Monday, June 29, 2020

Coach Groves Is Still Making Us Do Things

The latest iteration of a time trial to honor Coach Groves was held this weekend.  Not as many took part, but a few brave souls hunkered down and completed an 800M.  I was even in State College, but just about everywhere I wanted to visit was locked up tight.
  • The Outdoor Track - sealed tight
  • The Ashenfelter Complex - not a soul anywhere
  • The Lion Shrine - secluded behind fencing
  • The Sichuan Inn - closed
  • Taco Bell - closed forever
  • The Golden Wok - closed forever
  • Herwig's Austrian Bistro - closed forever
I ended up jogging on the Hotel treadmill.  The other girl running was wearing a mask as she ran sub-6 minute miles two treadmills away.  Sigh.

Ken Cooper led the corps again with a splendid 2:09!  And Greg ran his 880 yards at the Boalsburg Military Museum.  Let's just say, the big guns were silent!

Monday, June 15, 2020

New Singlets Arrived!

It was the largest ever sale of Alumni Singlets and T-Shirts.  Over 50 shirts were distributed by our steadfast Le faucon d'orange (Orange Hawk), Mark Hawkins recently. 

It was also the most difficult of all of our efforts to make Singlets available to our whole Universe.  Many delays occurred for a myriad of reasons.  From licensing problems to Virus shut-downs, they all contributed to lengthy waits for the goods to arrive.

But they turned out splendidly.  Thanks to everyone for the patience and payment of funds!

I already have inquiries about getting more from notable Alums.  Keep tuned into the blog and Facebook Page for any future sales.  Hopefully, there won't be as many problems next time.

The Womens version in Blue

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

A Different Kind Of Streak

I am not referring to KKB's habit of disrobing for a run.  I am not commenting on the natural "free" running of the Yanomamo tribe.  I am not commenting on the Mifflin Mile (RIP).  And I am not even commenting on my 5.6-year streak of at least one mile daily.

Ken Cooper has kept alive his streak of a 5:00 mile every year since he was 15 (I think).  Anyway, that's 34 years straight for the effort.  Turns out that he is 3rd on the active list and the only one of the 3 to have completed his in 2020.  Congrats Ken!

Earlier this year I hit my 34th straight year.  Looking to catch Steve Spence, who's steak is the longest and ended last year at 43 years.  Below is the list.  Some other names you may recognize.


        Athlete                        Yrs    1st    Last    Status
1      Steve Spence                    43      1976    2018    Ended 2019
2      Richard Myers                  42      1971    2012    Ended 2013
3      Tony Young                      41      1975    2015    Ended 2016
4      Joe Carnegie                    40      1970    2009    Ended 2009
5      Peter Kashulines                39      1981    2019    Active - 2019
6      Christian Cushing-Murray        38      1982    2019    Active - 2019
7      Emil Magallanes        38      1971    2008    Ended 2009
8      Pete Kessler                    36      1977    2012    Ended 2013
9      Ken Cooper                      34      1987    2020    Active - 2020
10      Gary Rosenberg                  33      1987    2019    Active - 2019
11      Jeff Barros                    33      1973    2005    Ended 2006
12      Tom Derderian                  33      1967    1999    Ended 2000
13      Dave Milner                    32      1985    2016    Ended 2017
14      Arhreev Bauvnav        30      1991    2020    Active - 2020
15      Mark Coogan                    28      1982    2009    Ended 2010
16      Brian Hilty                    28      1991    2018    Ended 2019
17      Dave Lee                        25      1979    2002    Ended 2002

Monday, June 1, 2020

A Mile For Coach

The Alumni are back at it again, with many running a mile time trial to honor Coach Groves this time araound.  The best time I have heard is from Ken Cooper with 4:51.  That also keeps his streak of years running under 5:00 alive, well into the 30s...  Let us know.

Here's Greg Fredericks effort, filmed by Anne.

