Happy third day of Outdoor Track Season!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

I Hate The Pagoda

Our Keeper of the Cup Harry Smith will not be joining us this year at the Golf Outing due to his coaching duties. Volleyball coaching duties!  He reports that The Harry Groves Memorial Cup will be updated with the new engraving and dropped off in time for our tourney, however.

And he dug into his dusty archives to come up with a way of tormenting me.  Turns out we ran in the same race back in 1978, with 3 other teammates.  I'd rather forget the Pagoda 1/2 Marathon Classic in Reading PA.

The Pagoda sits on top of the mountain above Reading, so probably all of you have seen it without the shivers I get every time.  The race started in downtown Reading and the Pagoda was the turn-around spot.  In other words, the first half is all uphill and the second half is all downhill.  I was a pretty good uphill runner, but not very good at running downhill.  That meant a splendid turn-around place every year and then watch as people passed me the whole second half.

Turns out that 5 PSU runners were there, including the winner, "Noisy" Jim Clelland!

  1. (1)    Jim Clelland     1:07:17
  2. (14)  Dave Baskwill  1:12:30
  3. (20)  Harry Smith      1:13:26
  4. (30)  Doug Kent        1:14:48
  5. (35)  Rich Prann        1:15:10
I'll just add that this race was a very difficult one, so quit criticizing the times!

Some say that's me on the right of the pic next to the bushy-haired Mark Amway!

"Noisy" Jim Clelland breaks the tape.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

It's Time!

14th Annual Harry Groves Golf Outing / Track and Field Alumni Gathering – THREE MONTHS AWAY!!
Greetings All,

This year’s outing is quickly approaching and will be held the weekend of May 16, starting with our meet and greet Friday, May 15th at Damons (Located in front of the Hampton Inn) from 7-10pm (appetizers and soda’s will be provided – Booze is on your own, sorry!), concluding with our dinner reception Saturday, May 16th after the golf outing. 

The Alumni "run" will start at the track at 9:oo am on Saturday, May 16th for anyone interested in a short jog or a loop around campus.  Coffee and Donuts served at the track – Coach Groves will be the official starter… 

The Golf outing will be held at the Mountain View Golf Club (former Elks Club) again this year with the putting contest taking place at noon followed shortly thereafter with the outing beginning at 1pm (if I’m wrong with that, I will send a follow up email).   

There will be a group gathering (to hike Mt. Nittany or take a campus tour) at the hotel between noon and 1pm as well (for those not interested in golf). 

 The dinner reception (after golf) will take place at Damon’s –Banquet room yet to be determined – beginning at 7pm – Cash Bar.

We have a block of rooms reserved (under Penn State Track and Field alumni) at the Hampton Inn with a reduced rate of $99 / night (1101 East College Avenue (814) 231-1590) – they will hold this block until May 1st so plan ahead, after that it jumps another $30/night . 

 All checks for golf and dinner will need to be sent to me this year at 112 Coachlight Circle – Chalfont, PA 18914 (we’re not sophisticated enough to run this through any kind of a credit card yet though we may explore Pay Pal in the future (Baskwill??!!))…  (ed. will do for next year!)

The fees this year are the same as last - $150 for those attending the outing and the receptions – the “newbie’s” will again have a reduced rate of $100 (anyone graduating in the past 5 years).  Those of you “flying” in (by plane – need to clarify that for Black since he thinks driving 90 mph should be considered flying) will enjoy the same reduced rate (unless your name is Bill Malchano).  If you choose to attend the Friday night function alone, the fee will be $25 – Saturday alone, $50.  Costs for those with children (under 18) attending the reception(s) - $5 on Friday night and $10 on Saturday.

This event is open to both men and women (large hint there) and friends of PSU alumni - the more the merrier!  Do not feel as if you would embarrass yourself if you have no golf game (we’ve been embarrassing ourselves for 13 years now and enjoy laughing about it…). 

I’m sure there will be many frolicking late into the hours of Friday and Saturday so bring extra Excedrin…
Dave, Harry and I are happy to announce the inclusion of Brian Fuller, Artie Gilkes and Ken Brinker to the golf committee – so feel free to yell at them for whatever reason you’d like!  Did I mention contributions for both the endowment fund and golf outing are gladly accepted!

