One final time

Zallow sets multiple records; YSU rolls to Horizon titles

Tribune Chronicle / Robert Hayes Youngstown State senior and John F. Kennedy graduate Chad Zallow wins the 200-meter dash Sunday at the Horizona League Championship.

YOUNGSTOWN — Chad Zallow tweeted out “Beast Mode Activated.”

Below was a picture of him with a vertical jump prior to getting in the blocks and preparing for the 110-meter hurdles. Watch out field.

The Youngstown State University senior hurdler and sprinter took aim at the rest of the field late Sunday morning, the third and final day of the Horizon League Championships.

It’s his main event, the 110-meter hurdles.

Zallow has one of the fastest starts in the nation. He didn’t disappoint on Sunday. The only one close was teammate and workout partner Collin Hardin. The Girard High School graduate clocked 14.16 seconds.

Zallow cleared the first of 10 hurdles as the other seven competitors followed, seemingly a hurdle behind. The 2015 John F. Kennedy High School graduate surpassed the field once again with a time of 13.82, a new meet and facility record.

It was one of three records on the day for Zallow as one of the nation’s best hurdlers was instrumental in the Penguins winning the Horizon League Championship over second-place Milwaukee (311.5 points to 174.5). The point total and margin of victory are both Horizon League records.

Zallow also ran 10.57 seconds in the 100, just two-hundredths over the Horizon mark he set last year at the league meet.

He also had run 10.55 when he was a senior at JFK and he and YSU football player Jacob Coates combined to win the Division III boys team title in 2015. Zallow’s 10.55 in high school tied a Division III state record, which still stands. Zallow’s mark of 13.50 in the 110 hurdles in 2015 is still a D-III Ohio High School Athletic Association record.

There was no better feeling than raising that team trophy with Coates, the first track and field title in JFK history.

“This is what these days remind me of,” Zallow said of Sunday’s Horizon League meet. “I really don’t get a chance to run this many events in one day. I usually focus on one or two events. This is unique, team championships are on the line. Running three events takes me back to my high school days, running for my team in a state championship.”

Instead of his third victory being a 300 hurdles win, which is 400 in college, Zallow ran the 200 dash, setting a meet and stadium record of 21.12 seconds. He holds all three facility and meet records, a goal the former JFK standout set to do on Sunday.

Zallow and his older brother, Carl, were instrumental in the YSU men’s track and field program winning four straight Horizon League outdoor team championships. Carl, former Horizon League Freshman of the Year, ran out of eligibility after the 2018 season.

The brothers combined for numerous hurdle, sprint and relays victories to help the Penguins reach team gold.

“I think a big part of where we’re at is what he’s done over his four years as well as what Carl has done. Those two have been the backbone of our championship success,” YSU track and field coach Brian Gorby said.

Chad is a six-time All-American, soon-to-be seven when he makes this year’s NCAA Championships in Oregon.

YSU sprint coach David Townsend said coaching Chad has been an amazing experience.

“Kept me traveling, though,” Townsend said. “He took me to exotic places I’d thought I’d never go to. He’s leaving such an image on the program. It’s unbelievable.

“You don’t get that at a school like Youngstown State. You just don’t get it here.”

When Carl and then Chad picked YSU it gave parents Chuck and Colleen Zallow a great chance to watch their children compete, something that doesn’t always happen to college-bound student-athletes.

Their vacations have been centered around where Carl and Chad competed — Los Angeles, Oregon, Texas, Philadelphia, New York City, Florida, Alabama and many other stops.

“It’s really been a great ride,” Chuck said. “I’m very pleased of how everything worked out with both of my sons, Carl and Chad.”

Carl is finishing his special education degree, while Chad is looking toward the NCAA East Region championships and subsequent NCAA Championships.

After that, Chad has to figure out if he’s going to run professionally or go another direction. He competed in YSU’s pro day for college football players. Chad and teammates Collin Harden showed off their speed and football prowess.

“Track is still very much on top of the radar,” Chad said. “I’m very much excited for the future and things that are going to come my way.”

Since he ran 4.29 40-yard dash, Chad has had his fair share of suitors and social media fame since that YSU pro day.

Chuck said the Ottawa Rough Riders of the CFL reached out to Chad while he was in Philadelphia for the Penn Relays, saying they wanted him to try out if he wasn’t picked up in the NFL Draft.

“He’ll have to decide which way he wants to go from here or chase that dream,” Chuck said.

Some thought running in college was just a dream for Chad since he’s only 5-feet-10. Most hurdlers are taller than 6-feet.

“I had a lot of doubters coming out of high school,” Chad said. “Going to college they weren’t sure I was going to succeed at the next level. I did the talking with my feet. The accomplishments speak for myself. I think I did that and proved everyone wrong.”

He leaves YSU in a better place than when he first started with many high-quality athletes left to compete for the Penguins.

“The legacy he’s left is something we’ll be proud of the rest of our lives,” Gorby said.

Chad left his mother in tears following Sunday’s 200.

“I cried after he ran the 200 because it’s his last time running here at Youngstown State,” Colleen said. “He ended on a great, awesome note, but it was emotional.”