RANTOUL — Mye’Joi Williams is not one to brag about her accomplishments either on the track or in the classroom.
She does not have to. The Rantoul Township High School grad lets the numbers in both cases do the talking for her. And why not? The numbers are nothing short of amazing.
The two-time all-state track athlete, who like every senior in Illinois, was robbed of her final season. She is heading to Illinois State University in the fall, to not only further her education, but also to become a member of the Redbird track team.
“I had a great four years here,” Williams said, referring to her athletic career at Rantoul. “When the season was canceled, I was working out with a separate coach and lifting to help my technique. I was upset that I did not get a chance to compete in my final season. I had goals and plans for the season. One of my main goals for the track season was to achieve the school record in the discus. I was planning on making it to the finals in both events and earning a state title.”
Williams earned the Illinois High School Association Class 2A bronze medal in the event one year ago, throwing 41 feet, 4.25 inches. The top three placers were underclassmen. The third place finish was an improvement of two spots from her fifth place position as a sophomore.
As a sophomore, she threw 41-1. She earned the record April 30, 2019, becoming the first Eagle female to throw over 40-0. She broke the 18-year-old record of Lydia Sampson, who threw 39-9 during her career. As she graduates, she continues to hold the record.
Four years ago, or even as little as six months ago, Williams could have not dreamed of the ending. The ending, not the nightmare one, included her winning a state championship in the shot put. Williams had changed her technique to help her throw between 46-47 feet needed to win a state title.
The last two years it has been enough. In 2017, a throw of better than 47 feet was needed to win the Class 2A state championship in the shot put. To look for competition, she would not have to travel or look very far. Tolono Unity’s Aliyah McDaniel, also a junior, was second one year ago with a put of 43-0.75. Last year’s winner was also an underclassman.
“I was working on a rotational throw instead of the glide,” said Williams, who added that chasing and earning the shot put record as a sophomore was one of the most satisfying moments of her career.
“The rotational throw would allow me to build up momentum before the throw. In high school, I learned to trust the process. I selected Illinois State because it was a good fit for me. I am looking forward to competing in new events at ISU.”
The weight of the shot put will not increase from high school to college as it weighs 8.8 pounds, or 4 kilograms, for all competitors. During the indoor season, three Illinois State shot putters threw farther than 46 feet, but none of the throws broke 50-0. As a team, Illinois State simply reigned supreme during the 2019-2020 indoor season. Before the season was canceled, ISU won the Missouri Valley Conference title, scoring 190.16 points. The Redbirds won it by a wide margin as Southern Illinois University-Carbondale took second with 125 points.
“Mye’Joi is a very hardworking and humble student-athlete that will represent the Redbirds very well,” Illinois State throws coach Jeff Rebholz said. “We believe that she has the potential to be a contributor for us immediately at the Missouri Valley Conference level and over time will develop into someone who can represent us at the NCAA Division I level. I am excited to begin working with her this fall.”
Not only was Williams, the daughter of Kevin Williams and Kimberly Wade of Rantoul, a prolific member of the track and field team, she was also a member of the volleyball and basketball teams at RTHS. During her Eagle athletic career, the two-time track all-stater earned numerous awards in all sports.
The Illini Prairie Conference champion, who won the shot put conference title three times, was also named the Rantoul Most Valuable Player. She was also a second team all-conference selection in the discus.
In basketball, she was named a first-team all-conference player one year as well as a second team all-conference player another season.
She was named the Eagles MVP as well as earning the rebounding award. In volleyball, she was selected as the Most Improved Player and MVP during her tenure.
Academically, she was a scholar athlete in all three sports. She was an Illini Prairie Conference Scholar Athlete and earned the Illinois Principal Association Award.