If you should have any questions or comments, please let me know – Hope to see you this year!              CH

Monday, March 2, 2015

Alumni Impress In The Ice and Snow

National Champion 600M! American Record.

The USATF Indoor Championships were held in Boston over the weekend.  There is a lot of snow everywhere there except at the track.  While 1,600 miles away, there was ice at the Cowtown Half-Marathon near Austin, Texas.  All the races were canceled except the half.

And what is a 800M runner to do in an off year when the 800M isn't even being run at the USATF Championships?  Well, how about reset his own American Record in the 600M, while tickling the long-standing World Record!  Our minions were there, with photographic proof.  (That's Tom Shiffer!) Congratulations Casimir Loxsom!

Contemplative at the start. Photo by Tom Shiffer.
Quit blocking the view! Photo by Tom Shiffer.
Miles of smiles. National Champion Casimir Loxsom. Photo by Tom Shiffer.

There's the tenths!. Photo by Tom Shiffer.

And the Cowtown Half-Marathon in Fort Worth showed the mettle of Tyler McCandless, who worked his way through the field and almost snatched the victory from the Kenyans. 

Tyler "Tex" McCandless and friend.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Women Third, Men Fourth At Big Tens

There were some great performances Saturday at the Big Ten Indoor Track Championships at the Spire Institute in Nowhere, Ohio.  And Jim McClelland, father of PSU high jumper Michael McClelland (10th in the high jump) was there apparently clicking his camera every second of the competition.  I haven't met him yet, but he is on record as golfing with us this year at the 14th Annual Coach Harry Golf Tournament and Track Alumni Reunion in May.  Come join us! Maybe we'll get some actual good pictures this year, instead of my blurry unframed ones. Can't wait.

Robby Creese and Brannon Kidder, 1,2 in the Mile. Photo by Jim McClelland.

Darrell Hill, tops in the Shot Put. Photo by Jim McClelland.

Steve Waithe, Brian Leap, #2,#3 in the Triple Jump. Photo by Jim McClelland.

Distance Medley Relay Squad, #1 with Brannon Kidder, Za'Von Walkins, Jordan Makins and Alex Shisler. Photo from Steve Shisler.

Tori Gerlach, #1 in the 5000M. Photo by Jim McClelland.
And there's Alumni action at the USATF Indoor Championships today, as Casimir Loxsom runs the finals of the 600M.  There is no 800M this year!

And last, but not least, Original Alumni Golfer Bill Malchano broke out his Alumni Singlet for a hearty run in The Cardinal 10K in North Carolina.

Bill Malchano unleashes his Alumni Singlet.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Distance Runners Get PSU Off To Good Start At Big Ten Championships

That's a headline I have not been able to use in the 7 or so years of the blog with it all.  I enjoyed writing it today.

The 3000M was a good start for both the Men and Women at the first day of the Big Ten meet at the Spire Institute in Ohio.  With wins in both the Shot Put and the Distance Medley, the Men are in second place entering the penultimate Saturday finish. The Women are tied for fourth.

W 3000 M:      3  Tori Gerlach             9:17.39
                        4  Elizabeth Chikotas   9:21.62

M 3000M:       1  Robby Creese           8:10.75
                        6  Matt Fischer             8:14.13

M Shot Put:     1  Darrell Hill               66'  6"

M Distance Medley: (Jordan Makins, Alex Shisler, Za'Von Watkins, Brannon Kidder) 1  9:40.62

Brannon Kidder, Photo by Jim McClelland.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Scientific "Consensus"

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself-and you are the easiest person to fool."
-Richard Feynman

"If I were wrong, one would be enough."
-Albert Einstein, about the 100 Nazi scientists questioning his theory.

We read an awful lot about scientific consensus as of late.  And there is always money somewhere in the equation.  Money has ruined many a good scientist.  And created many a bad one.

