Claire Pedrick can finally focus on ending her high school career on a high note.
The Mainland Regional High School track and field sprinter recently signed her national letter of intent to complete for NCAA Division I Lehigh University.
“It’s so relieving,” said Pedrick, 17, of Somers Point. “Now I can just finish out senior year and have fun.
“For track (the recruitment process) starts years in advance, so for it to finally be over is like a weight off my shoulders.”
Prior to the signing, Pedrick was also considering Davidson College in North Carolina. She was also recruited by Towson (Maryland) and Stony Brook (New York).
The campus, team and academics at Lehigh ultimately won her over.
“I went there three times before I committed,” Pedrick said, “and (with) the girls (on the track and field team) and the coaches, I feel like that’s where I can be successful at track; and the academics are perfect for me and what I want to do.”
Pedrick will study in the university’s College of Business.
With her senior indoor and outdoor track seasons ahead of her, she already has the school records for the indoor 55-meter (7.36 seconds) and 200-meter (24.84). The two-time Cape-Atlantic League all-star is also a member of Mainland’s record-holding relays for the for 4x100, 800-meter sprint, shuttle hurdle and distance medley.
Mustangs head coach Mike Colombo knew she was special in her very first track season in 2016-17.
“In the winter season, we had talked about what pace I wanted her to hit, and I think we wanted her to run a (1 minute, 9 second) 400,” Colombo said.
“As she came across the finish line, she was looking at me and pointing at the clock saying that she had beaten that time.
“She went from that 1:09 in winter all the way down to 58 (seconds) outdoors... When you have a freshman that’s under 59 seconds, you know you have something special.”
Lehigh’s track and field teams compete in the Patriot League with Navy, Holy Cross, Army West Point, Lafayette and Bucknell. The Mountain Hawks had eight athletes earn All-East distinction at last year’s Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America/Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships. They went 2-0 in dual meets, and finished third at the Lafayette Invitational on March 30.