Howard’s Collin Greene has a few things to thank for his successful indoor track and field season — his coaches, Howard High School’s weight room and Subway’s Italian subs.
Before Greene’s three best performances of the season, he ate the sub sandwich that his father brought him before each shot put event. It started at the Freddie Hendricks Invitational in December when he hit a then-personal-best distance of 54 feet. Then, he downed the footlong before his region and state championship-winning performances, with the latter ending with a 55-foot, 11.5-inch throw to set the Howard school record.
“It’s 100 percent the Subway sandwich. It has to be,” Greene quipped. “I might have to get a sponsorship.”
While Greene may not be on Subway commercials any time soon, he’s more than content with his current designation — 2019-20 Howard County indoor track and field Athlete of the Year.
“If you would’ve told me when I was a freshman that I’d be the HoCo Athlete of the Year after seeing it only given to runners for so long, I would’ve said you were crazy,” Greene said.
“This is why I love coaching,” said Howard coach Zack Dickerson. “To see the reward for Collin at the end of the journey is awesome.”
This is the third straight track season Greene has received All-County honors. He was a first-team selection in both track seasons as a junior.
Winning the top accolade is rare for a field athlete. Greene is the first Howard County boys indoor field athlete to win the Athlete of the Year award since 2005 and only the third in the last 30 years. Glenelg’s Tim Burt won the award in 2004-05, but Burt competed in the 800 and 1,600 in addition to the pole vault. The last time an exclusive field athlete won the award was Atholton’s Omar El Sawi in 1994.
“It just makes me really proud,” Greene said. “It brings a lot of exposure to the sport and the field events that aren’t given a lot of glory.”
Dickerson said field athletes have a “big chip” on their shoulders for sometimes being overlooked in the sport. He said when people think of track and field, they picture the “flashy” events like the 100-meter dash or the relays. At most meets, some field events are away from the stadium and fans can’t watch.
“Unless you’re mom or dad or the coach, you’re not even there to see those events,” Dickerson said.
What makes it difficult for field athletes to win the Athlete of the Year award, especially during the indoor season, is the lack of field events. The normal slate of indoor field events consists of only three events compared to 12 track events. Runners are better positioned to win the top honor because they can compete in more events directly related to their top skill.
“Field athletes are at a disadvantage to the track athletes who may win three or four gold medals, which is typically the case when you have a dominant distance runner or sprinter who can get a whole bunch of medals and outshine the field events,” Dickerson said. “When you look at Collin this year, if he doesn’t win it this year how can any field athlete win it? He just dominated his event all season long, and I’m glad he won it this year.”
Greene started shot putting in ninth grade, and he was one of many members of the track and field team who are football players first.
“I just originally wanted to stay in shape for football,” said Greene, who played four years of football for the Lions and was a starting offensive tackle as a senior.
As a freshman, Greene threw in the mid-20s. Due to the strength and technical requirements of the shot put, the event is one that is dominated by the juniors and seniors.
“Definitely getting the technique down was hard,” Greene said. “When I was a freshman, the seniors on the team were near 50 feet and I was at 20 feet. I remember thinking that I would never get to that point. If you would’ve told me in ninth grade that I would get to 55 feet, I would’ve told you that you were crazy.”
Greene said the moment he became a shot putter who plays football instead of a football player who throws shot was at the end of his sophomore season.
At the 4A North region meet during the 2018 outdoor season, Greene took home a bronze medal in the shot put. He edged out teammate Raymond Tien, who was a two-time county champion.
“That’s when I knew this was my main sport,” he said. “Raymond was one of my good mentors when I was learning how to throw.”
Greene then broke 50 feet as a junior, but what led to his jump to 55-11.5 was improving his technique and gaining strength in the weight room. He learned the “foot switch” technique, which allowed him to put more power into his throw, and his weights class at Howard allowed him to increase his max lifts.
Just as important as his technique and strength, Dickerson said, are his teammates. Chris Joseph and CJ Marthins both qualified for states and helped Howard take three of the top six spots in the state.
“I would argue without the three of them together that none of them would be as good as they are,” Dickerson said. “They’d all still be good, but having that healthy competition at practice is really important. When they’re at practice there’s not always a coach there, so they’re all coaching themselves and giving each other feedback.”
While his 55-11.5 throw is what put him into the Howard record books, it’s not the throw that won him his first state title. He had already clinched the crown, and the record-setting throw was his last of the day.
“After the throw, coach (Tyler Wade) really hyped me up," Greene said. "He was the person who held the previous record at the school. He really helped me with the technical things the last few years.”
With the spring season likely to be canceled due to concerns regarding the coronavirus, Greene won’t get a chance to hit his goal of 60 feet during the outdoor season. He will, however, continue his throwing career at the Naval Academy. After finishing his undergraduate at the Naval Academy, his goal is to go to medical school and serve in the Navy as a doctor.
“It’s close to home and it’s also my father’s alma mater,” Greene said. “I also like the team. The culture is like a brotherhood. That’s what I liked about the Naval Academy, and that’s why I chose to go there.”
Also named to first-team All-County:
Ayomide Agbayewa, Reservoir, senior
Events: 55, 4x200
Highlights: Agbayewa was one of the top sprinters in the county this season, placing in the top four in the 55-meter dash at counties, regionals and states. He won a silver medal in the 55 at counties with a season-record time of 6.55 seconds. He then placed fourth in the event at both the 3A East region and MPSSAA championships. Agbayewa also won a gold medal at counties as a member of the Gators’ 4x200-meter relay team. The relay then placed fourth at states.
