Cal Poly's track and field program had two significant recruiting tools as it tried to lure Centennial teammates Chloe Carlson and Shelby Rothberg.

Those would be Chloe Carlson and Shelby Rothberg.

The pair, you see, has run track together since the seventh grade and been best friends nearly as long.

So when the Mustangs extended scholarship offers to both, and Rothberg accepted almost immdiately -- well, you can probably guess the rest.

"Here's to five more years with my best friend," said Carlson, who followed Rothberg's commitment to San Luis Obispo after also considering Nebraska.

"We knew in the back of our heads that it would be pretty cool to go to the same college, but we figured that was too good to be true," Carlson said.

The runners, along with Centennial senior Lauren Cowden, who signed to play softball for Central Methodist University in Fayette, Mo., celebrated their college announcements Monday at Centennial.

For Carlson, who finished third in the Central Section in the 400 meters last year, and Rothberg, who was fourth in the 100, friendship begins with a common feeling toward their sport.

"We both don't really like it -- at all," Rothberg said to laughter around Centennial's library.

"It's that last lap of the 4x400 relay, the nerves, the anxiety," Rothberg added later. "Both of us just kind of hate that, but then everything's fine when it's over. That's one of the reasons we're friends, because we help each other with that."

And they happen to be doing fine. They both again rank in the section's top 10 in their signature individual event, both are in the top 12 in the 200 meters and are part of Centennial's 1,600 relay, which owns the school record and ranks sixth in the section.

At Cal Poly, they'll try to continue that success -- together.

"We're excited to be competing at a higher level, but never in a million years did we think we'd be able to do it together," Rothberg said. "It's such a blessing that it happened this way."

Cowden felt the same way about being able to play softball in college. She had considered some other schools for academics only but ultimately decided she wanted to play for CMU.

"It's a small school, all the people are really nice, and it's been my dream since I was little to play college-level softball," Cowden said. "Now that it's here, it's kind of surreal."

Centennial interim athletic director Wayne Cherry said a third Golden Hawks track athlete, Bryn Williamson, also had signed a Division I letter of intent.

Williamson, whose speciality is the pole vault, will compete at Cal State Fullerton after clearing 11-6 at last weekend's Reedley Invitational. That mark ranks third in the Central Section this season.