RTHS Eagles qualify three for IHSA Class 2A State prelims

MONTICELLO — They were good the entire season.

But, as the girls high school track season has only one more meet left, that being the Illinois High School Association State Championships, which will take place Thursday-Saturday at O'Brien Field on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Mye'Joi Williams, Lovenya Perry and Tanaya Young have simply gotten better and better.

On Thursday in Monticello, they each earned a trip to the state preliminary round. The prelims for the IHSA Class 2A schools will take place on May 18 during the morning hours.

Williams’ sectional championship throw at Dwight B. Wilkey Sports Complex in Monticello is currently ranked third in the state among Class 2A throwers. Williams, who threw 43 feet, five inches in the sectional, won the sectional title easily. The second-place finisher, Urbana junior Michelle Williams, tossed the shot put 37-4.5.

Mye'Joi Williams is one of five Class 2A throwers in the state that posted a throw of over 40-0 at the sectional final and was the top underclassman. She trails only Centralia senior Nikita Maines (44-10.5) and East St. Louis senior Evangelynn Harris (43-5.5).

Her throw at sectionals is the new RTHS record as well, as her throw bettered her toss of 40-10.75 of one week ago. If she can improve her throw this week by over two feet, she may find herself as the state champion. A top-12 throw among the state throwers on Friday will earn her a spot in the finals on Saturday.

A top-four finish in the long jump at Monticello puts you among the elite in long jumping in the state of Illinois in Class 2A. That is exactly where the freshman Young finds herself today and on Friday morning in the long jump finals. She recorded a leap of 17-4 qualified on leaping distance as traditionally only the top-two finishers qualify from the sectional. Young's jump is the ranked 11th in the state.

Urbana senior Ayianna Kelley-Weatherspoon won the Monticello Sectional with a jump of 18-2.75. Monticello's Emma Helferich (18-1.75) and Mattoon's Summerlyn Smith (17-4) took second and third, respectively.

The state's best jump in Class 2A is owned by Geneseo senior Erika Furbeck, who recorded a leap of 20-7 in the sectional. All athletes in the top 12 jumped 17-2.25 or better. If Young ends Friday morning prelims with a leap on the top 12, she will have an opportunity to compete for one of nine all-state medals. Young is one of two freshmen in the top 12.

The freshman Perry, who now owns the school record in the 400-meter dash, enters Friday's 400-meter dash with the 18th-best time. However, unlike the long jump and the shot put, the 400-meter dash will only take nine to the finals. One for every lane on the blue O'Brien Field Oval. If you are fortunate enough to make it out of the prelims on Friday, you simply have to cross the finish line to get a medal.

Perry, who now owns the school record in the 400-meter dash, finished second to Smith with a time of 1 minute, 0.02 seconds. Smith, a Mattoon junior, dashed to the finish line in :58.99. Mt. Zion freshman Sara Addai was right on Perry's heels, finishing in 1:00.07.

Raven Moore, a Springfield Southeast junior, has the top time of :57.28.  Everyone in the top nine has a time of :59.32 or better. Only three athletes that ran times that are in the top 20 are freshmen.

Rantoul would use the power of those three finishers to take seventh in the sectional with 36 points.

Monticello won the meet with 110.33 points.

Those were not the only Rantoul competitors involved in the sectional. The Eagles had several others that would finish in the top 10, including three relays. The 400-meter relay team of Amonica Anderson, Perry, Jaz-Meon McClyde and Young took fourth in :51.01.  Anderson and McClyde joined forces with Natayviea Baker and Remi Chipman to take sixth in the 800-meter relay. The foursome ran a time of 1:55.56. Perry, Baker and Chipman were also three parts of the 1,600-meter relay. The three and Montyiona Walker finished in 4:24.40.

Young also competed in the 100-meter dash (fifth, :12.85) and 200-meter dash (sixth, :27.17). Mye'Joi Williams took seventh in the discus (92-00).

Others that competed in the sectional for the Eagles included the following:

Kaylie Wilson, a senior, finished 13th in the discus (85-8) and 18th in the shot put (29-7.25).

Hope Russell, the only other senior on the team, took 16th in the 3,200-meter run (15.12.52).

Peyton Huls took 14th in the 1,600-meter run (5:57.80).

Anderson took 16th in the 200-meter dash (:28.74).

Walker took 20th in the high jump (4-5).

Noeloni Franklin took 22nd in the 800-meter run (3:21.97).

Dominique Owens took 23rd in the 400-meter dash (1:16.25).

Azaria Isom took 27th in the 100-meter dash (:15.44).

sports@rantoulpress.com

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