By Robert Hayes
Two more Penguins will be continuing their indoor track and field season as Chad Zallow and Jaliyah Elliott both qualified for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on March 8 and 9 in Birmingham, Alabama.
Elliott will compete in the 60-meter dash, and Zallow will take part in the 60-meter hurdle. They both placed in the top 16 in the NCAA for their respective events and will be going up against runners from Power Five conference schools, including the University of Florida, the University of Oregon, the University of Iowa, University of Texas at Austin and North Carolina State University.
Youngstown State University track and field coach Brian Gorby said he is happy for the two Penguins.
“I’m excited beyond belief, it never gets old,” Gorby said. “Trying to get to a NCAA Indoor Championships, I know how hard it is.”
“Credit goes to these kids, credit goes to Coach [David] Townsend,” Gorby added.
This is the fourth straight season that Zallow has qualified for the indoor NCAA meet, but Elliott becomes the first female track athlete in YSU history to qualify for the indoor NCAA meet.
Gorby has seen Elliott grow this season.
“She’s beat some professional runners at Clemson and beat some big-time runners at Penn State,” he said. “But to make it into the top 16 is just the hardest thing to do from our perspective.”
Zallow has been busy this season too, as he competed and beat several professional runners at the prestigious Millrose Games earlier in the year. He owns several YSU track records.
Both Elliott and Zallow are coming off of a Horizon League Championship victory.
Elliott qualified with a time of 7.25 seconds, and Zallow with a time of 7.66 seconds.
Gorby said he believes facing tough competition is key to his program’s success
“We use our meets to get 40-50 teams at the Division III, Division II, and Division I level to compete,” Gorby said. “Outdoor we’re going to be going to Texas, Miami and Kentucky.”
He also sees the track program at YSU being a potential national powerhouse.
“[Zallow and Elliot have] taken us to basically a ‘Power Five’ level,” Gorby said. “If these two can score in the top two or three, they could literally put YSU up in the top-25 in the nation,” Gorby said.
The NCAA Indoor Track and Field Indoor Championships will be broadcasted March 8 and 9 on ESPN3 beginning at 6:30 p.m.