LEVELLAND — The South Plains College track and field program has been a perennial power since its birth, resulting in an influx of national title trophies and a growing list of athletes who move on to four-year universities when their time in Levelland comes to an end.
That list grew by nine Wednesday afternoon at a signing ceremony held at the Texan Club.
Sophomore Adrian Williams, who finished second in the men's javelin at the 2017 outdoor national meet, will take his talents to the South Eastern Conference to compete for the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
"Just like coach Vance said, Mississippi State has a really good javelin program, and I know some of the guys that go there, so I'm looking forward to working with them," Williams said.
Jordan Atkinson, a sophomore sprinter from Amarillo will travel 30 miles down highway 114 to Lubbock to compete for Texas Tech University next season. Atkinson placed seventh a year ago in the 200 meters at the outdoor national meet and is excited to continue his career with the Red Raiders.
"Texas Tech has stuck with me through my entire recruitment process," Atkinson said. "They have a good medical program, and it feels like a family over there, so that's why I chose Texas Tech."
Keion Sutton will join Atkinson next season as he also signed with the Red Raiders on Wednesday afternoon. A transfer from Coffeyville Community College, Sutton will add depth to an already talented Texan program in 2018.
"I chose Texas Tech because it's a family organization," Sutton said. "They have everything to help me be an elite athlete and help me do things to live out my dream. I trust in their program and what they can bring to me and what I can bring to them."
Rayan Holmes, a sophomore sprinter from Jamaica will head to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season to compete for Clemson University. Holmes placed second in the men's 400 hurdles a year ago at outdoor nationals and will look to build upon that performance in 2018.
"The reason why I chose Clemson is because of the environment, and it's basically the same environment as back home," Holmes said. "I'm looking forward to being there and improving my career in track and field as well as my education."
Natassha McDonald, a 400-meter standout from Ontario, Canada will take her talents to Tuscaloosa next season to compete for the University of Alabama. McDonald was crowned national champion in the women's 400 meters at the 2017 outdoor national meet, which she followed up by winning the women's 400 meters at the Canadian Track and Field Championships on July 20.
"I chose Alabama because I felt like that was the perfect fit for me," McDonald said. "I trust coach Wiley and I know he will get me to the level I want to be at."
Houston native Leslie Romero inked her letter of intent to run for the Lady Bobcats of Texas State University in San Marcos. Romero recently earned a fourth-place finish at the 2017 NJCAA Cross Country National Championships in Iowa which saw the Lady Texans earn a seventh-place national finish.
"I chose Texas State because it's close to home and a beautiful campus," Romero said. "They have been champions in track and field for nearly 10 years now, and have recently started winning in cross country, and it's good to be a part of a winning team."
Poro Gahekave, a sophomore from Papua, New Guinea won't have to travel far as she will head to Lubbock next semester to compete for Lubbock Christian University. Gahekave has been an anchor for the Lady Texans during her time wearing the orange and blue and is excited for an opportunity to run at the next level.
"I chose Lubbock Christian because it's a small school and a Christian school," Gahekave said. "When I first came here I wasn't in good form, and coming to South Plains made me much better."
Fabian Edoki, a sophomore jump specialist from Nigeria inked his national letter of intent with Middle Tennessee State. Edoki, who sat out last season, helped the Texans capture the 2016 NJCAA Men's Outdoor National Championship, placing first in the long jump and second in the triple jump during his freshman campaign.
Kiona Bradshaw, a sophomore from Kingston, Jamaica will make her way to Atlanta to compete for Georgia State University. Bradshaw placed eighth a year ago in women's shot put and will look to prove herself as one the best in the country in 2018.