Zach Brown

Friend and mentor Azmar Hagler, left, celebrates with Lewis Brown and Sandra Orr after their son, Zach Brown, right, is selected by the Tennessee Titans at No. 52 in the second round of the NFL draft at the Greene Turtle in Columbia on Friday, April 27. (Staff photo by Jen Rynda, Patuxent Publishing / April 27, 2012)

It's an exciting time to be a football fan in Howard County. In 2009, Mt. Hebron grad Aaron Maybin, who played college football at Penn State, was a first-round pick (11th overall) of the Buffalo Bills and is now making a name for himself with the New York Jets.

Then on April 27, Wilde Lake graduate Zach Brown, who played at the University of North Carolina, was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the second round as the 52nd overall pick.

It was a proud moment for Columbia as Zach and dozens of extended family members, friends and former coaches watched the life-changing moment unfold at The Greene Turtle in Columbia.

Anyone who remembers watching Zach play football, wrestle or run outdoor track as a Wildecat knows that he's going to turn some heads in the NFL. And anyone who has ever interacted with him can attest that Zach is genuinely friendly and funny, qualities that should serve him well in the spotlight.


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I, for one, wish Zach a long career in professional football and I'm looking forward to many Sundays rooting for another local success story.

Runners have good Penn-manship

Freshman Robby Creese ran a 1:48.9 to anchor Penn State to victory in the Penn Relays College Men's 4x800 Championship of America. The team's time was 7:19.76. Creese was fifth at the start of the last lap and then held off Oregon and Villanova to win.

Robby has had an amazing year so far. He has had two sub 4-minute miles indoors, NCAA and American Junior record at 1,000 meters and is the only freshman to make the finals in the mile at the NCAA indoor championships.

Robby wasn't the only runner with local ties to do well at the Penn Relays. Kyle Stanton ran the Olympic Development 5,000 meters and finished 18th. Michael Wegman was 18th in the high school boys 3,000 meters.

Brian Harvey, another standout runner, ran the Boston Marathon 5k in 14:26, which placed him 14th out of 5,253.

Bike to school

It's time to give a shout out to Wendy Newton and the Bicycle Advocates of Howard County. Last year, Wendy organized a Bike to School Day at Cradlerock School and it was a success.

Now she has another project. She wants to include kids whom might not have the right equipment to bike to school. The Cradlerock Elementary School PTA wants a to buy a helmet for every student at the school as well as buying one bike for every per grade to raffle in time for the May 17 Bike to School Day. Wendy has started a fundraising project.

The Columbia Association has jumped in with $1,000 and Princeton Sports will be supplying top helmets for $35. Sponsorships cost just $56. If you want to help out with a contribution, get in touch with Wendy at wnewton@bikehoco.org. It's a great project and needs our financial support.

Sponsors help make the race

Sponsors are an important part of our recreational programs. Without those people footing part of the cost, furnishing food and encouragement, many of our programs would be a great deal smaller than they are today. One if these sponsors showed up big, and I do mean big, at the TriColumbia's Iron Girl Half Marathon on April 29 in downtown Columbia. Wegmans, scheduled to open a massive supermarket to a "can't wait" populace, not only provided food and beverages and prizes but also contributed a 50-person running team for the coed 5k race. I expect to see Wegmans show up for other local sports events but Saturday's splurge was something to see. Welcome, Wegmans, as a sports partner for years to come.