MELISSA — Melissa sisters Karrington Lewis, 18, and Kaylee Lewis, 14, have punched their tickets to the AAU Junior Olympics in Detroit, July 29-August 5. Both girls, racing with their North Texas Jackrabbits club team, achieved this success at the AAU Region 18 Qualifier in Burleson, Texas, July 1-2. There, Karrington won a gold medal with her 4x100 relay team and also qualified in the 200-meter dash. Kaylee took gold in four events: the 200 meters, the 100 meters, the 4x100 relay and the 4x400 relay.


Karrington graduated from Melissa High School in June and will attend Abilene Christian University this fall on a track scholarship. Kaylee will be a freshman at Melissa and hopes to attend the University of Oregon. Competing at this qualifier were athletes age 8-and-under through 18, divided into nine age groups.


Karrington’s first-place 4X100 relay time in her division was 45.62 seconds and her fourth-place qualifying time in the 200 was 25.4 seconds. Kaylee’s first-place times in her division were: 12.51 seconds in the 100; 25.62 seconds in the 200; 47.94 seconds in the 4X100 relay; and 3 minutes, 56.64 seconds in the 4X400 relay.


“I felt like I could’ve done better,” Karrington said before a workout with her sister on Thursday, July 6. “I wasn’t feeling 100 percent, but you can’t really control that part. I qualified so that’s all that really matters right now.”


Kaylee said she’d been a bit nervous at the qualifier. Said Karrington, “I don’t get as nervous for things anymore. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing.”


Kaylee and Karrington are the daughters of Fred and Candace Lewis of Melissa, where the family has lived since 2006.


“It was exciting, it was hot,” Fred Lewis said of his girls’ qualifying meet. “And it was a very, very proud moment because they were running against stiff competition from all throughout the region. For them to perform well was a treat. It put a smile on our faces, that’s for sure.”


“It was bitter-sweet, because it was Karrington’s last year running in the Junior Olympics,” Candace Lewis said. “She’s going on to college. And then to have Kaylee come up and qualify and have them both go to the Junior Olympics (Karrington’s) last year is pretty exciting. We’re really proud of both of them.”


Fred Lewis noted that this is nothing new for Karrington and Kaylee. As best the family can recall, both girls have competed in the AAU Junior Olympics at least four times now.


“I just try not to think about it too much,” Karrington said. “I used to have a habit of overthinking things, so I didn’t do very well. Now I just let it happen.”


Likewise, Kaylee said she tries to “just focus and not let things around me get in my head.”


The Lewis’s son Kennedy will be a junior at Melissa this year and plays varsity football and basketball for the Cardinals and also runs track. He just finished competing with Melissa at the State 7-on-7 tournament in College Station. In fact, the Lewises left directly from there to the Burleson meet, scheduled to begin the next day.


“Plenty of hotel stays, plenty of travel – and a whole lot of sun,” Fred Lewis said of the family adventure.


So what does Kennedy think about having two speedy sisters?


“I don’t know,” Karrington said. “I guess he’s proud. I mean, he tells us, ‘Good job’ when we finish.”


Karrington holds Melissa school records in the 100 and 200 meters.


“Not yet,” Kaylee said when asked if she planned to set her own Lady Card marks. “I haven’t really thought about it.”


The AAU is a nonprofit, multi-sport organization dedicated to the promotion and development of amateur athletes and physical fitness programs, one of the largest of its kind in the United States. It claims to have approximately 700,000 participants and over 150,000 volunteers.


“I just want them to enjoy it, do their best and do what God has blessed them with,” Candace said of her daughters’ upcoming Junior Olympics turn. “I mean, use their talents. He has truly blessed them, all three of my kids.”