Charlotte, N.C.-  The Charlotte men’s and women’s cross country teams open their season, Friday, August 30, at the Carolina Challenge hosted by the University of South Carolina, in Columbia, S.C. at Hilton Field course located on Fort Jackson. 

Both teams will be running the 5,000 meter course to open the season.  The women’s race will begin at 6 p.m. and the men’s will begin at 6:45 p.m.

The 49ers enter the season with a veteran dominated roster with a lot of depth.  Charlotte returns three seniors on the men’s side, Daweet Dagnachew, Ross Roberson, and Eleazar Garcia.  The women’s team returns two seniors, Nicole Morgan and Maraya Slatter.

The 49ers bring back their top runners for both sides, Morgan Richards and Zach Greth.  “We have a lot of runners coming into the season that can challenge to be in the top five,” said Coach Ed Schlichter.

Charlotte welcomes four newcomers, Kent Mann, Carolina Casin-Silva, Aleisha Murell and Kim Spano to help bolster this roster. 

Charlotte started their training a little different this year by taking part in VO2 Max training at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, N.C.  VO2 Max is the volume of oxygen that can be carried throughout the body during maximal effort.  This test allowed the teams to understand where they were at in their training and getting the most out of their training.

Competing against the 49ers this Friday will be South Carolina, Charleston Southern, The Citadel, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Presbyterian, South Carolina State and USC Beaufort. The men's field consists of South Carolina, The Citadel, Coastal Carolina, Davidson, Presbyterian, South Carolina State and USC Beaufort.

Charlotte look to get their feet wet before really jumping into full swing, when they come home and host the Charlotte Invitational on Sept. 28 at McAlpine Park.

SPECTATOR DIRECTIONS: Fans wanting to come to the free event must have a government-issued photo I.D. for all attending plus proof of car insurance and vehicle registration for the driver to get on the base. The best entrance for fans to enter is the main gate, Gate 2, which enters Fort Jackson from Forest Drive (Exit 12 on Interstate 77). After passing through security in the far-right lane, go one mile on Strom Thurmond Drive before taking a left at the light onto Lee Drive. When the road dead ends, turn right onto Hampton Parkway. The cross country course will be a half mile ahead on the right.