Zallow back in NYC, to run in Millrose Games

The motions remain the same.

Chad Zallow would have it no other way.

He raises up in the starting block, a field of 60-meter hurdles in front of him and fierce competition on either side.

His immediate focus goes to his necklace with a cross attached. He makes the sign of the cross and points upward.

This time, he knows someone is watching. His grandfather, Richard Neil Hagan, who recently passed away.

“I know he’ll be up there watching so I’m going to do my best for him,” said Zallow, a junior hurdler and sprinter.

He’ll leave the starting blocks at 4 p.m., Saturday, during the Millrose Games at the Armory in New York City. The event will be shown live on NBC.

Zallow dreamed of running in a field with Olympians and world-record holders. He’ll do that Saturday with Devon Allen and Aries Merritt.

The YSU junior and former John F. Kennedy High School standout is looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s going to be surreal just to be apart of it,” Zallow said. “I’m going to approach this race no different than all of my others. I got invited for a reason and I know I belong and have the ability to win.”

The lane assignments haven’t been released.

That said, it’s going to be interesting to see how Zallow approaches this challenge — how he fends off the competition with all the bumping and strength exuded during the quick, brisk sprint.

He’s put plenty of time in the weight room and is the strongest of his career.

Zallow is well aware of how much stronger the professional athletes are in comparison to other races, it’s evident by their weight-room habits.

Not much is going to change for the YSU hurdler this week, preparing for Saturday’s race. He and Penguins sprint coach David Townsend are brushing up on technical aspects added complied with some down time.

YSU was in the Big Apple for the Dr. Sander Invitational at the Armory last weekend, so Zallow did most of his sightseeing then — saving his steps for Saturday’s race.

He did some shopping around Times Square, enjoying the bright lights and excitement — even taking in some of NYC’s best delicacies.

“Every time I’m in NYC, it’s a must I have to get pizza from somewhere,” Zallow said. “It doesn’t matter from where, but it’s the only place I’d say that tops Youngstown in terms of best pizza.”

He’s run at the Armory about a half a dozen times during his career.

It’s a venue that is almost as comfortable as running at the WATTS in Youngstown.

The memories, they always come flooding back — like a race he had with Florida’s Grant Holloway. The two shattered the 60 hurdle high school record with Holloway edging out as Zallow’s momentum carried him as he tumbled over the finish line.

“That race always pops into my mind especially when I’m back in New York running a meet there,” Zallow said. “I still to this day get a lot of people that tell me they remember that race and how crazy it was. It’s definitely still to this day one of the more exciting races I’ve ever been apart of.”

Saturday, he’s going to make more memories as part of the Millrose Games.

“I feel extremely blessed to be in the position I am running in what’s considered the worlds longest running and most prestigious indoor track and field competition,” Zallow said. “A lot of people never get the chance to run in this meet. I know a lot of people will be watching so I’m hoping to inspire others and let them know anything is possible.”