Thomas Altman, Centennial, senior
Events: 500, 4x200, 4x400
Highlights: In only his second time competing in the 500-meter run, Altman won gold at the county championships and broke Centennials’ school record in the event. He then followed up that performance with a gold medal at regionals with a personal-record time of 1:06.51. The senior was sick leading up to the 3A state meet but still ran only two seconds off his PR, placing sixth at the MPSSAA championships. He was also a member of the Eagles’ 4x200 and 4x400 relays.
Loick Amouzou, Hammond, senior
Events: 55 hurdles, 300, 4x200, 4x400
Highlights: As the top boys hurdler in Howard County, Amouzou was undefeated until the MPSSAA Class 3A state championships. He won gold medals at counties and regionals before finishing second at states by one-hundredth of a second. His best time during the season was his 7.46-second finish at the Hispanic Games. Amouzou ends his high school track career with five county championships and five region titles. This is Amouzou’s fifth straight appearance on an All-County track team. He’s made first-team All-County in every track season since his sophomore year.
Antonio Camacho-Bucks, Centennial, freshman
Events: 800, 1,600
Highlights: Camacho-Bucks is the lone freshman selected to the All-County team this season, and he represented his class well. He had one of the most impressive performances of the season when he gave Chopticon’s Zachary Wedding a run for his money in the 1,600-meter run at states. Camacho-Bucks improved his PR by five seconds to finish second by a little more than one-tenth of a second. His time of 4:22.62 was the fastest 1,600-meter time of any freshman in the country, though not every state has indoor track and field. He also won bronze medals in the mile at both the county and region championships. Camacho-Bucks was also a second-team pick on the 2019 cross country All-County list.
Rahsaan Foster, Oakland Mills, senior
Events: High jump, 4x400
Highlights: As one of the top jumpers in the county, Foster swept through the regular season in the high jump. He won gold at counties in the high jump by more than four inches with a personal-record jump of 6-3. He then placed sixth at both regions and states. Foster also ran the fourth leg of the Scorpions’ 4x400-meter relay, which placed third at counties, second at regions and fourth at states.
Cameron Hindle, Long Reach, junior
Events: 800, 1,600
Highlights: In one of the most competitive events in the county, Hindle won the 1,600-meter run by about two seconds. Hindle edged out River Hill’s Anish Nanjappa and Centennial’s Antonio Camacho-Bucks to win the gold medal. He then placed fourth at regions and third at states, when he posted a personal-record time of 4:23. Hindle was also a first-team selection on last year’s indoor and outdoor All-County teams.
Jalen Jasmin, Reservoir, senior
Events: Long jump, 55
Highlights: Jasmin was one of the most dominant athletes at the county championships. The senior took home gold medals in the 55-meter dash and the long jump. He won the 55 with a PR time of 6.51 seconds and the long jump with a county-record distance of 23-7. With long jump not a part of the indoor schedule at regions or states, Jasmin still performed well in the 55 at the 3A East region meet with a second-place finish. Jasmin was also a first-team pick last indoor season.
Ibrahim Khairat, Howard, junior
Events: High jump, long jump, triple jump, 4x200, 4x400
Highlights: Khairat is the only Howard County athlete to place in the top four of five different events. At the Howard County championships, Khairat won the triple jump with a hop, skip and jump of 43-5.25. He also placed fourth in the long jump and ran the third leg of the Lions’ gold-medal winning 4x400-meter relay. With long jump and triple jump not a part of the indoor schedule at regions or states, Khairat hit his PR in the high jump to win a region championship with a height of 5-8. Also at the 4A Central region meet, Khairat ran the third leg of Howard’s 4x200-meter relay that finished fourth. Khairat was also a first-team pick last indoor season.
Anish Nanjappa, River Hill, senior
Events: 800, 1,600, 3,200, 4x800
Highlights: Nanjappa proved once again that he’s one of the top distance runners in the state by sweeping the 3,200-meter run slate this season. He won the race in all five meets he competed in, including gold medals at counties, regions and states. His top time of the season was his 9:27 finish at the Howard County Winterfest Invitational. Also at counties, Nanjappa won the 800-meter run and finished second in the 1,600. At regionals, the senior took home silver in the 800 in addition to winning the 3,200 and running a leg in the Hawks’ 4x800-meter relay that placed sixth. At the 3A state meet, Nanjappa added a fourth-place finish in the 800 to go along with his gold in the two-mile. This is Nanjappa’s ninth appearance on an All-County list. He’s a two-time first-team Runner of the Year in cross country as well as a two-time All-County selection in outdoor track and cross country and now a three-time pick in indoor track.
Djavan White, Long Reach, senior
Events: 300, 500, 4x200, 4x400
Highlights: White won five medals in his two individual events — the 300-meter dash and the 500-meter run — at the three postseason meets. At counties, White finished second in both events, setting a new PR of 1:09.12 in the 500. At regionals and states, it was the 300 that proved to be his best event. The senior won the event at the 3A East region meet and placed third in the MPSSAA 3A championships. He set his PR in the 300 at regions with a time of 35.27 seconds.