And here's the official Lego version of Greg running the 1980 Olympic Trials 10K, where he placed 2nd to Craig Virgin and ahead of Alberto Salazar.  (For the record, the 1980 one was the only one he didn't wear the PSU Singlet.  In 1972 he was running for PSU and in 1984 he ran his last competitive race in a PSU Singlet.  (Do I have those facts correct for Larry, Greg?)

Monday, May 18, 2020

A Summer Camp To Remember

In the waning days of summer 1969, there was a lot to negotiate for student-athletes.  There was a pandemic known as The Hong Kong Flu ravaging the country, just as Woodstock was held in rural New York state.  Over one million people died worldwide.

And there was a new coach at Penn State for Cross Country who brought in many new training techniques and had a fairly good stable of runners. 

They all ended up at a Summer Camp prior to the first trimester of the 1969/1970 season. From Dick Geiger, all the way from rural Tennessee, who is featured in this photo front-left. (That's Greg Fredericks and Coach Groves front-right!)

Fall XC camp in 1969 was near Woodward about 35 miles east of State College. Obviously, it would have been a little difficult to get free weights there even if we'd have been able to "borrow" them from the weight room in Rec Hall. So Coach Groves decided to use what he had--and we could lift. Probably the first and last time an entire team did their entire workout simulataneously and with a single weight. But Coach was always thinking out of the box.

Actually, this posed photo was after the team lifted/dragged/pulled Ralph Kissel's classic Porche roadster back onto the dirt road that lead to the cabin. Ralph had pinned it against a tree; said something about a calf cramp, as I recall! I guess that clutch was really a stiff one. Coach Groves is 2nd from the right next to Greg Fredericks.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Larry Mangan Broke The Barrier And Vanquished Black And White Photos For PSU Track

On This Day: Larry Mangan Makes Penn State History
Mangan became first Nittany Lion to run a sub-four-minute mile
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – On a sunny State College day on May 16, 1980, junior Larry Mangan toed the starting line hoping to make Penn State history.
"I woke up and went for a little shake out run in the morning and I was nervous. It had been on my mind for a couple years." Mangan said. "I had gotten close for the first time, I had run 4:01 a year earlier so it was on my mind that I thought I could do it. The Saturday before, it was at the Pitt Invitational, I had run 3:42.0 (in the 1500m) to break the school record…which was the equivalent to a sub-four minute mile so I felt I could do it."
Four minutes later, he had done just that. Mangan broke the tape in a time of 3:58.4 to become the first Nittany Lion in Penn State history to run a sub-four-minute mile. Mangan outraced Sosthenes Bitok, who would later run for the Kenyan Olympic team.
"He (Sosthenes Bitok) took the pace so I give him credit because he led most of the race. I was able to get him with about 80-meters to go. And that was his first sub-four as well." Mangan added.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of Mangan's historic run. Mangan's time at the 1500m mark also set the outdoor track record at 3:42.5. Mangan's marks weren't the only records that were set on that day in 1980. Richmond's Hillary Tuwel clocked 14:00.73 to set the outdoor track record in the 5,000m.
Mangan success was not limited to the track as he was a member of the Nittany Lion cross country team that finished fourth, third and third in 1978, 1979 and 1980 at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Mangan earned All-America honors in cross country during the 1980 season. He was joined by teammates Alan Scharsu and John Zishka on the All-America team.
Mangan also spoke about his head coach, the late Harry Groves.
"He (Coach Groves) put Penn State track & field on the map from 1968-2006. He recruited well. He was an excellent distance coach and he surrounded himself with coaches who were strong in the other disciplines and he was a motivator…He believed in a system and it worked for a really long time….He invested in me and he trusted me."
Penn State remains a big part of the Mangan household. Larry's daughter, Olivia, threw javelin for the Nittany Lions and graduated in 2014. Larry had a son graduate from Penn State in 2016 and his youngest son is a member of the Penn State class of 2024.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

40 Years Ago Seems Like Just Yesterday!

40 years ago, Friday May 16, 1980 Penn State Track and Field finally broke though a long standing barrier and one Larry Mangan wrote his name into the record books.  Yes, the first Penn Stater to run a sub 4 mile and he did it right in Happy Valley (who said it is always too windy here?)  Larry will join us Saturday May 16th at 10AM eastern time and hang around a bit for the west coast to wake up!  Maybe each of you have your Larry or 1985 4X800 moment you can share.  Lets have some fun and recognize one of our greats.


