Daniel Layton felt the thrill and the agony sport can provide last Saturday at the PIAA Class AA Track & Field Championships at Shippensburg University.
The Waynesburg Central senior won the gold medal in the 110 high hurdles he had hoped to win last year, but suffered the agony of no-heighting in the pole vault later in the afternoon.
Layton cruised through the semifinals with the fastest time and did the same in the finals, winning in a time of 14.53 seconds. Littlestown’s Derek Herr was second with a time of 14.72 seconds.
Layton ran in the finals last year, but stumbled over the first hurdle and finished eighth. He was the favorite entering this year’s state meet.
“(Being the favorite) helped me a little bit. I knew I was the best and everyone else knew. It motivated me,” explained Layton.
Unlike last year when a scraped and bloody Layton had little turnaround for the pole vault, the William & Mary recruit had time until it was time to enter the competition at 13-6, his WPIAL winning height.
Layton hit the bar on the way down on his first attempt and crashed into the bar on his final two attempts.
“I changed the standard (on his final attempt) and completely obliterated the pole. It bent way too much,” said Layton.
Asked what he would’ve changed if given the chance, Layton replied, “I would’ve tried to get on an 85 (pole) earlier. I was on an 80. I really needed a stiffer pole.”
Not to sound greedy, but Layton was hoping to leave Seth Grove Stadium for the final time with a pair of gold medals, not just one.
“I’m kinda disappointed. Sure I won the hurdles, but I really wanted to win the pole vault, too,” concluded Layton.