TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - - Belmont University men's cross country senior Kaleb McLeod (Soperton, Ga.) placed 92nd Saturday in the 2019 NCAA Cross Country National Championships at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course.
McLeod, who alongside his brother Jacob endured snowy and blustery conditions in Madison, Wisconsin last year at nationals, improved his individual finish by 20 seconds and over 100 places in the demanding 10k. The Soperton, Georgia native battled through muddy race conditions and outpaced decorated runners from Power Five conferences and mid-major strongholds, writing his place in Belmont history.
"Kaleb got out well the first mile and gradually moved up throughout the race," Director of Cross Country Jeff Langdon said. "It was an absolute mud bath out there, but Kaleb kept his cool and didn't let it affect him. I think last year's experience was a huge benefit. Only four-time qualifier William Kemey has finished higher at the NCAA Championship for Belmont."
Starting in 108th place with a 9:09.1 time at the 3000 meter mark, McLeod moved up six places at the 5000 meter mark with a split of 6:30.9. The senior moved up 13 places at the 8000 meter mark with a time of 25:23.6, finishing with the 10,000 meter race with a time of 31:56.3.
McLeod joins William Kemey as only the second Belmont male distance runner to reach multiple national meets while earning USTFCCCA All-South Region honors four consecutive seasons.
BYU won the team national title, while Edwin Kurget of Iowa State won the individual championship.