NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont track and field teams will split their squads in the second week of their outdoor season this weekend. The majority of the Bruins will head to Cape Girardeau, Mo., for the Joey Haines Invitational, while a select few distance runners are in Raleigh, N.C., for the heralded Raleigh Relays.
Both meets begin Friday and run through Saturday. For the Raleigh Relays meet, live video (Friday and Saturday) and live results will be available. Results for the Joey Haines Invitational will not be available until the conclusion of the meet.
The Raleigh Relays provide some of the best competition for middle and long distance racers in the early portion of the outdoor season, said Belmont Assistant Track Coach Kate Bucknam.
"Our athletes will definitely be in some more challenging races than they've been seeing before with a lot of people running around their personal-record times," Bucknam said. "That's what makes going to this meet so great. The competition level is so high."
Among those taking to the track in North Carolina are junior Kortney Schardt (Lindenhurst, Ill.) and freshman Claire Cheeseman (Brentwood, Tenn.) in the women's 5,000 meters, freshman Jacob McLeod (Soperton, Ga.) in the men's 5,000, junior Declan McManus (Worcestershire, England) in the men's 3,000 steeplechase, junior Kaleb McLeod (Soperton, Ga.) in the men's 10,000 and junior Ben Weisel (Nashville, Tenn.) in the men's 1,500.
While that group is duking it out with the top competition in the region, the rest of the Bruins will be getting a look at this season's Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Championship site. Southeast Missouri's Abe Stuber Track Complex will host this week's meet as well as the conference championship May 9-11.
"It's really beneficial, especially for the field event athletes," explained Belmont Associate Head Coach Cameron Harvey of the championship preview opportunity. "While every track is very similar, each facility's layout is a little different around the track. You get an idea of where the wind is coming from and what you need to do to adapt."