By ROSS BROWNRantoul Press correspondentGIBSON CITY — Every game, every practice. Every team banquet, gathering and event. Roy Roemer attended them all.Roemer, 67, a longtime Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley sports fan, died Thursday night after a short battle with esophageal cancer.

STRAIGHT OUT OF THE RANTOUL PRESS SPORTS VAULT STARTED BY FORMER SPORTS EDITOR MATT DANIELS, WE TAKE A LOOK BACK AT THE 2016-17 AREA PREP SPORTS SCENE AND A LOOK AHEAD TO THE 2017-18 SCHOOL YEARRANTOUL PRESS MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEARDemarius SmithRantoul senior: Wrestling

URBANA — Rantoul athletics is looking to set the bar for excellence in sports and academics a little higher from here on out.Several student-athletes at Rantoul Township High School were honored with a special awards ceremony May 19 at the Urbana Country Club.

Rantoul Township High School celebrated its first-ever Hall of Fame game by welcoming back 26 members of the Eagles’ Hall of Fame and wearing 1990s throwback uniforms in a 79-58 win over Charleston. Hall of Fame members who were in attendance but not pictured: Jerry Zachary (1956 graduate), …

RANTOUL — Rantoul Township High School held its annual fall sports awards ceremony last Wednesday night.The ceremony honored all of the athletes who partook in cheerleading, football, golf, soccer, tennis and volleyball.

The Rantoul Eagles women's tennis team is currently 2-6 on the season and have taken 32 out of 69 individual matches.

RANTOUL — The fall athletics season for Rantoul Township High School gets underway Friday with the annual Eagles Kick-Off Night at Bill Walsh Field.The event begins at 5 p.m. with dinner being served by the RTHS athletics booster club by the concession area on the east side of the home bleachers.

RANTOUL — The tennis team from Rantoul Township High School should be better than it was a year ago.With four seniors sporting at least four wins each in singles competition last season, the 2016 campaign will have promise.

March 5IHSA Class 3A boys basketball regional tournament*6 p.m. —IESA seventh-grade volleyball regional tournament at St. MalachyMarch 6IHSA Class 3A boys basketball regional tournament*3:30 p.m. — J.W. Scholastic Bowl v. JeffersonMarch 7IHSA Class 3A boys basketball regional tournament*

Feb 265 p.m. — J.W. Eater volleyball v. Jefferson6 p.m. — IHSA boys basketball regional tournament at Fisher6 p.m. — St. Malachy volleyball v. St. Thomas7:30 p.m. — IHSA boys basketball regional tournament at FisherFeb 275 p.m. — IHSA three-point contest state tournament at Illinois State University

Feb 19■ 5 p.m. — J.W. Eater volley- ball v. Urbana■ 6 p.m. — Armstrong—Po- tomac boys JV basketball v. Georgetown—Ridge Farm■ 6 p.m. — St. Malachy volley- ball v. Schlarman■ 7:30 p.m. — Armstrong— Potomac boys varsity basket- ball v. Georgetown—Ridge FarmFeb 20■ 4:15 p.m. — Gifford volley- b…

Feb. 12Armstrong — Potomac girls varsity basketball in Chrisman Regional Tournament*Eighth-grade boys basketball sectional tournament*6 p.m. — Fisher girls varsity basketball in IHSA Regional v. winner of Judah/UniHigh at LeRoyFeb. 13Seventh-grade boys basketball state tournament*6 p.m. — RT…

Feb. 56 p.m. — St. Malachy seventh-grade boys basketball sectional tournament at St. Malachy*Feb. 6Gifford eighth-grade boys basketball regional tournament*6 p.m. — RTHS boys varsity track and field at Mahomet — Seymour6 p.m. — RTHS girls JV basketball v. Mahomet — Seymour

Jan. 295:30 p.m. — RTHS girls JV basketball at U-High6 p.m. — St. Malachy seventh-grade boys basketball regional7 p.m. — RTHS girls varsity basketball at U-HighJan. 304:15 p.m. — JW Eater volleyball at Urbana5 p.m. — JW Eater eighth-grade boys basketball at home5:30 p.m. — Fisher girls JV ba…

Jan. 22Fisher boys and girls basketball at McLean County Tournament at Ridgeview and Illinois Wesleyan University Shirk Center*8 p.m. — Armstrong — Potomac girls basketball v. Georgetown — Ridge Farm at David S. Palmer Arena, DanvilleJan. 234:30 p.m. — JW Eater boys basketball at Northridge

The 2013 year in sports was filled with regional championships, state tournament runs and even state titles. For the area’s local schools as well as the Rantoul Recreation Department, there were successes and there were struggles.

1.    Rantoul Falcons go 8-0, win CIYFL championshipThe Rantoul Falcons junior varsity football team returned home as conquering heroes with a perfect 8-0 record and a championship trophy in tow.

The win total wasn't where the Rantoul Township High School tennis team wanted it, but senior Arin Bishop said the team competed hard and played as a team.The Eagles finished with one match win the entire season, defeating Champaign Central  Sept. 7. RTHS almost beat Urbana Sept. 3, coming u…

Success is more than wins and losses.Rantoul Township High School might not have any wins (0-9) in tennis, but the Eagles are continually striving for improvement despite the struggles.

The Rantoul Township High School tennis team experienced some success in 2012, going 7-4 in dual matches.The Eagles are looking to continue that success, even with a new roster.RTHS has 10 girls on the team, down from 14 last year. Seven seniors graduated, and two juniors didn’t come back.

A gallery of images from the Illinois Fighting Illini Women's Tennis team against the Purdue Boilermakers on Sunday, April 21, 2013.

