Wednesday, December 12, 2018

PSU Is 800U: World Record Edition!

We have highlighted PSU's half-mile and 800M prowess many times, from the turn of the previous Century to this year's NCAA Championship.  But here's one I didn't know about.  And the greatest Track and Field Museum Curator Mike Fanelli, just dug up another one!

Following the 1952 Olympics where Horace Ashenfelter set the world record in the 3000M Steeplechase, the team headed to Jolly Ole for a battle of Revolutionary importance.  The US team bested the Brits in a head-to-head matchup for all the marbles.

In that crew was Horace's brother Bill on the 4 x 880y team.  And they won against the home team in a world record time of 7:29.2

Thursday, December 6, 2018

A Frivilous Post Just Because

Paul Newman's self-professed favorite movie.  It gets better each time it is watched.  Written by a woman who's brother was a minor league hockey player.  The ultimate movie to explain what the '70s were really like.  And some people you probably know were extras in the movie.  Half of State College drove to Johnstown for the rink scenes.  I once dressed in the arena just below the Managers Office for the Johnstown 10K, my all-time 10K PR.  Even won a pair of shoes in the post race raffle.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Indoor Memories

The more recent Nittany Lions have reveled in the glory that is the ultra-modern indoor track at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Complex.  But things weren't always so easy or beautiful like they are now!  Some of us toiled in what would now be called primitive conditions.  Somehow, we still had fun, learned things and excelled anyway.

The world's greatest Track and Field Museum curator, Mike Fanelli, recently posted an old photo of a high school indoor meet in the 1960s.  It did not fail to get a rise out of many people, including our very own Chief Morale and Laundry Officer, Larry Mangan.  I just wish Larry would write these things down for the blog instead of making me steal them from the other intertubes!
At Penn State my freshman year, we worked out on the "track" in the rafters (asbestos anyone?) of Rec Hall. That rectangular torture device basically had one and a quarter lanes. You did your recovery hugging the inside railing (yes, railing) while all types of sprinters and middle distance runners blazed by on your right as they completed their workouts. As your fatigue increased, your chances of weaving to the right increased, as did your chance of getting run over by Paul Lankford or Gary Schwartz (why was the throws coach running on that "track"?). We actually held an intrasquad meet on that damn medieval surface. Fortunately, Penn State's athletic administration, in all its glorious wisdom, moved us to the Greenberg Indoor Sport Complex, lovingly referred to as the Ice Palace. The surface of this unheated (yes, unheated in Central PA - wisdom) facility, which also had leaking skylights (yes, skylights in an unheated facility), was a hard, green, pebbled finish. Oh, and it was a flat, 13 lap to the mile circuit. The 20 meter straightaways provided a brief respite to everyone's screaming Achilles's tendons. My favorite part of the warm up was using our racing spikes to chip away the ice that formed on the track when the aforementioned skylights failed to hold their water. I would have much preferred to run outside on a creaky old board track.

My favorite memory of the Rec Hall Intrasquad Meet was the 400M.  Each heat had two athletes who hated each other.  One or the other ended up "over the rails" or "into the wall" in every dual.  Highly entertaining for a skinny Freshman looking to survive the spike injuries and sore throat to come in his 2-mile race!

Larry Mangan leads the Mile!

And let's not leave out the Greenberg Complex, which we have dealt with before...

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Indoor Season Has Arrived

Some Nittany Lions saw their first action of the season at the Bison Opener at Bucknell. The six total athletes combined for seven first places!

But I am not here to bring you the particulars of that meet.  I would rather tout the opening season exploits of one of our very own.

Phil Cararher opened his 30th-whatever season with the longest throw ever by a 49 year-old American!  His best put landed 50' 7.5" from the circle at the Appalachian State Open.  Well done, Big Guy. And he is looking for much more this season.

Phil overseeing an athlete at his fitness facility.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Something We May Have Never Seen Before!

For what may be the first time ever, Penn State has had its recruiting class rated as the Number 1 team in the nation.  The Track and Field News is the source:
And here's our rating of the year's top women's recruiting classes. The First 5: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
There may be some exciting things ahead for all of us.

1. Penn State

It’s a rare haul for John Gondak as the Nittany Lions score a rare quadrifecta—including 2 No. 1s—of All-America talent: No. 1 quartermiler Alexis Holmes (51.21 HSL for No. 7 on the all-time list, plus 23.46), No. 1 putter Payden Montana (51-0 HSL, plus 164-11), No. 3 hammerer Gianna Rao (189-1) & No. 4 long jumper Breana Gambrell (20-4½/20-8½w). And for good measure, top 20 discus thrower Piper Klinger (160-0) as the Penn Staters make only their second First 5 appearance ever (they were previously No. 4 in ’03).

America's #1 400M runner, Alexis Holmes.

Monday, November 19, 2018

NCAA Div I XC: Another Top 20 Finish

That makes 4 top-20 finishes in a row for the Nittany Lion Women.  And that makes us one of only 8 teams that can claim that statistic!


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Some More Pics From The NCAA Regionals

Greg Fredericks sent me some exclusive photos from his vantage point at the Meet.

