RTHS girls track team finishes seventh at Unity Invitational

Lovenya Perry dashes to victory in the 400 meters. Perry was one of two Eagle athletes to post an individual victory on Friday night. She ran a time of 1:00.37 to earn the win. 

Two Rantoul Lady Eagles won at the Unity Invitational on Friday night. Another was close to a victory. 

 Mye’Joi Williams and Lovenya Perry were both victorious in their events on Friday night scoring 20 of Rantoul’s 28 points. The Eagles took seventh in the meet. Monticello scored 98 points to win the meet by over 30 points. 

 Williams, who earned all-state status in Class 2A one year ago, once more won the shot put competition, recording a throw of 40 feet, 3 inches. 

 “We did not load up events because of the inclement weather,” said Ben Hankes, Rantoul’s head coach. “Mye’Joi had to battle. I am looking forward to the rest of the season and warmer weather.”

 Williams was victorious by only one inch as Tolono Unity junior Aliyah McDaniel took second with a throw of 40-2. Williams entered the meet seeded as the third best thrower.

 “I felt really good about my throw,” Williams said. “I would like to finish in the top three in the state. I know it will take a throw of 45-0 or better. I need to adjust my throw by getting the shot put up a little bit higher.”

 In the 400-meter dash, Lovenya Perry won my 99/100ths of a second. She finished in 1 minute, 00.37 seconds. St. Joseph-Ogden’s Maclayne Taylor took second in 1:01.36. 

 “It is tough in these conditions,” Perry said. “I was just trying to stay loose tonight. I would have liked to run a little bit faster. I feel like I am in a good situation right now, compared to last year. I am looking forward to running against certain athletes. Right now, it is going very well for us.”

 The race was tightly packed as four athletes finished within two seconds of each other. The sixth place competitor ran in the previous heat. To place in the top five both overall and in the final heat, an athlete had to run a time of 1:03.29 or faster. 

 In the long jump, only two competitors jumped 17-3.5 and Tanaya Young was one of them. The other was Danville-based Schlarmann Academy’s Capria Brown. Unfortunately for Young, she was topped on the tie-breaker of less misses. 

“Tanaya battled the win with her approach,” Hankes said. “She has learned to battle through adversity, but that is part of being a jumper. She jumped the 17-3.5 while at least a foot behind the board.”

 The Eagles had only two other athletes in the top 10. India Emory and Shanyla Strawder were seventh and 10th respectively in the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash. Emory finished in :13.42, while Strawder finished in :28.86. 

 “Both India and Shanyla ran great times in the conditions,” Hankes said. 

 Both also won their heats, as both finished first in the fourth heat. 

 The Lady Eagles have two meets scheduled before Easter Sunday as they will travel to Ford County on both occasions. The team will face five teams early in the week at Paxton-Buckley-Loda. 

 On Thursday night, they will travel to the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Invitational for the Lady Falcon Invitational. Both meets start at 4:30 p.m.