And let's not forget that it wasn't too long after that but 2 years since Greg joined the Bannister list!  Go Larry!

Gregory Fredericks is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

We Need This Guy For Our Tourney Next Year!

Saturday would have been the 19th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament to coincide with our Program-wide Reunion.  It would have been our first at Toftrees, where Spouse the Better and her brothers lived next door to Fred Wolf, the author of Joe Dirt and Strange Wilderness.

I would also have been vying for my third straight title, a feat that has not yet been accomplished.  My practice schedule indicates that I had as good of a chance as any of my other 3 victories.

But what we truly need is a guy who can get things done without any muss or fuss.  One club bought for $2.99!  No bag, no worries.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Honorary Coach Groves International Alumni 400m April 2020

Harry Smith compiled all the reported times from around the world into one list.  This was inspired by Ken Cooper's challenge to all of us.

In my defense, I didn't try to run a fast time, I only surged for a 10:00 mile in the middle of my regular treadmill run.  I easily could have run a 2:10 400!  Hee hee hee

One more time. here is the up to date list: (5 decades now with Luke)
Karl Tewold '74 Finisher
Hugh Hamill '76 Finisher
Kelly O'Brien '80   84.
Brian Boyer '80 2:33 (500m)
Mark Hawkins '81  74.6
Larry Mangan '81  93.  (* Lane 5 conversions not available)
Donnie Skerpon '81 1:56
Dave Baskwill '81 2:30
Harry Smith '84  90.78
Clark Haley '85  DQ (false start-LOL)
Steve Balkey '88  81.21
Phil Caraher '88  2:03.90
Chuck "no sweat" Malone '89 Finisher
Chris Mills '89  1:58.30  (appealed not making Championship of America heats, appeal denied)
Samuel Harris '89  Monday heat - results pending
Doug Walter '90  84. (Altitude conversions also not available) 
Jay Novak '90  79.  
Bob Radzwich '92  67.16
Ron Moore '92 81.88  
Ken Cooper '94  59.89
Ron Caldwell '94  61.
'Tom Bisko '94 ?? (Finisher, can't find time reported)
Jake Bartholomy '95  77.8
Che Arosemena '97 Sunday Heat, results pending
Jayson Jackson '99 80.5
Matt Lincoln '06  53.
Luke Watson '13 59.

-(and in the background the PA announcer is still paging Sam Harris of Penn State,"please report to the starting corrals and check in for your 400m heat!")


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Penn Relays Old School Style: Complete With Crimes!

Steve Balkey celebrated both the Penn Relays and Coach Groves' birthday by breaking into the Outdoor Track and running his very own 400M to complete the challenge from Ken Cooper. With his Alumni Singlet, no less.  Well done.   And in 81.39.  That will be nearly twice as fast as my coming treadmill 400 later today.

I may honor the Penn Relays later by peeing on the wall behind my garage later too.  It brings back fond memories of the Franklin Field Men's Rooms. Only my garage is slightly more ornate.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Happy Birthday, Coach Groves

It is fitting that it coincides with Penn Relays the day after Distance Night. 

I tip my Cold Molson to him. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A Top-Ten Hot Dog And Top-Ten French Fry Eatery Closes

I have written about The O many times. Here and Here  From our William and Mary connection comes this tragic news. They really did have the best hot dogs and french fries in Pennsylvania.  Anyone ordering a large french fry there was always met with giggles.  A small order filled a cafeteria tray and fed a youth basketball team.  The hot dogs had a reddish color. Okay, they were straight-up red, and the special recipe was a secret from their manufacturer.

I will miss you, O.

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