CHARLOTTE, N.C. - After almost a two-week stretch of no competition, the Charlotte cross country team is preparing for its biggest meet of the season thus far as it heads to the Toledo Inter-Regional Bubble Buster on Friday, Sept. 21 at Ottawa Park Golf Course.

The meet is only in its second year of existence as  host University of Toledo has strived to make it one of the nation's largest meets. In its inaugural debut last year, the Bubble Buster attracted top-ranked teams from several Division I conference across the country. The meet was only open to female teams but due to its quick popularity of garnering top teams, the meet will include a men's race on Friday.

The event will kick off with the men's race (4-mile) at 5:10 p.m. and the women (2K) are tabbed for a 6:10 p.m. start.

Teams participating in the meet include Toledo, Butler, Ohio, Eastern Michigan, Columbia, Syracuse, San Francisco, BYU, Portland, West Virginia, Lipscomb, Navy, and Iowa.

BYU is ranked No. 3 in the Men's Cross Country National Coaches' Poll. Other nationally-ranked teams include No. 5 Portland, No. 13 Syracuse, and No. 29 Columbia.

Toledo enters the meet with the highest national ranking of any of its opponents, sitting at No. 18 in the Women's Cross Country National Coaches' Poll. Syracuse is No. 22, followed by No. 23 San Francisco and No. 25 West Virginia. 

The Niners have seen consistent efforts from its veterans and newcomers in their first two meets of the season. Sophomore Zach Greth has led the 49ers in both meets, turning in top ten performances.  Freshman Getisso Dentamo captured a 3rd place finish at the Charlotte Duals two weeks ago. In his first appearance of the season, Dentamo was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week, finishing the 5K with a time of 16:08. Chris Anderson, Eleazar Garcia, and Ben Sterett have also been steady runners for Charlotte.

Senior Hana Sutchar and Morgan Richards have been a dynamic duo for the Niners. The pair seized the top two spots at the Charlotte Duals, finishing just two seconds apart. Lauren Pollard has also been at the forefront for Charlotte during her freshman campaign.

"The returners are definitely looking sharp," said head coach Ed Schlichter. "Our newcomers have been standouts. It's been great watching them work out and lead some of the races. I'm really impressed by their work ethic and the training that they did over the summer to prepare for the season."

Charlotte will be competing against several teams who are in the top of their respective region. On the women's side, Toledo is ranked third in the Great Lakes region. Syracuse is also third, representing the Northeast region alongside Columbia who is No. 8. San Francisco is fifth in the West region.

For the men, Northeast region foes Syracuse and Columbia are second and third respectively. Representing the West Region is San Francisco tabbed at 15th.

The 49ers have continued to work hard since their last meet as they know that hard work and dedication will help them reach their goals.

"Our training has been going well," Schlichter said. "The team feels great after work outs and it's cool to see that. I like seeing the kids getting motivated to finish the workout and being upbeat to finish the last interval."

Charlotte returns home on Friday, Sept. 28 for the annual Charlotte Invitational at McAlpine Park, beginning at 3 p.m.