WPIAL controversy settled, Waynesburg hurdler has ‘something to prove to myself’ at PIAAs

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Friday, May 24, 2019 | 1:54 PM


This week was calmer than last for WPIAL champion hurdler and pole vaulter Daniel Layton, but it wasn’t without incident.

The Waynesburg senior broke his favorite pole during Thursday’s practice, a mishap that jarred his right shoulder and made him find a new pole for the PIAA track and field championships.

“That shook me up a little bit,” Layton said Friday at Seth Grove Stadium, “but I’m getting over that now.”

Layton drew statewide attention last week when he almost wasn’t allowed to defend his 110-meter hurdles title at the WPIAL championships. His father/coach had accidentally scratched Layton from that event in online entries, and the WPIAL denied his request to fix the clerical mistake.

Ultimately, the PIAA overturned the WPIAL’s decision and Layton won the WPIAL hurdles title for the second consecutive year.

Now, he’s chasing PIAA gold.

Layton enters the state meet seeded first in the 110 hurdles and ninth in the pole vault among Class AA boys. He said he felt outside pressure to perform well at the WPIAL meet last week, knowing all eyes were on him.

This week, the motivation comes from within.

“I don’t feel like I have anything to prove to anybody else, but I have something to prove to myself,” Layton said. “Last year I fell over the first hurdle, so that’s what I’ve been working toward this whole time.”

A year ago, he tumbled in the hurdles finals, ending his chance to win a state title. On Friday, facing those same hurdles, Layton cleared them with ease during his preliminary heat.

His 14.62-second time was best in the Class AA. Littletown’s Derek Herr (14.96) was the only other Class AA hurdler to break 15 seconds.

The hurdle semifinals are scheduled for 10:15 a.m., Saturday, and the finals are at 12:15 p.m. The pole vault competition starts at 12:30 p.m.

Layton dislocated his left shoulder before the WPIAL championships, but said it’s doing much better after physical therapy. The vault pole he broke this week was likely damaged last week.

“It broke right below my grip,” he said.

It was the first time he’d ever broken a pole — and scarier than expected.

“You’re midair and all of a sudden what you’re expecting to happen doesn’t happen and you end up on your back,” he said. “It’s disorienting for sure.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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