Phs Hurdler Dazzles At State

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Dustin Iles

The prep track and field world now knows Dustin Iles.

The newfound notoriety is because the Payson High School senior sped his way to the 3A Arizona state championship in the grueling 300-meter hurdles.

Not only did he run away with the gold medal, his time of 38.64 was 1.47 seconds faster than runner-up Torin Higgins of Safford.

His time was also good enough for Isles to have won the 4A and 5A II state championships.

In the 4A state meet, Queen Creek’s Colton Lock won in 39.45.

Tolleson’s Tevin Blaylark won the 5A II title in 38.95.

Isles, who began the season somewhat unknown, entered the state finals as the East region champion, finishing in the same time he won in at the 3A meet, which was held May 14 and 15 on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe.

In addition to the gold medal, Iles finished third in the 110-meter hurdles and was a member of Payson’s state qualifying 4x100 relay team that finished 11th in a 16-team field.

Isles’ sterling performance in the state finals has earned him an invitation to the prestigious Meet of Champions to be held May 22 at Queen Creek High School.

The meet annually pits all individual state champions, 1A to 5A, and selected other athletes against one another in head to head competition.

The event is Arizona prep track and field’s premier clash of the post season.

PHS head coach Jonathan Ball also expects half-miler Forrest Wadington to receive an invitation to the meet.

At the 3A state championships, Wadington ran a PR 800-meter time of 2:00.94 that earned him a third-place finish in a talent-laden field that included gold medalist Jesus Rivera of Sedona and Tuba City’s Billy Orman. First-place finisher Rivera was clocked in 1:57.15 and the runner-up Orman turned in a time of 2:00.84.

Wadington’s time renders him one of the top six half-milers in the state, regardless of school size classification.

Also producing team points at the state meet was pole-vaulter Keith Williams who cleared 12 feet, 6 inches to finish seventh among the 20 qualifiers.

Payson’s 4x800 relay team of Ezra White, Tanner Hodges, Joe Garcia and Wadington was eighth overall in 8:41.20.

As a team, the Longhorns posted 29 points and finished ninth among the 27 teams in the 3A conference

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