Top-ranked Zallow favorite at nationals

Top-ranked Penguins

hurdler Chad Zallow

heads for nationals

By Charles Grove


It’s been a long indoor season followed by a long outdoor season for Youngstown State hurdler Chad Zallow. Now his sophomore year comes down to two races that combined should take fewer than 30 seconds.

Zallow will compete in Eugene, Ore., at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships this week. A preliminary heat will be Wednesday and the final is Friday.

The Warren JFK alumnus is the favorite, ranked first in the nation with a time of 13.37 in the 110 hurdles.

“It’s been a really long season to get here,” Zallow said. “I’m just trying to finish strong. I’m a little tired but it’s mind over matter at this point.”

While the mind is getting ready for a couple of the biggest races of Zallow’s life, the nation’s top hurdler has been preparing at YSU’s WATTS, which is mostly deserted at this point in the year.

“It’s a little more peaceful for sure,” Zallow said. “I’m a little more used to it now for sure competing at the end of the season. I can focus a little more better I’d say.”

Zallow’s competition is well known to him. Florida freshman Grant Holloway and Syracuse senior Freddie Crittenden III both competed against Zallow earlier this year in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Both are seeded after Zallow with identical times of 13.42.

At the 60 hurdles final at the NCAA Indoor Championships, Holloway won the national title with a 7.58, Crittenden III came in second at 7.67 and Zallow finished third at 7.72. So it’s safe to say Zallow knows his competition.

“I know all those guys,” Zallow said. “We’ve been running against each other throughout high school and college. There’s a lot of respect between all of us. But at the end of the day we’re all trying to go for a national title.”

To prepare for the race, Zallow has been working on emptying his tank in training, trying to find any more quickness that’s left to find.

“All I’m working on is speed right now,” Zallow said. “There’s no holding back at this point in the season.

“We’ll space the hurdles a little bit to try to gain more speed and play with the distances. It lets you do more acceleration on the track. It’s less volume, but more quality work.”

Zallow’s qualifying time of 13.37 would have won last year’s final. A year ago Oregon’s Devon Allen won the event with a time of 13.50.

“I’d definitely take a [13.37 in the final],” Zallow said. “That would’ve beat the guy last year who went on to the Olympics so I think if I ran my season-best time I’d have a great shot at winning the whole thing.”

A win on Friday would give Youngstown State it’s first national title since 1997. Zallow said he’s racing both for himself and the area as well.

“[A national title] would mean a lot to me but also the whole community,” Zallow said. “It’s been a while since YSU won a national championship of this caliber, so it would be huge.”

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