Thursday, October 23, 2014

Penn State Javelin Thrower Carl Wolter Hit The Longest Ever Drive In Competition

And he's going for his THIRD World Championship.  But I still wouldn't bet against our 2-time Longest Driver Beth Shisler at next year's tourney.

Group Members Shine At PIAA District 3 Championships

Mark Haywood, now the Head Coach of the Camp Hill Cross Country teams led his team to the Boy's Team Title in the A Division.  Congrats to all!

Coach Haywood, top right.
Honorary member and William and Mary conduit Brian Mount had his Gettysburg team improve this year to 9th place, with his first boy taking second place overall.

Gettysburg XC
And Daughter the Younger's York Suburban team placed first in the Boys and Girls AA team races.  The boys dominated with a total spread of just 41 seconds.  The girls did quite well considering they were without their top runner and had 3 Freshman, 1 Sophomore and a Junior scoring.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tim Johnson Helps Us Relive Those Great High School Championships

The PIAA District 3 Cross Country Championships are on Saturday  this afternoon in Hershey.  And Group Member (and real writer) Tim Johnson helps us relive those great times in another great article for Penn Live.

Tim Johnson, third from left.

I have a few things in common with Tim and a few things different, other than the writing abilities.

  • We both had a top finish of 7th at the PIAA District 3 XC Meet. (In my defense, I did get 5th at States the next week.)
  • We both aren't great golfers, although he is still way better than me.
  • We both cherish our time at PSU.
Not Similar:

  •  He ran at Districts all four years of HS.  I never made it until I was a Senior.  (correction: he only ran 3 years at Districts.  He played football as a Freshman.)
  • He loves being in the stadium for PSU football games.  I can't stand it. 
Anyway, here's his article from Penn Live:

"That’s the true beauty of this meet. In just 16 or 20 minutes’ time on Wednesday afternoon, stories will be written, champions will be crowned, and the great mystery of the 2014 season will, at long last, be put largely to rest. Months’ worth of blood, sweat, and tears have been collected — only to be left behind on the hills of Parkview on a singular October afternoon."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

If This Guy Keeps Talking About Drones, I'm Going To Ask For A Refund On My Platinum Membership!

I will honor any of you who desire a refund on your group membership at any time!  But more about drones!

This is the upgrade version.

Bob Paddison has sent me the link for the raw footage he took of the 8th Annual Hood College Open I attended last week.  It was a fairly windy day, so it wasn't easy for him.  And once I bothered him during the race, I think the drone took off toward Washington DC to report me to the authorities. His upgraded drone had the ability to be summoned back "home" however.  But he recovered for a nice view of the finish of the men's race.  I even got to see Daughter the Elder's teammate Joe Fletcher finish without his shoe in 30th or so place (at 9:45 of the video), which he kicked off in front of me just before the finish.  This inevitably brought the wrath (not really!) of Coach Preston, who reminds them about double knots before every race!  Then he has a good view of the Women's start (starting at 11:37) where I could pick out Daughter the Elder, me, dad, Coach Preston and Daughter the Younger.

He has some advice on those looking to purchase a low-cost unit:

Regarding the $500 dollar version.  If you are asking, just a few thought to consider. 

