PIAA overturns WPIAL, Waynesburg’s Daniel Layton can defend hurdles title

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 | 10:40 AM

A clerical error will not prevent Waynesburg’s Daniel Layton from defending his WPIAL title in the 110-meter hurdles, the PIAA decided Wednesday.

A PIAA appeals panel voted 5-0 to overturn a WPIAL decision and allow Layton to compete in the event at Thursday’s WPIAL championships even though his coach had accidentally scratched him from the online entries.

“Talk about a weight off your chest,” Layton’s father/coach Rick Layton said. “It’s a huge sense of relief. It was a human error. I had no idea I had made it. But thank god that the PIAA chose not to punish the student-athlete for the mistake of an adult.”

Layton is also entered to compete Thursday in the pole vault and the 1,600 relay. He’ll now be the Class AA No. 1 seed in both the 110 hurdles and the pole vault.

Rick Layton had intended to remove his son from the 300-meter hurdles but selected the wrong hurdles event while submitting the entries. Waynesburg asked the WPIAL to fix the mistake, but the board declined that request Monday because it came after the deadline to submit entries.

The school then appealed to the PIAA, which organized an expedited hearing by conference call. The five-person PIAA panel voted unanimously to allow Layton to enter the 110-meter hurdles and scratch from the 300 hurdles.

“They felt that it was a correctable error that could be corrected in time before the meet was to start,” PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi said. “They felt it was the right thing to do for the student-athlete. The mistake was not done with any malice or any intent or any ill will.”

The WPIAL board voted 12-3 on Monday to deny Waynesburg’s request because the May 8 submission deadline had already passed. The information letter provided to coaches says “no changes may be made after the deadline!”

To make room for Layton, the WPIAL will not bump an athlete from the 110-meter hurdle field, WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said. The event — traditionally limited to 16 competitors in Class AA — will be run this year with 17. That extra runner will require a third preliminary heat on an eight-lane track at Slippery Rock University.

The WPIAL will add a hurdler to the 300s to replace Layton.

O’Malley said the WPIAL track committee must discuss whether it can maintain its deadline moving forward or must somehow change the entry process.

A year ago, Layton won the WPIAL Class AA 110-meter hurdles title in 14.73 seconds. He then ran the fastest preliminary time at the state championships last spring before tripping over a hurdle in the finals to finish eighth.

He won the Baldwin Invitational earlier this month in 14.46 seconds.

“After he fell in the 110s last year, this has been his goal,” Rick Layton said. “His primary goal was to get back to states and try to redeem himself. He couldn’t do that if he didn’t get to run in the WPIAL championship.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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