Rockets take last step before Jr. Olympics

Rantoul Rockets members standing (left to right) are Tayon Swift, Dahinte Thompson, Robert Bufford and Jamiah Foster. Sitting: Marcqwan Smith, Tanaya Young and Kai Kessler. 


Bloomington — The Rantoul Rockets track and field club continued its summer of dominance this past weekend at the Central Illinois Invite hosted at Bloomington Central Catholic High School. 

The top performers were Robert Buford, who placed first in the long jump and 400-meter dash, and Tanaya Young, who placed first in the long jump. 

The Rockets as a team had a total of three first-place finishes, six second-place finishes and three third-place finishes. 

The Rockets are sending four athletes to this month’s AAU Jr. Olympics. The athletes are Cody Schluter, Myejoi Williams, Buford and Young. 

Rockets head coach George Washington IV said  there are a few things they have to change in preparation for the Olympics. 

“We have to stretch more and also prepare for the heat. We’re going to practice in the heat as much as we can,” Washington said. 

Getting recovery and workout schedules can be very difficult given the layout of the Olympics 

“Each athlete will have specific workout and recovery schedules to go through on their own time. Each athlete is competing at different times and dates so they will have to stay on it,” Washington said. 

As far as expectations go, Washington isn’t focused on medals or trophies. 

“As long as they give 100 percent, that’s all I can ask,” Washington said. 

But they aren’t taking this opportunity lightly.

 “We have trained all year for this. It’s a business trip,” Washington said. 

The Rockets will leave Monday July 29, for Greensboro, N.C. 

The Jr. Olympics are being hosted by North Carolina A&T University and will run from July 27-Aug. 3.

Contact Ryan Birch at or on twitter @RyanBirchrp