1.      The Battery system in the original Phantom drone is awkward with a two cable charge/feed system. It is clunky to plug in and stuff the wires into the drone.   The Phantom 2 has an integrated battery connection.
2.      The Camera system if using a go pro camera has two considerations.  
a.      The gopro mount does not have a gimbal system.  It does have vibration dampening.  (and I like GoPro). 
b.      The gopro system (and I think even the Phantom 2) do not have FPV (first person view) video that comes back to the operator, so you are sort of operating in the blind (that’s the video you were looking at on my cell phone during the race, the actual video is recorded in full resolution on an internal memory card.)  It’s not that this capability cannot be added however it takes a little (read “a lot”)   hobby tinkering. To add that capability it looks odd with lots of extras hanging off the platform.   It all depends on your hobby skills.  Like anything,  if you build it yourself you can get additional features but the integrated system included with the “Phantom 2 Vision +”,  I think is still the best ‘out of the box’ experience.
3.      Make sure you have at least 1 or more additional batteries  The Phantom (std) has only about a 15 minute flying time versus the ‘Phantom 2vision +’  about 25 min.    Keep in mind you will be loitering for long periods of time to be in position prior to the starting gun.  As such you will need at least 2 batteries for each XC race (assuming ~27 to 30 min per race).
4.      The ‘Phantom 2 vision+” also includes self-locking propellers.  A very good safety feature(common in most systems now but not in earlier versions).
5.      I am not sure if the original version of the Phantom (the $500 version) supports “Ground Station”.  Ground station (GS) is a GPS system that allows you to pre-program GPS locations and vertical height for a programmed path and out view flying.    While I would like to use GS for XC races I find that because of the speed of the racers ‘free flying’ gives you more control (although you may not feel that I had much control when you see the Hood video).  It was very windy on Saturday, I normally don’t fly above 15 or so Knots.   The drone can fly in higher winds but I was not willing to fly that close to runners in case of stronger gusts.   I have flown in up to 25 mph winds but not near people. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Finally, A Marathon Plan For The Common Man

"I thought I hit the wall, but I just dug deep."

"I just never gave up hope..."  

"I feel like I'm born again."

-Bill Murray, training for the NYC Marathon.

He's mastered golf already, and he's a Heck of a good running coach.  So I believe!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Co-Blogger Becomes a Very Sweet Professional

Apparently, ex-PSU-800M man Matt Groves has successfully made the transition to the half-marathon.  He won the Hershey Half-Marathon with a negative split! And he not only won cash, he won chocolate too.  And that's just in time to beat the coming rise in chocolate prices due to the West African Ebola crisis.  Congrats Matt!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Still More Drones, On My Birthday!! (With a Metaphysical Encounter Confirming My Convictions, Which You Don't Need To Read)

I attended the Hood College Open where I added Community College and Junior College to my Divisions of the World's Greatest Sport I have seen so far this year.  Daughter the Elder ran in her Penn State (Mont Alto) uniform and chopped a minute (and a half! ed.) off her time from last week in the 6K at The Blue/White Course.  Already a good start to my birthday.

Next up was the meeting of the drone operator that has me and George Brose in a tizzy with the ramifications of its use in our sport.  (Think how cool it would be to have drone video of the 1975 NCAA Finals at PSU or the Salazar/Rono duel a few years later.) An even better birthday.

Turns out that Bob Paddison, the drone operator, is from my hometown of York, PA and has just begun to dabble in aerial video with his son's xc race in September.  He relates the package he has costs in the vicinity of $1300 out of the box and runs on his iPhone.  Decent packages like it may run under $1000, which can do a very good job.  He may have some good shots of the start of my daughter's race.

This intrigues me immensely, and if I was State College based, I would have aerial footage of all the races at PSU.  Please send me lottery scratch tickets in my quest for the adequate funding for my adventure!  (Just kidding)  But what a birthday present that would be!

And here's where the metaphysical part begins.  Please stop reading this post if you are someone of no Faith or a person indifferent or antagonistic to me in any way.  This will just make you angry or worse. And I honestly don't want that.

I was one with little Faith for my first 36 years, until a very profound encounter which changed my life.  I'll not bore you here, but I'll gladly tell you about it when we next meet if you so desire.  Now, I have a good bit of Faith and try to live my life with that in mind.  I'm not very good at it yet, but I honestly try to become a little better every day with it. Some would say I have failed, but then again, I'm not nearly finished yet.

When I have praised others on these pages, it is often with this Faith in mind.  When Coach Groves guides me to those he feels are "good" people, I tend to listen.  When the person at the top of his list happens to be someone I idolized as a high school kid, I really tend to listen more.

When Coach fell and was injured significantly, while also being quite ill, there were 2 people who stepped up and provided him the help he needed.  They're still at it, in many more ways than most of you realize.  Without them, Coach would be in a world of hurt.  I can't emphasize how much they have done.

When my convictions are questioned on this praise of others, I certainly listen, analyze, and form an opinion on the matter according to the scientific background PSU taught me, flavored with the Spirit that new-found Faith has provided. And I still feel the same way.

