MELISSA — In the middle of a busy month, Priscilla Adejokun, Karrington Lewis and Elijah Mackey were able to find the time to sit still long enough to put pen to paper and pose for pictures.
For Lewis and Mackey, time is something they have tried to decrease over their careers while Adejokun measure her success in inches, then feet.
Part of a standout senior track and field class at Melissa, the trio signed letters of intent to compete at the next level on Monday.
Adejokun is headed to Rice, Lewis selected Abilene Christian and Mackey is off to Rogers State University.
All of that comes after what they hope will be another state trip to state. Melissa had the District 11-4A meet last week and is at the District 11/12-4A area meet this week with the top four advancing to the 4A Region II meet later this month. The top two places there, plus one wild card, will compete at state May 11-13 in Austin.
Adejokun, who is also a multiple state qualifier in powerlifting and won her weight class as a sophomore, just missed a medal last year with a fourth-place finish in the shot put at the 4A meet on a throw of 39 feet, five and a quarter inches.
Her efforts this season have already surpassed that number — she threw 43 feet, six inches at the District 11-4A meet and her personal best was 44 feet, four and a half inches, which would have earned silver a year ago, earlier this month.
“I still have another shot,” said Adejokun, noting the pun as it left her mouth. “I was pretty excited about everything senior year would bring. Beating myself, throwing a certain distance, that’s all I can try to do. Then I’ve known I’ve done my best.”
Adejokun is also trying to qualify for state in the discus. She was the 11-4A runner-up with a toss of 126 feet, three inches but has gone past 135 feet, which would have been third at state last spring.
She chose the Owls over Abilene Christian, SMU and Baylor. She will also have the chance to throw the javelin and hammer as well.
“I really liked the atmosphere of Rice. It was a good, homey atmosphere,” Adejokun said. “The students seemed to match my personality. My very first encounter with Rice was near the end of my junior year and they were the first school to reach out to me.”
Rice earned the program’s fourth Conference USA Outdoor Track title and first since 2009 this past May and had two athletes compete at the NCAA Championships.
Then it was the women’s runner-up at the Conference USA Indoor Track Championships, finishing just three points behind UTEP. The Owls won three individual titles, had nine receive all-conference recognition and one advance to the NCAA Championships.
There are four throwers on the roster this academic year but two of them are seniors. Rice had two of the top three shot putters in the conference last spring.
Lewis’ main events are the 100 and 200 and was a part of the mile relay that finished fourth in 4A at the state meet last spring. At the 11-4A meet she won the 100 meter dash in 12.10 seconds (her PR is 12.05) and was on the winning 800 relay but had a false start in the 200.
As a junior she was the district champion in the 100, 200 and on the winning mile relay. Lewis teamed with Erin Eichel, Jill Gray and Maddie Kane as the region runner-up in that relay and was a second from earning a bronze medal at state with a time of 4:01.90. She was just short of making state as a wild card in the 100 with a third-place finish at regionals in 12.38 seconds. In her freshman year she was part of Melissa’s state qualifying mile relay.
“It’s kinda been up and down for me. I’ve struggled with injuries so I haven’t been able to go in an individual event,” Lewis said. “That’s a big goal, to get there in the 100.”
This past summer she was part of a silver medal 400 relay at the AAU Junior Olympics and a gold medal 1,600 relay at the AAU National Championships with the North Texas Jackrabbits, her club team.
She chose AC over West Texas A&M, SMU and Louisiana Tech.
“I chose Abilene Christian because I like their values. That’s what I’m trying to be like,” Lewis said. “That was really a big decision. It just felt right.”
Abilene Christian is one of the most storied programs, having won 26 national titles on the women’s side when it was at the Division II level. AC last won an indoor title in 2000 and an outdoor crown in 2008 before moving up to Division I in 2013.
This past fall the team finished fifth at the Southland Conference Indoor meet and had a fourth-place finish, its best since moving up, at the conference’s outdoor meet.
Mackey ended up in long distance events after he didn’t make the freshman basketball team. Since then he has continued to improve and was 10th at the 4A state cross-country meet this past fall with a time of 16:14.16 — in a virtual tie with ninth-place Christian Rivera of Kaufman and three seconds from a top-five finish.
He won the Class 4A Region II title and led the Cardinals to the team title and the state meet with a time of 16:16.26, a little more than 20 seconds ahead of the runner-up.
It was an improvement over his spot at state as a junior, which was 63rd in 18:06.
He chose Rogers State over Cameron and Southwest Assemblies of God.
“They have a really good team and a really good coach and that kinda sealed the deal,” Mackey said. I would like to go in and be one of the top runners.”
As a junior, he finished sixth in the region meet in the 3,200 at 10:20.74 and seventh in the 1,600 with a time of 4:45.67 — times he is well ahead of already this season.
“I upped my mileage. It was a fair amount of work I had to put in. It’s paid off now,” Mackey said. “I’m going to go out there, race hard and hopefully things fall into place.”
Rogers State, a Division II program in Claremore, Okla., competes in the Great American Conference. It is a relatively new team as the school added it in the fall of 2015.
Rogers State was picked fifth in the preseason GAC poll this spring. Last season it had one-first team and seven second-team all-conference selections.