tradition, Belmont will use the opening two months of the season to test themselves against the nation's best, all culminating in November with conference, regional and nationals meets in succession.
"This schedule sets us up nicely for what we ultimately want to accomplish at the end of the year," Langdon said. "We don't have to travel until the first week in October, which will allow us to get in some high level training throughout the month of September without concerning ourselves too much with our performances."
The Bruins will open the season in the Belmont Opener meet at Percy Warner Park Aug. 30. BU had five of the top seven finishers in its home meet last season in rolling to team victory.
From there, Belmont stays local, taking part in the annual Commodore Classic, also at Percy Warner Park. Traditionally a competitive blend of top schools from the SEC, ACC and Big Ten, the Bruins will start to round into form.
October brings two high-profile meets in the heart of the season: the Joe Piane Invitational Oct. 4 and the NCAA Pre-Nationals two weeks later. Each present a golden opportunity to bolster Belmont's regional rankings and add to its growing list of team victories over programs from Power 5 conferences.
"We will see the best of the best in October, no question," Langdon added. "It will be good for us. The course, depth of fields and weather conditions will prepare us well for the stretch run."
SIU Edwardsville will host the 2019 OVC Cross Country Championships Nov. 2. Belmont had four top 13 finishers last season.
The season then shifts to Florida State University for the 2019 NCAA South Regional meet. The 2019 NCAA National Championships will be at Indiana State University the final weekend of November,
In addition to the McLeods, Belmont men's cross country returns past All-OVC performers Aidan Thompson (Dunfermline, Scotland), Declan McManus (Worcestershire, England) and Ben Weisel (Nashville, Tenn.).
Belmont has 14 All-OVC selections in seven years of league membership.