Editor's note: The original article said that the Rantoul Eagles finished third in the Rantoul Invite when they actually finished second. The Rantoul Press deeply regrets this error.

RANTOUL — The Rantoul Eagles track team couldn’t have asked for better weather at their own invite on Saturday to start the outdoor season. The Eagles hosted the event at the Roger Quinlan Track and Field Complex. 

The Eagles were competitive throughout Saturday’s meet. 

The Eagles ended up finishing in second place, scoring 98 points. Chicago Heights Bloomington Township was in first place.

Rantoul coach Mitch Wilson said he was excited with his team’s overall performance, especially from the seniors and juniors.

“I think our older kids really stepped up and led by example,” Wilson said. “They showed our team how to compete. We had a lot of relays that we ran well and a lot of new personal records.” 

Robert Buford got the event started for the Eagles by finishing first place in the finals of the long jump. Buford recorded a leap of 20 feet, 6.5 inches, setting a PR for him.

Buford’s contribution didn’t end there for the Eagles. He also finished in second of the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.54 seconds, giving Rantoul eight points.

“I feel like I did good,” Buford said. “The wind was pushing me a little.”

In the same 200-meter dash, Dillion Harper finished sixth with a final time of 23.33 seconds. Harper also helped Rantoul finish third in the 4x100-meter relay. The team finished with a final time of 43.66 seconds. Both results gave Rantoul seven points altogether.

The Eagles finished second in the 4x200 relay after finishing with a time of 1:31.72. The second place finish gave the Eagles eight points.

“We were able to take third in the 4x100 and second in the 4x200,” Harper said. “I was pushing as hard as I can to catch the guy I was close to. We are doing pretty well. We just got to work on our handoffs and practice will make that better.”

Avontay Anderson and his teammates ran the 4x200 relay for the first time this season.

“I thought we finished well overall,” Anderson said. “It was our first time running it. I was hoping to be placed higher, but I feel like we still did good.” 

Luke Zech finished with a time of 46.80 seconds for the 300-meter hurdles. That time gives him a new PR. Zach was able to jump over nine out of 10 hurdles.

“I did a lot better I thought I was going to,” Zech said. “I stuttered over one. It’s just one-two-three for my steps. I’ve been doing hurdles since eighth-grade and I do them every track meet.”

In the discus competition, Brandon Lord, finished with a throw of 115-02, placing him in third place. Lord also finished second in the shot put, ending up with a distance of 39 feet, 1.5 inches, setting a PR.

In his heat of the 100-meter dash, Tayon Swift finish with a final time of 11.53 seconds, giving him third place, six points for the Eagles and a new PR.

“I felt like that it was a pretty good run,” Swift said. “I’m glad I ran a big PR. I ran faster than I thought I did. I defied my expectations, it was great.”

Both Jonathan Gossett and Elijah Hall ran the 3200-meters race for the Eagles. Hall finished the race in fifth place, finishing with a time of 10:21.10. Gossett finished in ninth place (10:47.04). Both results for Hall and Gossett were a PR for them.

Gossett and Hall didn’t have time to rest, later they had to get ready to race in the 800-meter.

Hall would set another PR, finishing with a result of 2:04.68 which placed him in second. Gossett finished in ninth (2:13.92).

“We got a little less than an hour to rest and comeback  and then run the 800 meter,” Gossett said. “We both knew it was going to be tough, because we both ran really hard in the two-mile. We came back and ran really hard. Elijah ran a really good race.”

For Hall,  it was his first time running the 3200-meters race.

“I think I ended on a good  place,” Hall said. “I was trying to hang on and finish strong. I am fine with where I finished.”

The Eagles finished seventh overall for the 4x800 relay. The team finished with a final time of 9:47.31.

Juan Aguayo was apart of the group of runners that took part in the 4x800 relay. Aguayo said that their team is young and are will get improve after more practices.

“Some of these guys it’s the first time running the 4x800 relay,” Aguayo said.

“We kind of needed to adjust when we handoff. There’s always room for improvement. We’ll make sure to do better next time.”

Gossett said that as a team, the Eagles track team competed well at the Rantoul Invite, considering they finished in the top three.

“We are doing pretty solid across the board for every event,” Gosset said. “I think we were expecting to do better, but we are handling it pretty well. I think we are going to get top four and that’s good.”

Wilson commended the Rantoul community for hosting the outdoor track meet this year. Last year the meet had to be canceled because of bad weather conditions.

“Last year we had to cancel this meet because it was thirty degrees outside,” Wilson said. “I’m just so thankful for our school administration and volunteers in the community. Thanks to the people that came out and helped to support the team. It was just a good event.”

The next event for the Eagles track team will be the Capitol City Classic in Springfield. The event will be on Saturday and start at 11 a.m.

Contact Ben Theobald at btheobald@rantoulpress.com