On Monday, the three-time state track qualifier committed to Western Michigan University.
“I’m super excited a new step in my life,” Lonabarger said. “Not only am I going to Western, but I’m going to be on a new team that will become like my family. (Edison) has made me who I am. This is a great school and I’m going to miss everybody — especially my coaches and my friends.”
Lonabarger still has to complete her final track season as a Lady Charger.
“I want to finish strong,’’ she said. ”My goal is to go to state and win state.’’'
As a freshman, Lonabarger finished eighth in the state tournament in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 47.19 seconds.
In her sophomore season in 2014, Lonabarger was 10th in the preliminaries at state at 15.6 seconds.
A year ago, Lonabarger was 12th in the 100 hurdles preliminaries at state (15.41).
At Saturday’s Edison Invite, Lonabarger scored a pair of first-place finishes in the long jump (16-feet-3.75 inches) and 100 hurdles (15.84), where she also holds the meet record in 15.39. She was also the final leg on Edison’s 400 relay winning .
At the 2015 Sandusky Bay Conference championships, she won the 100 hurdles (15.88), third in the 100-meter dash (12.9) and fourth in the 300 hurdles (49.1).
As a sophomore, she won the SBC title in the 100 dash (12.98) as well as the 100 (15.93) and 300 hurdles (46.81).
In 2013 as a freshman, Lonabarger also won the 100 (16.03) and 300 hurdles (47.72).
At WMU, Lonabarger will be contending as a hurdler, but she is also open to obtaining additional roles.
“I know for sure that I’ll be a hurdler, but I’m excited to find out what else I can become,” she said.
Lonabarger received much praise from the Edison girls’ track coach Dean Shelley.
“She’s been exceptional the last three years for us,” Shelley said. “To be honest, I don’t know much about Western Michigan, but I think any school that gets Caitlen will be fortunate to have her. I think if that’s what she chose then it’s going to be a good fit for her and they’ll be real happy to have her.”
Lonabarger’s father, James, added, “We’re extremely proud with what she has accomplished with athletics and academics. She could have played volleyball as well, but her true gift is definitely track. She’s pretty special. When you see her run you can see it.
“During the recruiting process it was pretty humbling to find out just how good she is,” he added. “When you start getting calls from schools all over the country, you start to realize you’ve got a pretty special kid there.”
Her mother Tonna is also quite ecstatic.
“I’m really excited. She’s worked really hard academically to get the grades. As a freshman all the way through her senior year, she’s come to understand how hard work pays off to reach a goal. I’m just very proud of her.”