Alison Willingmyre
The PSU 1, 2 Place Finishers.
Turns out that Danae Rivers did not beat Alison Willingmyre at the Regionals, as Alison outleaned Danae at the finish.

I can't wait to talk about the many races that Greg had with my newest friend on the Interwebby thingie.  More to come...

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A Personal Tribute

Figuring that this is my blog, as well as OUR website, this is a tribute to one of the best dogs to have ever lived.

Peke Pom (aka Cinnamon) was a 5-pound Pekinese Pomeranian mix that has delighted everyone she has met over the last 15 years.

Peke Pom (Cinnamon)

Despite her size, she bacame the Alpha Dog following the death of her long-time companion Pookie seven years ago. She also somehow ran the separate Universe of 5 cats that inhabit my home (Camp Snoopy, as it is known).  I'm not sure how any of that worked, but she ran the show with incredible precision and uncanny abilities.

She was a true Princess, and knew it.  But she treated everyone with kindness and good cheer all of her days.  She delighted in frequent sleepovers at neighbor's houses even when we were around.  There were tears in many people's eyes with her demise.

Her beauty was enhanced by a double coat of fur, combining the best of a Pomeranian and the silky long hair of a Pekinese.  She even had natural crimping of her ear fur, a look that was much sought after in the 1980s.

Artist's conception of Peke Pom as a human.

Luckily, we were able to have her cancerous mouth tumor excised and lased, which gave us 3 months to stage a goodbye tour of all of her favorite places.  She was treated with any food she wanted, and sat at a large window every day to rule over her expanded domain.  She never suffered as the tumor slowly grew back.  We can tell she appreciated all we gave to her, which was just a smidgen of what she has given our entire family.

Can't wait to be reunited with her to learn how running an even bigger show has been for her!

Peke Pom and Daughter the Elder.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

1978 NCAA XC Championships

This is a repost of Larry Mangan's post to our Facebook page.  This way even the non-FB readers will get to enjoy the goodness!

On a cold (18 degrees), windy, day back in 1978, on the Yahara Hills Golf Course in Madison, Wisconsin, seven intrepid Penn State harriers jumped off the line to begin the start of a fine, three-year period in PSU cross country history. We finished 4th that day in Madison, and would take bronze in each of the next two years. Each Nittany Lion was of regular college age and from NY, PA and OH. Bordering our corral at the start were the very over-aged Cougars and Miners from Washington State and UTEP. Coach Groves was quite delighted when one of his charges, who will go unnamed, in a fit of anxiety and hypothermia, "politely" asked the folks on either side of us to "speak f***ing english". How did 40 years pass so quickly?

   9 Snyder, Robert 29:48
 54 Zeigler, John 30:36
 61 Mangan, Larry 30:41
 73 Baden, Bruce 30:50
113 Rapp, Thomas 31:11
120 Scharsu, Alan 31:19
129 Wyatt, Michael 31:27

Bob Snyder, running with the Big Dogs!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

NCAA XC Regionals Weekend

There was consistently cold and windy conditions across the East.  The weather added an extra challenge for the Nittany Lion Women.  But they came through and attained their 9th out of 10 years moving on to the Finals.

And Danae Rivers has added to her already great resume by placing first for the Women despite falling in the early race.  With her newly aquired range, she is becoming one of the greats of PSU Middle and Long Distance running.

Photo by John McGraw.
Oh, the carnage I! John McGraw photo

Oh, the carnage II! John McGraw photo

Brave and dedicated Alums! John McGraw photo
 In other news of the weekend...
  • Mary Cate Curran's St. Lawrence team advanced to the Division III Finals at Dream Park in Southern Jersey.  I saw her at one point, but was unable to say hello.
  • Daughter the Younger ran in her first XC NCAA race and learned the valuable lesson about going out too fast!  Hartwick improved on last year's performance.
  • Rob Whiteside's daughter Phoebe placed highly in the Mid-Atlantic Regional in Bethlehem,  PA for her Swarthmore team.
  • Martha White Collin's daughter Valerie also placed highly in the same race with her Carnegie Mellon team moving on to the Finals.
  • John Zeigler and I suffered mightily through a long weekend of Podiatry CME lectures.  John's rewards were many, however.  I took him to lunch at Wegman's for Kung Pao Chicken and got him 50% off on a new pair of shoes at the King of Prussia Roadrunner Sports store! 
Daughter the Younger before the start.

Spouse the Better and John Zeigler.

Friday, November 9, 2018

A Wintry Mix

We all have been there. Snow, sleet and freezing rain. AND 10K to go if you're running. Maybe worse when you aren't!

Bob Radzwich and Jake Bartholomy braved the conditions to watch the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional at Penn State. Looks like the Women will move on...

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

70 Years Ago!

Horace Ashenfelter III placed 2nd in the NCAA IC4A Cross Country Championships in Michigan NY the highest ever finish by a Nittany Lion. (Curt Stone also 2nd in 1946 NCAA XC Champs.)

Photo from Mike Fanelli, T&F museum.

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