Destin's Maddox Hayles brings home bronze from state competition in the discus

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

Out of a field of 30 athletes from 20 teams throughout the state, Destin’s Maddox Hayles placed third in the discus at the Florida Youth Running Association Middle School State Track and Field Championships last weekend in Bradenton.  

Hayles, 14, an eighth-grader at Destin Middle School, placed third with a personal record throw of 135 feet, 6 inches. 

Destin Middle School eighth-grader Maddox Hayles shows off his bronze medal he won for placing third in the discus at the Florida Youth Running Association Middle School State Track and Field Championships last weekend.

“Maddox represented Destin Middle well at state. He didn’t let the level of competition or the moment get the best of him,” said Destin track coach Demetris Stevens. “He decided to throw less than four months ago and put in the time and hard work to achieve at this level. (I'm) very proud to be part of this journey.”

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Hayles, who was on the Marlin football team and weightlifting team, decided to give track a try his final year at Destin Middle. 

“I just wanted to try something new and I was strong, so I thought I would be pretty good at it,” Hayles said. 

Destin's Maddox Hayles took first in the discus at the Okaloosa County Track Meet. Also pictured is Destin Middle School track coach Demetris Stevens.

He tried out, made the team and put in the work. 

Hayles also participated in the running events and did the shotput, but the discus is where he excelled. 

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“Discus just came kind of easy,” he said. 

His time in the weight room also helped. 

Destin Middle School's Maddox Hayles (second from left) placed third in the discus at the Florida Youth Running Association Middle School State Track and Field Championships last weekend in Bradenton.

“The weightlifting helps a lot with strength and explosiveness,” he said.  

At state, Hayles competed against 30 other athletes. 

At first, he was a bit nervous, he admitted.

“There were some kids there that looked like they could be coaches,” said Hayles, who is about 5 feet, 11 inches tall. 

On his first throw, Hayles said he scratched and got really nervous. 

“But then I did good on my next two. After I got my first good throw, I wasn’t nervous anymore,” he said. 

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His second throw was his best of the competition, 135 feet, 6 inches. On his third, he tossed the discus 128 feet. 

For his efforts, Hayles brought home a bronze medal, which now hangs on his wall at home. 

Maddox Hayles and his proud mother, Angela, pose at the state championships in Bradenton. Hayles won the bronze in the discus.

Winning the gold was Armondo Blount of Fort Lauderdale with a throw of 154 feet, 2 inches. Silver went to Reyes Medina of Emerald Coast Middle School, at 141 feet, 9 inches. 

“We’re absolutely proud,” said his mother, Angela Hayles. “It was a good experience for him and fun to watch.

“He didn’t pick a disc up until this year … so it was a pretty impressive showing,” she said. 

“I liked it a lot,” Maddox said. “I’m going to do it in high school, too."