Rantoul--— Tanaya Young is now the best 15-16-year-old girls long jumper on the AAU circuit.
With a jump of 18 11 1/2feet, Young jumped to the No. 1 ranking in the country.
Young knows that being the top long jumper in the the U.S. for her age is a pretty big deal. But she doesn’t necessarily like to brag about it.
“It means a lot. I have worked really hard,” the softspoken Young said.
Rockets head coach George Washington IV had high praise for Young.
“Tanaya is easily one the top jumpers in the country,” Washington said.
Young isn’t the only Rantoul Rocket who is at or near the top of national rankings. Myejoi Williams is now the No. 2-ranked shot putter in the country for the 17-18-year-old girls division. Williams’ throw of 42-1 1/2 feet gave her that ranking.
Williams talked about how much the Rockets have meant to her growth as an athlete.
“They really help support me,” Williams said.
Young echoed that message.
“My teammates, we all work together. We are like a family. Those are my brothers and sisters,” Young said.
With the top ranking that those athletes hold come expectations. Going into the AAU Junior Olympics later this month, Young has high goals for herself
“I expect to come home with a medal,” Young said.
Williams also expects to place up near the top.
“I’m hoping for a top three finish like I did at state,” Williams said.
And some athletes may be thrown off by the nerves of competing in the Junior Olympics but not these girls.
“This my third time going so I know what to expect,” Young said.
Williams also competed in the Junior Olympics last year.
The Rockets were also well represented by the boys this past weekend in East Peoria. Robert Burford won the 17-19-year-old boys 400-meter dash with a time of 50.09 seconds. Buford also won the long jump with a jump of 20-11 1/2 feet.
Tayon Swift took home first place in the 15-16-year-old 200-meter dash with a time of 23.4 seconds.
The Rockets have one meet left before heading to the AAU Junior Nationals in Greensboro N.C. They will compete in the Eastern Illinois Invite July 20 in Bloomington.
Contact Ryan Birch at email@example.com or on twitter @RyanBirchRP