By ROSEMARIE ROSS

Special to Tri County

BUCKTOWN - Meagan Wolf and Chris Edelman have been the premier runners of their Owen J. Roberts track and field team the past two years, especially in the 400-meters. Both captured the Pioneer Athletic Conference title in the 400 two straight years, both are key also members of the 4x400 relays teams, and both run the shorter sprints as well.

As chance would have it, each felt Division II Lock Haven University was the perfect place to continue their academic and track careers, with both getting partial athletic scholarships. They didn't get together, talk it over, plan it out, either, it just happened that way.

"I'm really glad Chris is going up there, too, we can look out for each other, " Wolf said. "He's going to make me feel more at home."

"It's cool, so appropriate because we're both 400 runners and now we're going to the same place," Edelman said. "It'll be fun that we both will have someone there we know."

Each checked out a number of schools.

"It just seemed the Lock Haven coach (Mark Elliston) wanted me the most out of all the schools I was talking to, he was so nice, " Wolf said. "And when I went to visit, I just felt really at home. It's really pretty there, I got along with the team very well, and I feel I can do really well there.

"They have a very good program and have four full-time coaches, so that will be great. They just took fourth place out of 13 in their (PSAC) conference for indoor track. They're going to be really good. I looked at Kutztown, Monmouth, East Stroudsburg and St. Joe's. Lock Haven was just the best fit."

She was told if she does well in her performances, her scholarship will be upped each year.

"I'm real excited about that," Wolf said. "I'll be running the 400, and the coach told me he's going to try and get a whole freshman 4x400 team ready because none of the girls there now run the 400 and they were like, 'Thank God we have a girl coming who's going to run the 400.' So I'm just going to run all my normal events there, the 400, 200 and 4x400."

Edelman first leaned heavily towards Penn State.

"Because Penn State was kind of a family thing," Edelman said. "Everybody on my dad's side went to Penn State. So it seemed that was kind of the thing I had to do. But I just felt Penn State was too big, I liked Lock Haven because it a little bit more of a smaller community. I liked the campus and the coach up there is real great. He's a real good guy who seems like he takes care of his athletes, as far as making sure they take good classes and making sure they stay out of trouble. I think I'm rooming with his son, who's going to be a freshman, too.

"I get some money, which is good. I heard good things about their (runners) times, they sound pretty fast. But it's like coming into high school, you're kind of at the bottom of the barrel and have to prove yourself to get onto the team. I'll have to work on earning a spot. "

Now both are looking forward to one last terrific spring track season at OJR.

"This is going to take off the pressure of finding a school and hoping all the college coaches are watching me," Wolf said. "But I still have personal goals this year. I want to break 57 (seconds, her best in he 400 is 57.31). But now I want to do it just for me this year."

"It'll take away the nervousness of thinking, 'Oh, where am I going to go?' I won't have to worry about that anymore so I can just concentrate on running," Edelman said. "I'm excited about the season. Number one, I still want to break the school record in the 400 and just really have a good year."

Wolf started preparing for high school track running for John Barber's Tri-County Express.

"And Mr. Barber knew I would be good in the 400, he knows what he is talking about," Wolf recalled. "He definitely led me to the right path. I hate it (the 400), but I love it. Running for Owen J. has been amazing, The best part was in 10th grade, when we won the PAC-10 championship and districts in the 4x400."

Edelman got his start at Owen J. Roberts Middle School.

"Seventh grade was my first year, and I was real competitive even then," Edelman said. "I wasn't fast enough to keep up with the eighth-graders in the 100 and 200, so I kind of kept pushing the distance till I found something I could compete in. And I kind of clicked in the 400 because it was long enough to let other people get tired and tough it out.

"Eighth grade, I ended up the middle school PAC-10 (400) champ. Ever since that, it's been my favorite race just because when I was younger I could compete against older kids in it. It's hard to run when you're not one of the better people because you don't know what you're running for. I can't wait for this season and to get out there. Meagan and I are always ganging up on people in the hall, telling them 'Oh, you'd be good in track.' "

Knowing them, they'll probably keep up the recruiting at Lock Haven as well.

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