When I went to my favorite fast-food establishment in the world (yeah, Roy Rogers in Thurmont MD!) after the XC meet today, who was standing next to me in line but Greg Fredericks.  It hit me like a revelation, and I take it as firm confirmation that I was correct all along.  Greg happened to be returning from Arlington National Cemetery where a friend in his church was laid to rest with full military honors.  He said it was really impressive.  I could have taken his pic just to confirm all of this with everyone, but I figure you all need to have Faith that this was something beyond ordinary.

I doubt that I'll ever catch up to Greg on his journey of Faith, I'm so far behind, just like on the track.  But I have seen his footprints and I will continue to follow them.  I could do a lot worse...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Let Our New "Director of Drones" School You Some More On The State Of The Art In Cross Country Videos

While I aspire to real reportage on events and things of import in our sport, George Brose actually does it.  He followed up on my off-the-cuff linkage to the drone footage of a XC race where I will be tomorrow for the Hood College Invitational.  He found an actual aerial drone cameraman who did a quite professional job of it.

Check out the post on his blog, Once Upon a Time In The Vest.

I'll try to find a drone operator tomorrow at the meet and report back.

Alumni Singlets and T-Shirts Are In Process!

I get way too much credit for bringing the Alumni Singlets, (and now the T-Shirts), to PSU Track and Field Alumni (Golfers).  Mark Hawkins, Le faucon d'orange (The Orange Hawk), does all the buying and arranging screening for them.  

Those who are among the largest order yet may be contacted by him to make sure of details etc.  Don't be alarmed.  The cost will be about $45 dollars, not counting possible shipping costs when he has the final product.  You will be contacted about the fees beforehand, as Mark has been stuck with several after people change their mind.  I have promised Mark to reimburse him for any such product, which we can try to entice someone else with.

As always, patience is a virtue. No matter when we do a sale and no matter how fast we fulfill it, there is always the desire to have them quicker.  And we all have day jobs.

Those who haven't ordered theirs yet, we'll do it again probably before next year's reunion and golf tourney.  Even for those of us waaaaaay past their athletic careers, the t-shirt is a very distinctive piece of apparel that generates tons of great comments when it is seen at races and other events.  Order one next time to help spread the word and make PSU Track/XC the go-to program in the nation.

Beth and Steve Shisler display their Alumni Singlets!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Streaking In College Should Be a Basic Human Right

 “I didn’t drink. I was never a big party girl, but I streaked. I don’t know why. … I just was in a naked frame of mind. I don’t think I was the only streaker, but I might have been the leader of the streakers. And we just all streaked, all summer.”

There have actually been students kicked out of school and even arrested and jailed for running around without clothes on.  Although I have never actually done it myself, I know so many of you that did!  This was often the first glimpse of a naked opposite sex person (or same sex NTTAWWT!) by many a College Freshman.

So it isn't a surprise that even TV/Movie Stars have joined in.  I'm just sorry there isn't pics or video! Except for her appearance on Conan O'Brien.  It seemed to me O'Brien rings some sort of bell when it comes to Streaking...  See link for that.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Big Ten Athlete of the Week

Via GoPSUSports

"ROSEMOUNT, Ill. - Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) has been named the Big Ten Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Week, as announced by the conference office Tuesday (Oct.14).

Last Saturday, Kidder tallied a third-place finish with his time of 26 minutes, 46 seconds to lead the Nittany Lion men to a team title at the Penn State National. Kidder's time of 26:46 is a season-best for him at the 5.2-mile Blue-White Golf Course......."

 Pre-Nationals  and the chance to garner some at-large points in 3 days.

Drones Invade Cross Country!

The Penn State team will be traveling to the biggest cross country race so far this year at the Pre-National Meet in Terre Haute, Indiana on Saturday.  Finally, we will be able to see what the team can do as a whole.  Good luck!

I'll be traveling to the Catoctin area of Maryland for the Hood College Invitational at Utica Park, just off Rt. 15 near Thurmont MD (and Camp David!)

In browsing the vast internet, I came across this great video of a race at Utica Park earlier this season which provides an aerial view of the course FILMED BY A DRONE!

I suppose we're going to need a Director of Drones soon.
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