When Elizabeth Nabors moved to Maryland from Michigan and joined the Green Hornets as a coach in 2017, the track and field program had 203 kids. This summer, 489 young athletes registered.
She credits her predecessors for creating the foundation for a successful program.
“You have to talk me out of this,” she remembers saying to former commissioners Bill Bamford and Lori Glebocki when a new commissioner was needed. “Am I crazy? They said, ‘We both loved it.’”
Now in her second summer as commissioner of track and field, the mother of two kids — ages 6 and 11 — has made her own mark. She altered the schedule to shift from one practice per week to two. Nabors also added dedicated coaches for the field events.
“We had a head coach, Cheddy Matthews, who knew all there was to know about track and field,” Nabors said. “It’s hard to replace someone with that knowledge. You could be a sprinter, but that doesn’t mean you know long jump. We have dedicated coaches with the expertise to teach the right form and technique.”
The coaches vary in age and experience. One is a high school student. Another is a college athlete who has a younger sister who is a Green Hornet. Several are parents, including Quinton, who was married to Nabors when the couple moved to Maryland.
“We have people with a lot of different skills,” Nabors said, adding that the program also needs volunteers for timing athletes and recording data. “We’ll find a place for you. If you’ve got a thumb, you can time it.”
Kids have excelled with that instruction. Nabors encourages them to try all events, and compete in three, so they get to find the one that best suits their interests.
“When they are older, kids might get intimidated by trying new events,” Nabors said. “Here, we are able to help kids get that experience when they are younger. What does it mean to throw shot put? What is high jump?”
The most popular events are long jump and, for younger kids, the 50-meter dash. Older kids enjoy the 100-meter dash.
Success of the track and field program takes a lot of work behind the scenes. Nabors spends about three hours a night, three times a week, in person. Add to that several administrative responsibilities.
“It’s a lot of organization, a lot of emails,” Nabors said. “I set up everything and then tear it down.”
Registration opens May 1, and all slots are usually filled in about one week. Nabors must coordinate permits and make shirt and ribbon orders. Meets are held on the last four Fridays of the season, which continues through the end of July.
In addition to her role with Green Hornets, she is a certified running coach and a member of the Annapolis Striders running club.
Glebocki said Nabors’ enthusiasm makes her a great fit for the Green Hornets track and field program.
“Myself, Bill Bamford before me and coach Lloyd Spence before him put a lot of blood, sweat, tears and time into that program to make it what it is today,” Glebocki said. “It’s a thankless job that results in more criticism than compliments, but if you’re passionate about the program, you walk away feeling good about the end result. She clearly has passion for the program and its athletes, and any recognition is well deserved.”
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