Zallow, Johnson win at Midwest Meet of Champions

Carl Zallow and Bobby Johnson were two of Trumbull County’s best as part of Saturday’s Midwest Meet of Champions at Granville High School – located a half hour east of Columbus.

The meet pits top-flight graduates from Ohio, Michigan and Indiana against one another.

Zallow, a John F. Kennedy standout, ran the 4×200-meter relay with Granville’s Casey Lenfest, Cleveland Benedictine’s Marquee Montgomery and Hillard Davidson’s Damarcus Nelson. Lenfest and Montgomery are Division I and II 200 state champions, respectively. Nelson ran on Hillard Davidson’s Division I 4×200 and 4×400 state relay teams.

The four placed first in a time of 1:26.41.

Zallow was part of Ohio’s team championship as the Buckeye state’s best dominated the field with 264 points. Indiana was second, while Michigan was third (100).

The girls side won as well, with Ohio leading with 214, followed by Michigan (158) and Indiana (101).

“It was very cool running for Team Ohio,” said Zallow, who will run for Youngstown State University next season. “It was an awesome experience being on the podium in first place representing your state you were born and raised in. I was lucky enough to run with three other very fast guys.”

Meanwhile, Johnson won the Division III 3,200 in 9:22.82. Sure, getting the gold medal and standing atop the awards stand was nice, but the McDonald High School distance runner wanted something more – a Division III state meet record held by Independence’s Kyle Polman of 9:12.01, set in 2013. Polman beat Johnson to win the Division III 3,200 that year.

Saturday, Johnson ran the exact same time as Polman did in 2013 – 9:12.01 to win the 3,200 at the Midwest Meet of Champions.

“Well, it was quite gratifying because I knew I could do it, but the situation just wasn’t right at state,” Johnson said. “I just wanted to prove that I could do it because Kyle is a great friend of mine and someone who I have looked up to. To be able to essentially parallel what he did outdoor in the 3,200 is just a great way to go out.”

Johnson, who will run for Butler University next season, edged out Columbus North (Ind.) senior Kaden Eaton, who ran 9:12.20.

“It was such a great chance to test myself against some very good runners,” Johnson said. “I knew that I could hang with anyone in the race, but it was just a matter of being able to hold off a very strong field. Eaton along with the rest field presented some great competition, but I was confident in my kick and was able to get the win.”

GOING FARTHER: Solon’s Alexis Gray threw 147 feet, 1 inch to claim first in the girls discus.

Gray beat out future Kent State thrower Jai’Lyn Mosley of McDonald, who threw 145-0.

NEXT STOP, OXFORD: JFK senior Morgan Rice is ready to compete at Miami (Ohio) next season.

However, before the two-time Division III girls 100 hurdles state champion heads to Oxford, she competed at Saturday’s Midwest Meet of Champions.

She placed sixth in the 300 hurdles (45.53) and ninth in the 100 hurdles (15.49).

ALL OHIO, ALL COUNTY: Mosley, Rice, Johnson and Zallow are all from Trumbull County, and they were part of the Ohio winning teams.

“To be around and watch so many great athletes from around Ohio compete was such a great experience because I didn’t have the opportunity to watch many of them run all year,” Johnson said.

“It was cool for the four of us to finish our high school careers as a team,” Zallow said.