Prep Track and Field

Landon Green of Iowa City West doesn't look big, but he throws big

5-foot-8 and barely 200 pounds, West senior is the defending 4A shot-put champion

Iowa City West’s Landon Green competes in the boys’ shot put at the Drake Relays last year. Green won the Class 4A state title with an effort of 58 feet, 5 inches — more than 11 feet further than he threw the previous year. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Iowa City West’s Landon Green competes in the boys’ shot put at the Drake Relays last year. Green won the Class 4A state title with an effort of 58 feet, 5 inches — more than 11 feet further than he threw the previous year. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — At first glance, Landon Green doesn’t look the part.

He’s 5-foot-8 and 200 pounds. Maybe 200 pounds.

And there’s those glasses. “Half of the time, they’re broken, because he’s so explosive,” throwing coach Ty Haren said.

But here’s the fact: Green is the defending state champion in the Class 4A boys’ shot put.

“He’s not the biggest, strongest kid out there. Instead, he’s an athletic, motivated kid,” said T.J. Craig, head boys’ track and field coach at Iowa City West. “When he sees a challenge in front of him, he wants to go out and do it.

“One of my favorite all-time pictures was last year at state ... all of these behemoth guys and Landon, in a row, after he won the title.”

Between his sophomore and junior seasons, Green transformed himself from merely a good thrower to elite.

Sixteenth at state as a 10th-grader at 47 feet, 4 inches, he jumped all the way to the top last season with a heave of 58-5.

“I put a lot of time in the weight room,” Green said. “I did a lot of explosiveness drills.”

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With the glasses — maybe broken, maybe taped, maybe neither — Green can look a little Clark Kent-ish at a competition. Then he gets in the ring.

“He doesn’t look like a guy who is going to beat everybody,” Haren said. “But once he throws, he earns respect immediately.”

Green excels in three sports.

In football, he led the Trojans in tackles with 52.5 — 18 for loss — and 9.5 sacks from his defensive-tackle position last season, returning a fumble 20 yards for a touchdown.

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Top returning area individuals and projected area teams for the 2019 boys' track and field season, with last year's state results.

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In wrestling, he compiled a 41-12 record as a senior and placed sixth at state. He did it in the 220-pound class, despite weighing around 197 most of the season.

So really, he is undersized in all three sports.

“Most of the big guys, it’s all about size and strength,” Green said. “For me, it’s more about explosiveness and technique.”

Here’s a reflection of that explosiveness — as a sophomore, Green was a member of West’s 400-meter relay team that competed at the Drake Relays.

He’s still a competent, competitive sprinter. But throwing is his thing now.

“Coming off wrestling season, I don’t really want to run any more,” he said.

Craig defines Green as “a very loyal, very caring individual,” and Green’s future plans reflect that. He will enter the U.S. Army after the school year is complete.

“I want to do something different,” he said. “I don’t want to study for tests. I want to be active and make a difference.

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“I don’t know if I’ll play any sports. I want to make a career out of the Army.”

Haren said, “I will sleep better at night knowing he’s out there serving and protecting the country.”

In the meantime, he wants to improve in the discus. And there’s a shot-put title to defend in May, and another to pursue in April.

“The first goal is to win Drake,” Green said. “And I want to throw 61 feet.”

Sixty-one?

“Yeah,” he said. “Sixty is everybody’s goal. I want to go a little beyond that.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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