Athlete of the Week: Kaleb McLeod
5:56 PM, Oct. 16, 2013 EDT
One of the fastest kids in the state resides at Trinity Christian School in Dublin.
Kaleb McLeod is only a junior, but he already has a resume full of accomplishments.
He is also focused in the classroom, so for those combined talents, he is also our 'Athlete of the Week.'
"I started in 6th grade in track, and I won my first race and I fell in love with it, and I've been running ever since," Kaleb said.
Little did Kaleb know that he would win countless more races from that young start a few years ago.
The cross-country runner is only a junior, but he already has two state titles under his belt.
Evan Winegarner is his coach and figures Kaleb is a good bet to win another title this year with the times he's logging right now.
"A 15:43 is going to get him a state title, and although that would get him a state title, but he's not going to be satisfied with that," Winegarner said.
You heard right! A third state title is great, but not good enough. You see, Kaleb wants to compete with the most elite runners in the country.
"The race he wants to run later on is the Regional Foot Locker Neet in Charlotte, North Carolina, and he's hoping to be on Team Georgia," Winegarner explained.
"It's basically like the top ten runners in the state," McLeod said. "If your team does well, you get to go to nationals and compete against all the states."
Just this past week, Kaleb posted a new personal record of 15:11 and blew away his other competitors by a full minute in a cross-country race.
He's on pace to reach all of his goals. Winegarner says it doesn't come easy, Kaleb just guts it out to get the job done.
"I can tell him to go run five miles and then he wants to go home and run another four miles, so there may be nights where he runs nine to ten miles and not think twice about it," Winegarner said.
"I push to the finish line and each step I see, it's getting closer and closer, and I know I've just gotta give it my all," McLeod explained.
He gives it his all in every aspect of his life.
This is a guy whose motor just doesn't turn off.
Kaleb sports a 3.62 overall grade point average. Which means his transcript is mostly As with a scattering of Bs.
"He's a quiet kid, so he's not very verbal in the classroom, I don't think, but he just really studies hard and gets into the books," Winegarner said.
"I ultimately want to run in college and do cross-country and track and just try to get a scholarship with that," McLeod projected.
Winegarner says there are schools out there that have Kaleb on their radar, but since he is a junior, they can't make contact just yet.
The coach says if his junior keeps up the pace and stays interested in the sport, it's not out of the realm of possibility that one day he contend for an Olympic spot.