Dashing duo

Belmont's Kaleb McLeod crossed the finish line in fifth place at the Commodore Classic 8K at Percy Warner Park on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2107.
Belmont's Kaleb McLeod crossed the finish line in fifth place at the Commodore Classic 8K at Percy Warner Park on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2107.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- One started quick, the other paced himself, but Belmont men's cross country runners Kaleb McLeod and Matt Edwards ended up together near the finish line.

The two Bruins went fifth and sixth at Vanderbilt's Commodore Classic on Saturday to help Belmont to a fifth-place overall finish with 110 team points.

Running with the leaders from the onset, the redshirt sophomore McLeod (Soperton, Ga.) held strong to finish the 8K race at Percy Warner Park in 25:09.0. Not two seconds behind him was his senior teammate Edwards (Glamorgan, Wales), who emerged from deep in the pack in the final mile to earn sixth in an 8K personal best 25:10.9.

"Hopefully he and I can work together, create a little pack and maybe drag a few other guys along to get us up there in the mix," said McLeod, who redshirted last fall after a highly successful freshman season in 2015.

Edwards was coming off a win two weeks ago at the Belmont Opener, his first in his NCAA career since arriving at Belmont as a junior. That 5K race was also contested at Percy Warner Park.

McLeod did not compete at that event, so Saturday was Belmont head coach Jeff Langdon's first chance to see the runner in live action this season.

"I was a little nervous about Kaleb," Langdon said of McLeod's early fast pace. "He ran hard the whole way, but he looked relatively comfortable. He's learning patience and has really matured a lot. He really knows his body now and I trust him and his racing strategy."

Behind the front-running Bruins, senior Matt Blivin (Durham, N.C.) finished in 24th in an 8K personal best 25:50.5, senior Anthony Didion took 29th in 25:56.8 and junior Kaden Eaton (Columbus, Ind.) was 46th in 26:13.2.

Now that his top two runners have established themselves, Langdon wants to see that next group step up.

Middle Tennessee State was first in team points with 64 followed by Butler's 68, Lipscomb's 92 and the 101 of Miami (Ohio). Butler sophomore Euan Makepeace was the top individual finisher in 24:39.8.

Belmont heads to the Louisville Classic next on Sept. 30.


FULL COMMODORE CLASSIC RESULTS

BELMONT FINISHERS

5 Kaleb McLeod, so., 25:09.0

6 Matt Edwards, sr., 25:10.9*

-- Taylor Vroon (unattached), fr., 25:45.4*

24 Matt Blivin, sr., 25:50.5*

29 Anthony Didion, sr., 25:56.8

46 Kaden Eaton, jr., 26:13.2

47 Ben Weisel, so., 26:15.3

49 Daniel White, fr., 26:20.6*

-- Jackson Vroon (unattached), fr., 26:20.8*

-- Luke Evans, sr., 26:45.6

-- Chase Ballard, so., 26:59.8

*Personal Record