Thursday, August 17, 2017

The "Other" Reunion Was Also A Success

The Womens teams from the 70s have been getting together for longer than our group started by Clark Haley in 2002.  They have a triennial get-together and just staged their 9th one on this past weekend in Happy Valley.  I promised no math on the blog, so I won't try to figure out when that started! I am acquainted with many of them.  Some of them have also attended our events, and all of them should know how much we would like to see them at our future events.  Remember, the golf is optional, but highly recommended!  The only requirement is mirth!

Front row L to R
Liz Berry Larsen, Janet Norem, Mary Rawe Rapp, Peggy Cleary McKay

Back row
Sandy Miller, Sue Hawkins DeHart, Maria Lonnett Burgess, Tina Leatherman Jones, Sandy Alexander, Penny Fales Kramer, Carolyn Ihrig, Magda Kubasiewicz, Kris Bankes Jacoby, Donna Gardner Rowland
(Missing from photo- Liz Cunningham Kisenwether

Meeting with Coach Gondak.

A Berkey Creamery stop.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Some Updates on Running Before Cross Country Season Begins

It has been tough getting posts up lately because of the constraints of a "real" job.  But I have been getting submissions from some of my lay interns and I have accumulated a few that update some previously expounded-upon topics concerning running.

Turns out that the plaques that build up in arteries of endurance athletes differ from those that build up in non-athletes.  And these differences may mean we don't need to worry as much.

Rats provide the subjects here.  Running wheels significantly altered neurogenesis and memory for the better.  I have always kept mice as pets, and they run more than I do.  Sometimes all night.

And while he makes a few valid points on mankind's evolutionary propensity for running, I still fart in his general direction.  (Thanks to George McWilliams for this one.)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Looking For Nittany Lions

Ron Bile' Ferguson, Bill Kehner and Tim Elmo Kelly
I'm here in Sea Isle City NJ for Spouse the Better's 24th in a row 10 Mile Beach Patrol Run.   In the past, Tyler McCandless and Kyle Dawson have won here, but I haven't crossed paths with any Lions so far.

Friend Bill Kehner will be finishing his 40th in a row. How's that for consistency? He has dozens of first place age group prizes.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Coach Groves Had A Good Arts Festival Week

Coach Groves had many visitors and activities during the week of the Arts Festival in State College.  I fondly remember the early days of the event even though the 10-Miler (Matt Grove says the 10-Miler is back!) and fiddle contest no longer exist.  sigh...

From KKOB, an intrepid intern with apparently more time on his hands than I!!!!
"The Arts Festival Races are the oldest races in Central Pennsylvania. First run in 1975 as a 10 mile race, the Arts Festival race was shortened to a 10K race in 1986. In 2005, race organizers added a 5K and created a new course that combines the best of Penn State’s East and West Campuses. The 10 mile race was reinstituted in 2013 giving participants the chance to experience “Arts Festival weather” for a full ten miles."
But the fiddle contest is no longer part of the festivities.  A double blind contest of fiddle skills always provided some neat entertainment.

Greg and Coach out for a walk.

Coach always gathers a crowd.

Steve Brown with Coach and Greg.

Coach dunked 2 aides at his residence.

2 Clowns.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Nittany Lions Finish Their World Championship Performances

There were at least 5 Nittany Lions associated athletes in the IAAF World Championships.  They have all concluded their events after day 3.

  • Eddie Lovett is an Assistant Coach and hurdler who represented The Virgin Islands.  He finished 5th in his Semi-Final heat in 13.67.  He ran 13.41 in his Qualifying heat to make the Semi-Finals.  That makes him the 18th best hurdler in the World.
  • Isaiah Harris ran his 35th race of the year in the Semi-Finals of the 800M.  The early pace was slow and he roughly ran even splits for each 400M.  He finished 4th in his heat with a 1:46.66.  He had Auto-Qualified with a 1:45.82 second place finish in his heat. He finished officially in 17th position in the World.
  • Former Assistant Coach Ryan Whiting returned to International action following last year's surgery and made the final eight in the Shot Put.  He finished in 7th with a toss of 21.09M or 69' 2 1/4".
  • Darrell Hill backed up last year's Olympic appearance with an 11th place finish in the Shot Put with a heave of 20.79M or 68' 2 1/2".
  • Despite a final toss that could have been the winner, Joe Kovacs again had a minor touch of the top of the board and had to settle for 2nd in the Shot Put. 71' 3/4" Congrats, Joe!
Silver Medalist Joe Kovacs!
Darrell Hill
Isaiah Harris

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Honorary Track Alumni Golfer Dave Wottle Tuning Up For His 1972 Gold Medal

With the recent post detailing a neat episode in Jim Ryun's life from his son, I had opportunity to ask Greg Fredericks whether he ever raced Jim Ryun.  At the time, I never figured he had jumped into the middle distance territory of America's greatest miler and the (future) 800M Olympic Gold Medalist Dave Wottle.

