Eagles just shy of team title

NAVARRE – It’s not that the John F. Kennedy boys team doesn’t have speed to hang with Gilmour Academy. And if there were doubters, they proved them wrong on Friday.

First, there’s Chad Zallow, who broke the Division III Navarre Fairless regional track and field meet record in the 300-meter hurdles in 37.62 seconds. He also won the 110 hurdles in 14.37.

Then, Carl Zallow burnt the competition in the 100 and 200 dashes in 11.18 and 22.40, respectively.

Zach Watt took fourth in the 400 and was a part of the boys first-place 4×100 relay with the Zallow brothers and freshman Jacob Coates.

However, Gilmour Academy had the edge Friday over the Eagles, taking the 4×400 relay in a meet record time 3:21.00. JFK’s 4×400 team, which has been plagued by disqualifications the past three years, finally made it to state for the first time since 2010 when the Eagles took fourth. The Eagles ran a very respectable 3:22.11, good enough for second.

The Lancers, who are about five times the size of JFK’s four-man team, eventually won the team title, 85 to 70.

McDonald was third with 63.33 points, while Maplewood was fourth with 41 points.

“We wanted to compete with them. They’re a great team,” Watt said. “They have a lot of depth. We finally got someone to push us in all the relays. That’s nice, to see where we’re at.”

The top four in each final event advance to the state meet.

Watt finished fourth in the 400, but he struggled to do so. He’s fighting through a groin injury, one he had to gut through as the JFK 4×400 anchor.

“It was tough, but I made it through. I was happy with the time,” Watt said.

He said he’s at 70 percent.

“I just have to rest all this week. Hopefully I’ll be all right for next week,” Watt said.

Coates, who finished fifth in the 300 hurdles and missed state by .01 seconds, said he is better because of the Zallows.

“If you stay with them, you know you’re good,” he said.

Watt said JFK wouldn’t be good in the relays without Coates.

“With our size school, there’s not too many guys that come out for track,” Watt said. “It’s just us four. For us to pick up him, it was huge. If it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t be running that race. We wouldn’t of been competing.”

JFK will have a shot at the Lancers and the rest of the state field next weekend in Columbus.

“If we all do the best of our abilities, I don’t see any reason why we can’t come out there with a state title,” Watt said.

DOUBLE WINNERS: McDonald’s Bobby Johnson and Christian Smith each accumulated 20 points for their teams. Johnson won the 1,600 and 3,200, while Smith took first in the shot put and discus.

OTHER AREA WINNERS: Mineral Ridge’s 4×100 relay (Johnn Bourgoin, Ethan Dukes, Michael Eaton and Tait Rummell) and Maplewood’s Solomon Yoder in the 800 each won regional titles.