Chad Zallow just wanted to prove his worth.

On July 1 at the 2012 USA Youth Outdoor Track & Field Championships, he did just that at the University of Texas-Arlington.

Zallow, an upcoming John F. Kennedy sophomore, won the 110-meter intermediate boys hurdles in a time of 15.08 seconds.

He placed fifth in the 400 hurdles.

"I wanted to get stronger in the 300 hurdles by doing the 400," Zallow said. "I wanted to go against competition my own age and see how I'd do."

Almost a month ago, Zallow went to the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in North Carolina. He took 22nd in the 100 and 32nd in the 400.

"It was an eye opening experience for him," said JFK hurdles coach Jeffery Jenkins. "I thought he had hit a wall. Don't count him out.

"We got ready and he got ready."

Mentally, Zallow bounced back.

"He was running against kids that were much faster than he was, but not more talented," Jenkins said. "He came back home and reevaluated himself, mentally moreso than anything."

Zallow was ready for the rigors of this past outdoor season, competing in the state meet. Although he didn't make the Division III finals in the 110 hurdles, Zallow was pleased with his first varsity season.

His regional final time of 14.96, which got him to state, qualified him to compete in Texas. He qualified online through that time.

"I'm satisfied," Zallow said of state. "The big goal was for me to make it down to state. I'm experience now and I should be good for next year."

If he has a good race, Jenkins said he knows.

"I can tell if he's ready by his warmup," Jenkins said. "After he gets through the first five or six hurdles, I can tell he's going to have a good race or not."

Zallow knows as well.

"By the time I've cleared the first hurdle, I know," he said. "The start is really key for me."

This is just the start of Zallow's career.

Jenkins has coach plenty of state champions like former Glenville stars like Ted Ginn Jr. And Tyshawn Peoples. Ginn won 110 state titles in 2003 and '04 and still holds the state meet record he set in '04. Peoples won in '07.

"As a ninth grader, he's way ahead of Ted Ginn and Tayshaun Peoples, timewise," Jenkins said.

jvargo@tribtoday.com