If you’ve heard the rumors, they’re true.If you’ve seen the ad in the paper, it’s true.If you’ve had this thought (good, bad or indifferent), it’s true.I am leaving the Rantoul Press newspaper.It’s not easy to type those seven words that spelled out separately might not mean much, but combin…

What just happened?That’s the question many Rantoul Township High School sports fans, coaches, administrators and players most likely had in their head at one point or another in the past week regarding the bizarre developments that have taken place.What we do know is this.Joe Bendoraitis is…

Rantoul Township High School operated the second semester of last school year with an interim athletic director.Could the district find itself in a similar situation again this year? Stay tuned.First-year athletic director Joe Bendoraitis, who is also the Eagles' head football coach, has not…

A blank wall is right outside Mitch Wilson’s office in the bowels of Rantoul Township High School.If Wilson, a first-year physical education teacher at RTHS who is also the Eagles’ defensive coordinator in football and will assist the track and field team this spring, has his way, the blank …

Of the five fall sports at Rantoul Township High School, the Eagles’ girls tennis team had arguably the most successful season.Consider the following before you argue against it.— The football team finished 1-8 and missed the playoffs.— The volleyball team went 11-18 and lost its Class 3A po…

Good-bye certainty.Hello unknown.Good-bye long jaunts to Eureka.Hello shorter trips to St. Thomas More.Good-bye Corn Belt Conference.Hello Okaw Valley Conference.

The only action item on the Rantoul Township’s agenda for its special Thursday night meeting dealt with making a decision on possible conference affiliation.

A month ago, a town hall meeting to discuss a possible new conference for Rantoul Township High School didn’t seem likely.“This is something we didn’t really look for,” RTHS athletic director Joe Bendoraitis said. “It was something that just kind of happened. People approached us about it.”

Let the expansion speculation begin.Everything Rantoul Township High School officials have said regarding the Okaw Valley Conference the Eagles will join in the 2014-15 school year with Maroa-Forsyth, Monticello, St. Joseph-Ogden, St. Thomas More and Unity indicates their desire to have more…

While Rantoul Township High School won't belong to the Corn Belt Conference in two years, here’s five schools the Bloomington-Normal based Corn Belt could go after.1. Chillicothe IVC — Grey Ghosts indicated a desire to join the league last spring.

Rantoul Township High School is leaving the Corn Belt Conference and will join with Maroa-Forsyth, Monticello, St. Joseph-Ogden, St. Thomas More and Unity to form a six-team conference that will begin at the start of the 2014-15 school year, RTHS Principal Todd Wilson said Friday afternoon.

Rantoul Township High School will inform Maroa-Forsyth, Monticello, St. Joseph-Ogden, St. Thomas More and Unity on Friday that it is in favor of forming a new six-team conference with those five schools.The RTHS board met Thursday night in a special board meeting to discuss the Eagles' confe…

Right now, it’s just talk.Talk that appears will most likely become reality.Rantoul Township High School held a public town hall meeting on Tuesday night in the latest development of the Eagles possibly joining a new conference that would feature RTHS, Maroa-Forsyth, Monticello, St. Joseph-O…

Take a look at the state football playoff pairings in this week’s Rantoul Press.You’ll find Maroa-Forsyth, Monticello, St. Joseph-Ogden, St. Thomas More and Unity listed.

Let’s hope even if Rantoul Township High School has new conference members starting in the 2014-15 school year, that the Eagles will still play Mahomet-Seymour in all sports. There’s nothing like a good high school rivalry.That said, here’s five we think could develop or rekindle among RTHS,…

Rantoul Township High School will hold a town hall type meeting on Tuesday night in the school's large gymnasium to discuss the possibilities of joining a new conference, RTHS Principal Todd Wilson said Friday.The meeting will take place at 7 p.m., and the public is invited to ask questions …

Will the high school conference scene for Rantoul Township High School shift away from the Corn Belt Conference and possibly into a revamped Okaw Valley Conference?Stay tuned.

The news that Unity and Monticello, along with Dwight, were denied an invitation to join the Sangamon Valley Conference last Wednesday could give legs to a possible six-team conference centered around Champaign County schools, including Rantoul Township High School.

RTHS footballThe Rantoul Township High School football team suffered its third straight shutout loss, falling 46-0 to Corn Belt Conference foe Prairie Central at Bill Walsh Field during the Eagles’ senior night game on Friday.

The news that Unity and Monticello, along with Dwight, were denied an invitation to join the Sangamon Valley Conference on Wednesday could give legs to a possible six-team conference centered around Champaign County schools, including Rantoul Township High School.

The recent breakup of the Okaw Valley Conference has left Maroa-Forsyth, Monticello and Unity scrambling to find a new conference by the time the 2014-15 school year arrives.Could Rantoul Township High School find itself leaving the Corn Belt Conference to align with those three former membe…

The term “student-athlete” is often mocked at the collegiate levels.Sometimes, too, at the high school level. Not every teenager who plays sports will score a near-perfect 35 on the ACT, like Rantoul Township High School senior golfer Joe Barton did.

RTHS volleyballThe Rantoul Township High School volleyball team picked up a 26-24, 25-19 win at Corn Belt Conference foe Eureka on Thursday to improve to 10-13 overall and 4-6 in the Corn Belt heading into Tuesday night's home match against Prairie Central (results unavailable at press time).

Upcoming high school athletic events in our coverage area

RTHS tennisThe Rantoul Township High School tennis team had its Sept. 25 match at home against Watseka postponed because of rain. That match is scheduled to be made up at 4:15 p.m. next Monday at Wabash Park.