ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville men’s and women’s cross country squads open the 2013 season at Western Carolina on Friday when both squads participate in the Catamount Classic. The meet is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.


Both teams have high hopes entering the upcoming season as each Bulldog squad finished in the upper division of the Big South a year ago with fifth-place finishes.


Asheville coach Jesse Norman believes this is an excellent meet to begin the season.


“We really like what we see from each team in the preseason,” declared Norman. “We’ve posted some great times and shown a lot of improvement from last year.


“Opening at Western Carolina will be a nice test for both squads,” added Norman. “We’ll know a little more about each team after Friday night.”


After the meet at WCU, the Bulldogs have two weeks off before hosting the Cross Country Carnival at Asheville Christian Academy on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 9 a.m.


The women’s team will be led this year by fifth-year senior Melanie Kulesz. She’s been an All-Conference performer twice and looks ready to have a big senior season. Junior Adrian Etheridge has also looked impressive in early workouts.


On the men’s side, junior Kevin Paradise has been the Bulldogs top runner the last two years. He’ll bring a lot of experience to this year’s club. Asheville has a solid sophomore and freshmen class that will push the upper classmen in 2013.


“Both teams have more depth since I’ve been here,” stated Norman. “Having that kind of depth pushes everyone to get better in every practice and every meet.”