Daniel Layton never really wanted all the attention.
In fact, after wrapping up at the Washington-Greene County Coaches Meet, the Waynesburg High School senior hurdler said he wanted to lay low in his quest for redemption and a state championship. It was last spring that he entered the PIAA Class 2A Track & Field Championships finals in the 110-meter high hurdles as the top seed and tripped on the first hurdle to finish in eighth place.
Layton, however, found himself in the limelight.
After his coach, and father, Rick Layton, made a correctable mistake on the entry form, the WPIAL tried to spurn Layton the opportunity to defend his gold medal at the district championships, which also would have resulted in ending his season in his best event, the 110 hurdles. The elder Layton had mistakenly taken his son off the list to compete in the race by clicking on the wrong box when submitting a form to the WPIAL.
An appeal was made to the WPIAL but it voted 12-3 to deny the appeal and force Waynesburg to take the process to the PIAA. The PIAA overturned a WPIAL ruling and Layton made sure not to let the opportunity pass without taking full advantage.
Finishing in 14.58 seconds, Layton convincingly won first place at the WPIAL Championships at Slippery Rock University. He also took first place in the pole vault, clearing a height of 13-6 on his final attempt, only minutes after dislocating his shoulder during warmups.
One week later, Layton swept his three heats in the hurdles and won state gold with a time of 14.53 seconds.
“It was more about proving it to everyone else,” Layton said after the race. “I knew I could do it. Everybody around me knew I could do it. I just needed the world to know.”
Throughout the process of hearings, Layton was a hot topic on local sports radio and television news after first being denied by the WPIAL after the clerical error.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Layton said. “It takes a bunch of weight off my shoulders. I started feeling the stress at the end of the season. It’s been building up.”
A William & Mary recruit, Layton’s success didn’t just come at the end of his senior season. He won both the high hurdles and pole vault at the Washington-Greene County Coaches meet in April. A few weeks later, he set personal and school records in the high hurdles during a rain-soaked Baldwin Invitational to edge Hempfield’s Jared Bannon with a blazing time of 14.46 seconds.
Bannon won WPIAL gold in the 110 hurdles in Class 3A.
“It was surprising because I wasn’t expecting to do that in those conditions,” Layton said. “I knew that when I got up against Jared that we’d have a good race. It pushed me so much more. I’ve been wanting to race him all season, but we’ve just been missing each other.”
Layton also finished in first place in the high hurdles at the Tri-State Track Coaches Association Outdoor Championships in April.