The challenge of competing against the finest athletes in Arizona high school track and field was not a hurdle Dustin Isles couldn’t clear.
He proved he could run with the so-called “big school” athletes by winning the 300-meter hurdle event at the Meet of Champions held May 22 at Queen Creek High School.
The postseason meet is unique in that it attracts individual state champions and other qualifiers from all school size classifications — 1A to 5A.
Which means the competition is fierce.
Often, athletes from smaller schools have to take a back seat to those from the metropolitan Phoenix area schools that have student bodies of 3,000 students.
But Isles wasn’t one of those relegated to the back of the bus as he blazed to a 38.81 clocking to win the event over runner-up Tervin Blaylark (39.79) of Tolleson High and Boulder Creek’s Darien McKinley (40.11).
Isles’ clocking in the Meet of Champions was not the fastest he has run. At the 3A state meet, he won the event in 38.64.
At Queen Creek, Isles also competed in the 110-meter hurdles, which was not his strongest event the past season. He, however, managed to reap third-place honors in 15.81.
Queen Creek’s Augustine Kendall was first in 15.56 and J.R. Reed took second in 15.67.
Also representing Payson at the Meet of Champions were Maddie Nossek, Holly West and Forrest Wadington.
Nossek tied for second in the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 2 inches and was fifth in the long jump soaring 17 feet, 6 inches.
Chandler’s Cadija Harris won the high jump at 5 feet, 4 inches and Jasmine Todd, also of Chandler, took the long jump at 19 feet, 1.25 inches.
In the boys 800-meter run, Wadington was clocked in 2:03 and finished 13th in the 14 qualifier field. He entered the meet with a PR of 2:00.94.
Queen Creek’s Sherod Hardt, a senior who attended Payson schools as an elementary student, won the 800 in a blistering 1:54.11.
West qualified for the Meet of Champions shot put competition as the 3A state runner-up with a throw of 33 feet, 10 inches. Her PR this season was 36 feet, 8 inches.
In Queen Creek she finished fifth overall throwing 34 feet, 3.25 inches. Chandler’s Hannah Carson won the event with a mighty heave of 44 feet, 11.75 inches.