But he did, and we have exquisite video proof if you can tolerate the first 2:43 of 10 guys shaking their legs in the damp April chill.  You can almost see Coach Groves standing at the wall under the clock. Greg even led 2/3 of the race enroute to one of his many 4:01.x and 4:00.x efforts in the lead up to his eventual sub-4 mile in 1978 (3:59.7)!

The 1972 Dream Mile

And here's a nice write up about Greg unearthed from the way-back machine.

 Greg Fredericks by Peter Gambaccini

Greg Fredericks was second in the 10,000 meters at the 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials, making the Olympic team that, alas, boycotted the Moscow Games. Fredericks had won a U.S. championship in the 10,000 in 1972, setting an American record of 28:08.0, and was the 1975 U.S. cross-country champion. The Penn State graduate had career bests of 13:34 for 5000 and 28:03 for 10,000. He now works in computer support at the Applied Research Lab on the Penn State campus.

Runner's World Daily: Take us back to your first U.S. title, the 10,000 in 1972.
Greg Fredericks: That was the race where I beat Frank Shorter, Jack Bacheler, and Tom Laris and broke Billy Mills's American record. Based on that, people think I made the Olympic team that year.

RWD: What did happen at the '72 Trials?
GF: What it really comes down to is Frank Shorter took everybody out and just dropped us all. It was one of those extremely unusual periods in Eugene where it was like 95 degrees. They were hosing the track down. A bunch of runners, like Jeff Galloway, were training in the heat and humidity of Florida. But it didn't really matter. Shorter set a fast pace and the rest of us died off of it.

RWD: What kept you from winning any NCAA titles while at Penn State?
GF: Steve Prefontaine. I got second to him all the time. Although in my senior year, 1972, we had a great 5000 race. He ran the second-fastest American time. I ran the fourth fastest.

RWD: For the 1980 Trials, were you back in the 10,000 because you were getting older and the 10-K didn't require the leg speed of the 5-K?
GF: I never viewed it that way. I always thought my better chance was in the 10-K because I had more speed than most 10-K guys. I had actually broken 4:00 for the mile [a 3:59.7] in 1978; I was always around it for most of my career, but had never taken a really good shot at it.

RWD: Having made the team, what was your mindset about the Americans not being allowed to go to Moscow?
GF: I couldn't fathom that the U.S. would not enter a team. I just went out with the idea that we were definitely going to find a way. It wasn't until we warmed down, took our drug test, and got further instructions from our specific event coach and he handed us a schedule. There was no Olympic Games on it.

RWD: How long after that did you keep running at the elite level?
GF: I went through the Olympic Trials in '84 in LA. I stepped off the track and haven't competed since. The way I recall it, I was the first nonqualifier for the final. A dubious distinction.

RWD: What's your involvement with the sport now?
GF: From about '85 to '95 I was involved in our Centre County Special Olympics, coaching the track-and-field athletes. And we've decided to get youth cross-country going in our county, starting this fall for kids 14 and under. A lot of kids grow up liking to run, but there's nothing for them in the cross-country vein in this area.

RWD: Did you ever get involved in masters racing?
GF: No. My body just doesn't hold to the rigors it requires to take care of business. I run about 30 miles a week now. About a year ago, I started going down to the track every Thursday. It's tough, the hamstrings in particular. I was never that flexible to begin with. The first thing we did on the track was a quarter. My brain was attuned to doing them in 60, 61. We went out and ran one and I heard "something-seven." I thought, "67? It sure felt faster than 67." It was a 77, and I was hurting pretty bad. It's taken me about a year now to where I feel comfortable running low 70s.

RWD: Does Haile Gebrselassie astonish you?
GF: Oh yeah. We'll look at his results and say, "Do you know what that is per quarter?" It's just phenomenal. We're starting to really visualize the fact that somebody's going to be running 60 seconds per lap for 10-K. That's just astounding. We'll see it. I'm pretty confident we will.

Penn State Records

5000 Meters 13:34.0 Greg Fredericks 1972
10,000 Meters 28:08.0 Greg Fredericks 1972

Thursday, August 3, 2017

When Men Were Men And Women Were OK With It

 Came across this post from Jim Ryun's son on the internet thingie.  It points out a more innocent time in the track and field world.  Kinda miss that...
(My) Dad (Jim Ryun) always seems to dig up fun stories at camp. This morning he was sharing with the campers about how, after the 1972 Olympic Trials, he showed up for a workout at the University of Kansas track.

Coach Timmons met him there.