Now the food scientists have staggered out many "changes" to their recommendations lately, reversing decades of absolutes that have made all of our lives more difficult. Beware of the low-fat enthusiast trying to sell you a non-fat yogurt.

  1. You're Not Drinking Enough Coffee 
  2. Your Peanut Allergy Is Mom's Fault.  
  3. Eggs Are OK, after all.
  4. Salt Your Food As Much As You Want.

Monday, February 23, 2015

More Big Ten Memories (It's Big Ten Time!)

Will Rottler sent me this pic and suggested it as a good Big Ten Memory.  I was actually there when it happened, but I think we should use it as a crowd-sourced memory.  Please help by supplying the back story to this photo in the comments below.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Your Big Ten Memories! But First Mine.

I'm very pleased to be among those included in the thoughts of those in charge of the Penn State Track and Field hierarchy.  As an active Alumni group, we have plenty to offer, and with our continued efforts, Penn State's standing in the Track and Field World will only grow.  So when Will Rottler tipped me off to the next blog post from his office and asked me to help, I let my mind wander to "What is my best Big Ten memory?"

You see, I'm way too old, and have no athletic connections to the Big Ten.  I did run in the Coaches Conference Championships in 1980, Joe Paterno's failed effort to form an Eastern Conference of football.  It eventually became the Big East, at least partially.  I don't think there was ever another track and field iteration of the Coaches Conference.

But I do have a fairly significant Big Ten memory (at least to me!).  Back in those early years I actually had football tickets and standing reservations at Toftrees for the football games.  But when the paid-in-full-a-year-in-advance criteria came into being, I noticed that an efficiency apartment for the full year was substantially less than the 6 or 7 football game accomadations.  So I had an efficiency apartment on College Avenue for 4 years and could go to State College at any time for any event, including sporting events, Arts Festivals, concerts and just about anything else, (including just fleeing my mundane existence).  Needless to say, a cozy apartment that slept 6 just steps away from campus, restaurants and McClanahans made me more popular than I have ever been, before or after.

So when the 1996 Big Ten Outdoor Championships were held at Penn State, I was there with bells on.  My wife came with me, even though she was pregnant with our first kid after years of "waiting".  When she told me she wasn't feeling well during the meet, she asked to walk back to the apartment and would see me after the meet.

She still wasn't feeling well when I returned, nor for days afterward.  Despite this she continued to go to work, feeling worse and worse every day.  As it turned out, she was suffering from complications of pregnancy of a significant nature, with a high chance of mortality for her and our child.  A simple blood pressure wrist device I had saved her life, as it registered the highest reading I had ever seen.  I took her to the hospital and in an emergency c-section, my daughter was born the next day, 9 1/2 weeks before she was due. 

As I held the birdlike thing in the palm of my rather small hand, I asked the hulking neonatal specialist in front of me "Will she make it?"  I'll never forget the very certain response he gave me.  "She's a keeper."  Despite her 2nd day weight of below 2 pounds, she is now a healthy Penn State Freshman this year with better grades than I ever got, and a First Team All-Conference medal in cross country for the PSU campuses, which she got running in the Penn State National.

 Despite my usual grumpiness and general Curmudgeon-like demeanor, I am fully aware of what a miracle is.  And it all started at a Big Ten Championship Meet in State College.  Sorta...

Now, please give me some of your Big Ten memories which I'll pass along to Will and the team.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Plea To Join Us This Year

I often said that either viewing a Tiger Woods commercial or having mini-golfed once in the past 10 years qualifies you for our Coach Groves Golf Tournament in May (16th!).  But with Tiger having disappeared from the scene and mini-golf courses closing all over the US, I have come up with a new criteria.

If you know who Bill Murray is, you are more than able to golf with us!  The tourney is a Best Ball format (actually a best ball scramble!)  which means you don't even have to know how to golf to enjoy the company of so many of us Alums, thrashing and hacking through the greenery of Happy Valley.  If you blindly sink 1 putt out of the 36 or more you take, you'll be heralded as a savior and lavished with praise by Coach Groves himself.  There are numerous non-golfers enshrined on The Cup as I speak.

