BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Led by a talented distance crew, the Belmont men's track and field team will test itself against the best of the Ohio Valley Conference this week at the OVC Indoor Championships beginning Wednesday.
The two-day conference meet will be held at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Alabama this season, the culmination of the indoor track and field season. Action begins for the multi-events at 9 a.m. Wednesday with field events starting at 10 a.m. and the first event on the track at 4:15 p.m. A team champion will be crowned by Thursday afternoon.
A live video stream of the action is available both days through ESPN+ and the Watch ESPN app.
Belmont has several athletes ranked in the top 10 of the OVC's performance lists from this indoor season with a good chunk of those coming in the distance races. Placers must finish in the top eight at conference to score team points.
"The distance guys especially are really primed to go out and do some big things this week," said Belmont Associate Head Track and Field Coach Cameron Harvey. "We have some athletes with a shot to medal. We have a fair amount in many events that can place in the top eight and score us some points."
Freshman Jacob McLeod (Soperton, Ga.) and junior Aidan Thompson (Dunfermline, Scotland) are Nos. 3 and 4 in the 3,000 meters – both with times in the 8:16 range – after each surpassed the school record in the event less than three weeks ago at the Music City Challenge. McLeod and his junior brother, Kaleb, are fifth and sixth respectively in the 5,000 as well.
Thompson will also run in the mile race, in which he is seeded seventh.
Belmont has one athlete seeded first overall in junior pole vaulter Braden Carei (Uniontown, Pa.), who won the 2017 OVC indoor championship before missing last season due to injury. He set the school record of 4.91 meters with that vault two years ago.
Other athletes to watch include senior Nate Nammour (Tampa, Fla.) in the 400 meters, junior Drake Mitchell (Nashville, Tenn.) in the heptathlon, senior Stephen Gibson (Tuscola, Ill.) in the shot put and weight throw, freshman Reece Davidson (Arvada, Colo.) in the shot put, junior Christian Gonzales (Orinda, Calif.) in the 800 meters; and freshman Noah Grimm (Brighton, Mich.) in the high jump.
Kaleb McLeod, Nammour, Mitchell and Gibson also logged third-place finishes at last season's indoor championships.
"Both the men's and women's teams have been trending in the right direction this year," Harvey said. "I think we'll be seeing a lot of season bests at conference."
Belmont finished fourth at the OVC Indoor Championships last season.