"Jim, we're going to work on a little speed today. 2x800m. Here's what I want. Nothing faster than 1:50 on the first one. Take a couple of laps, then run the second one faster. And I'm leaving, so let me know how it goes."

Dad, entirely solo, ran 1:50 on the nose. Took two laps, ran the second one in 1:49. A couple weeks later, he ran a 3:52 mile and won by 14 seconds.
Here's a video of a motivational speech by Jim Ryun at my daughter's National XC (USCAA) meet. Daughter the Elder was lucky enough to be presented with her Academic All-American certificate by Jim himself.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Let's Settle This Once And For All

Here's a sand sculpture built by a leading member of our group who shall remain nameless.  It was built on the wonderful shores of the Garden State just last week to taunt the mostly Philadelphia oriented clientele there.  Seeing that Pittsburgh has won a few Stanley Cups lately, it seems to say, "We are better than you!" 

So what do you think?  Philadelphia or Pittsburgh?  The choices are simple.  Please fill out the poll on the left sidebar of the full website, and let's settle this once and for all!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Lull In The Action

As we await the start of the IAAF World Championships on Friday (and the start of the XC season at PSU) here's a reminder of PSU ties.

Remember, PSU has 4 athletes in action at the World Championships:
  • Isaiah Harris  800M  currently ranked 9th in the world!  1:44.53
  • Darrell Hill    Shot Put   currently ranked 7th in the world!  71' 10 3/4"
  • Joe Kovacs   Shot Put  currently ranked 2nd in the world   74'  3/4"
  • Ryan Whiting   Shot Put   currently ranked 11th in the world   70' 8"
  • Shot Put Qualifying   Saturday, August 5th   5:00AM Eastern
  • 800M Qualifying      Saturday, August 5th   7:45AM Eastern 
  • 800M  Semi-Finals   Sunday, August 6th  4:15PM Eastern
  • Shot Put Finals          Sunday, August 6th  3:35PM Eastern 
  • 800M Finals              Tuesday, August 8th   4:35PM  Eastern     
Isaiah Harris
Darrell Hill
Joe Kovacs
Ryan Whiting

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Post Combining PSU Track and Field, Intelligence, Golf, a Dog, and Love

Both Penn State Track and Field teams recently achieved recognition from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).  Both teams were named All-Academic with the Women reaching a team GPA of 3.39 and the Men 3.05.

Fifteen individuals received recognition as All-Academic:
 Kayla Zoschg, Megan McCloskey, Tessa Barrett, Madeline Holmberg, Rachel Banks, Lexi Masterson, Steph Seivers, Tichina Rhodes, Danae Rivers, Greta Lindsley and Hannah Mulhern
 Dan Chisena, Jordan Makins, Jon Yohman and Michael Biddle.
And on a note that brings me great joy, Kevin Fuller and Mary Dell were united in marriage last weekend.  Everyone knows how much I admire the Fuller clan and their harem.  I wish them every joy in the years ahead.

Mary (Dell) Fuller and Kevin Fuller

Simon, with a better tux than anyone.

Mary and Kevin at the last Golf Tourney, with Todd Leggett and Tom Shiffer.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Another Nittany Lion Victim Of A Wrong Direction Mishap

This time Tyler McCandless PhD was ushered in the wrong direction at the San Francisco Half-Marathon.  Both he and the second place runner followed the lead bike and missed an out-and-back 0.6 mile section of the race.  I'll let Tyler tell it from his Facebook Post:
In today's San Fran half, I took out the pace aggressively and had a considerable lead early on. I stayed focused on the lead bike ahead but noticed by mile 5 the splits were not adding up to the time in my watch. I ran strong to the finish, splitting between 4:51-5:15 every mile from 3-finish. After crossing the line in 1:02 I told the next official immediately that there's no way the course was a full 13.1 miles. I then turned to the lead cyclist and told him the same thing and we needed to talk to the race organizer immediately. Turns out, the lead cyclist missed taking me and the second place finisher on an out-and-back, cutting the course short by 0.6mi for the two of us. Both him and I were (rightfully) disqualified since we didn't run the full distance. Frustrating to not have the opportunity to achieve goals I had set out for the race, but every setback is the opportunity for a comeback...

I personally witnessed the Philadelphia debacle in 1983 when Bill Kvashay was steered in the wrong direction just before entering Franklin Field for the Marathon victory and 1984 Olympic Trials qualifier.

The most interesting part to me was how well both took their setbacks.  True Nittany Lion poise.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Canadian Nittany Lions In Peru For The Pan-Am Under-20 Championships

Upcoming Sophomore Karson Kowalchuk just missed making the finals of the 100M with 10.80, but incoming Freshman Victoria Tachinski won the 800M with a splendid 2:04.22.

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