Please consider joining us in honoring Coach Groves, and the entire Penn State Track Family on May 16th.

Artist's Conception of Bill Appearing at our tourney.
Here's a great article about Bill in Golf Digest and a link to the website Bill Murray Stories.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

It's Deja Vu All Over Again

My perusal of the internet netted me this pic of Blog Contributor Nick Scarpello following a fine 10-Miler in 51:16, which is almost exactly my PR for the distance.  I won't tell him by how many seconds I bested him in 1977!  But then again, today 10 miles takes me 3 days or more, so I'm not bragging.  I won a frozen turkey back then but I think he won cash. Nice run Nick!

Excellent use of the Alumni Singlet.
Maximum exposure of Alumni Singlet!
And be sure to contact Nick if you are interested in The Encinitas Mile.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Three Track Meets And A Renaissance

It was pretty difficult keeping up with the PSU Track Team this week, as they split into 3 squads and headed for the far reaches of the United States.

The closest squad competed at the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio. A second set traveled to The Tyson Invite in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The third group traveled to The Husky Classic in Seattle, Washington.  That'a a lot of miles, for sure.


  • Spire Institute:    Za'von Watkins  1:50.68  800M, Luke Pease  4,364 points, Heptatlon
  • Tyson Invite:  Darrell Hill 67' 2.75" SP, Womens 4 x 400  3:34.90, Brian Leap 51-9.25 TJ, Steve Waithe 51-7.25 TJ
  • Husky Classic:  Robby Creese 7:50.36, 3000M (School Record), Brannon Kidder 3:57.13 Mile (0.02 off Robby Creese's School Record)
That makes 2 sub-3:58 milers on the Penn State Squad!  And yet they have plenty of competition.  Yesterday 4 Georgetown runners ran under 4:00 for the mile in the same race in Boston.  And Oklahoma State had 3 runners under the mark yesterday.  It truly is a Renaissance for middle distance running in America. A total of 19 college athletes ran under 4:00 for the mile yesterday across the nation.

At the Valentine's Invitational in Boston, the third heat was rather remarkable!
                                        1 Bartelsmeyer, Amos Georgetown 3:58.45
                                        2 Bile, Ahmed Georgetown 3:58.54
                                        3 Manahan, Ryan Georgetown 3:58.57
                                        4 Lederhouse, Michael Georgetown 3:59.54

Bridget Franek greets Nittany Lions.
Photo by Paul Merca.

In other PSU Alumni action, Cas Loxsom won the 800 M at the Husky Classic with a very fine lean at the tape and a 1:47.81.  And Bridget Franek jumped back into action in the 3000 M with a 9:14.05.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Tortoise And The Hare

First up, the tortoise.  And what a tortoise!  A tortoise that, if he could talk, would be able to tell us what the world was like during the same time as the very first wagon train crossed the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming.  No kidding.  I swear I'm not making that up!  Jonathan is 183 years old.  At least.  He could be older...

Just like with Gary, don't get your fingers near Jonathan's mouth.

As for the hare, I have an apology to make.  I excluded Gary Black's Performance from the 2014 Performance of the Year final poll because so many votes came in from his Austrian friends, it overwhelmed the votes from our faithful readers.  Gary's European friend's got wind of the poll and easily bested the totals from any previous poll we have run.  That made Gary's exploits the top performance of 2014, bettering a National title in the shot put, a second place National finish in the 800M and the second fastest distance medley relay ever run in the NCAA.  I felt justified in excluding him from the finals.  But now I have reconsidered.

And now that he bettered his 2014 performance in the 2015 Dopey Challenge in Disney Worlds Marathon weekend (5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon on successive days) by 90 minutes, I have created a special category for his exploits.  So he is the first winner of the Joint Replacement Performance Which Is Still Way Better Than Anything I Can Do With Real Joints Award.  See, Gary ran under 9 minutes/mile in the entire event with 2 artificial hips.  

He will be receiving a lobster dinner from Red Lobster during the Lobsterfest from me as compensation for my error.  And he promises to do better next year!  I slink off in shame...

The Alumni Singlet was a nice touch!

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