The Rantoul High School boys track team competed and once again continued to break records after participating in the 2019 Charleston High School Invite on Saturday.
One of the biggest wins for Rantoul came from Jerry Harper, who finished in first place in the 400-meter dash with a final time of 51.27 seconds. The result was a personal record for Harper. Harper beat Cahokia’s Darren West record by about a second. West finished at a time of 52.42 seconds. West was ranked second in the state for the 400-meter dash.
"He beat the No. 2-ranked guy in the state who was ranked right above him," said Mitch Wilson, Rantoul’s head coach. "They raced head to head yesterday. That was quite a performance for Jared. He wasn’t happy with his time, but he is way ahead of schedule compared to where he was at last year."
Rantoul’s Tayon Swift, Kayon Cunningham, Jerry Harper and Robert Buford finished third overall in the 4x200-meter relay with a final time of 1:36.72. Swift finished his time for the relay at 23.6 seconds, which is a personal record for him. Rantoul finished behind Alton (1:34.29) and Columbia (1:36.51).
Elijah Hall finished third in the 800-meter run with a final time of 2:04.09. Hall finished behind Normal West’s Charlie Wetzel (2:03.35) and Mascoutah’s Casmir Cozzi (2:01.63). Hall did beat his previous 800-meter run record of 2:05.13.
"Elijah Hall cut off a little more of a second of his 800 PR and finished third once again," Wilson said. "He is one of the guys when we get to conference and sectionals, there will be three or four events, but yesterday we just gave him one event to focus on. He really ran well in that open 800."
Another PR that was set came from Jonathan Gossett, who despite only finishing ninth (10:30.69) in the 3200-meter run, finished ahead of his previous record (11:04.83).
"He cut 34 seconds off his time, which he ran three weeks ago, which is pretty impressive," Wilson said. "He just had a great day. He was mentally prepared to run that 3200 meters really well." Rantoul finished ninth (out of 34) and set 13 personal records. "We weren’t worried necessarily about where the team would finish,"Wilson said. "We could have definitely scored a few more points if we loaded up at this meet like we did last weekend. We were more focused about getting some guys one more indoor meet before we get to outdoor season and giving some other guys some opportunities to compete."
The Eagles will be looking to see if anyone on the team will qualify for the Illinois Prep Top Times Meet which will take place on Saturday at the Illinois Wesleyan-Shirk Center in Bloomington.
"We’ll know a final list of guys on Monday night who qualified,"Wilson said. "That’s always an exciting track meet."
Contact Ben Theobald at firstname.lastname@example.org