20th Annual Penn State Track and Field/XC Reunion

And SAVE THE DATE! The Executive Committee meeting of the Officers of the Group convened and chose the dates for the 2022 Reunion and Coach Groves Golf Tournament. This will be the 20th anniversary of the formulation of this whole shebang, and you better SAVE THE DATE!! So set aside May 13th and 14th, 2022. (Each year will alternate between May and August) We will be going all out for this event and you won't want to miss it. Adult beverages, camaraderie with old and new friends, mediocre golf, AND LIVE MUSIC FROM PROFESSIONALS! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Weblog Awards Stiff Us

After more than 6 months of unrelenting posting, I have attained a remarkable 5-10 daily visitors and about 30 frequent visitors to this blog. Thanks to all involved. While I would love more participation, I realize that time is a valuable commodity. I will continue to try to entice more golfers for next year's event. I realize most of what I write interests very few, but I try to make up for it in volume. Any ideas or input is heartily encouraged.

The nominations are out for the 2008 Weblog Awards. More than thirty categories are represented. I can only hope for an addition next year of a category for Track and Field/Golfers. I will be sure to be nominated. I doubt I would win, but it would be an honor just to be nominated. Yeah, right.

Be safe for the New Year, and get the clubs ready for a great 8th Annual Tourney!

Addendum: Field Events have been bolstered today by the addition of Paul Souza for next year's tourney! He got in just under the wire for the 20% savings. The rest of you have until 3/31/09 to save 10% off last year's cost.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Who I Have Run (With?)

In answer to the previous poll, I never had the pleasure of running with Clark Haley. I think he has said I wouldn't have been able to keep up with him in his PSU days. By the time I could have run with him, doctors had rendered him an ex-runner, except when lubricated with that evil rum. I think he once ran a marathon on NO training!

Uta Pippig was running a few miles on the day before the 100th Boston Marathon, and me and my friends from podiatry school tagged along for a while. She was gracious and nice the whole time, (despite my spelling her name wrong in the poll!).

Alberto Salazar came to the same running camp as I did in 1975. He had just beaten the Soviets in the 5000 at the US/USSR Junior Meet and came to the Blue Ridge Running Camp in Emmitsburg, MD at Mount Saint Marys College. We took several ten milers together, and I could tell then that he wasn't just good, but intense also. Before one ten-miler the coaches convinced me to drink milk for breakfast. Only Alberto came back along the route to find me in the woods. He didn't mind running extra. This was before they made Lact-Aid milk. He moved on to better things in Oregon after that. (I think I gave up milk and singing at the same time in third grade for good reasons!)

Bill Rodgers ran both Maryland Marathons I did in 1976 and 1977. He won one of them. I remember talking to him after the finish. He was ashamed that he only drank one beer and that Ron Hill had already drank 4. He actually went to run a "warm-down" after that. (I have always thought that a marathon encompasses a warm-down on its own!)

And of course, Rob Whiteside and I took many runs together. One of my favorite running partners. Some of my favorites were the runs we tried to create new legacy routes. Probably none of them remain, but we did try.

Great Performances #4: Decathlon

The Decathlon has been selected as the Great Performance #4. By that, I mean all PSU Decathletes get the recognition this esteemed prize confers. The decathlon has always intrigued me since attending Frank Zarnowski's Running Camp in 1975. He is the world's expert on the event and has millions of great stories to tell. He also grew up less than a mile from my home.

Past winners of the Great Performance Award include Don Ziter for his fraternity exploits, Vance Watson, Steve Shisler, Chris Mills and Randy Moore for a great 4 X 800 meter Relay, and Greg Fredericks for his NCAA and American Record 10,000 meter in 1972. Heavy emphasis is always placed on their proximity to the Harry Groves Golf Tournament. If they haven't actually participated, they have shown interest or attended the reunion. The decathlon selection is no different, as there are numerous PSU Track Alumni Golf concurrences.

Prior to my time, the decathlon record was held by Coach Bill Whittaker, one of last year's five champions, (don't ask how that's possible with foursomes!) Numerous decathlon event records are held by Rick Kleban and Tom Kleban, both have attended our reunion numerous times. The overall event record is held by Rick Kleban. And past PSU phenom and PSU Track Alumni Golfer Ryan Olkowski placed 11th at last year's Olympic Trials. We would love to have him again next year, with the rest of his foursome! (Just kidding Ryan, give us a ring.)

PSU decathlon records: First Day: Dave Masgay, 1987, 3,931 pts.
Second Day: James Cook, 1996 3,774 pts.
Total: Rick Kleban, 1985, 7,685 pts.

PSU decathlon event records:
100 meters: 11.01, Rick Kleban 1985, 858 points.
Long Jump: 23'7.25" Dave Masgay, 1987, 1170 pts.
Shot Put: 48' 9.5" Barry Walsh, 1989, 782 pts.
High Jump: 6' 8" , Barry Walsh, 1989, 831 pts.
400 meters: 47.65, Brian Kelley, 1991, 926 pts.
4,567 First Day
110 meter HH: 14.45, Rick Kleban, 1987, 917 pts.
Discus: 155' 3" James Cook, 1997, 815 pts.
Pole Vault: 16' 2" Rick Kleban, 1985, 892 pts.
Javelin: 206' 2" Shawn Colligan, 2008, 781 pts.
1500 meter: 4:21.05 Tom Kleban, 1989, 804 pts.
4,209 Second Day
8,776 Total

All you distance guys!! Give me your PR's in all the events in the comments, and let's see how we compare. Have any of you actually pole vaulted?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ceramic/Titanium Miracle for Christmas

Barely 6 months after experimental implantation surgery in Suburban Philadelphia, Gary Black has returned to the roads, in search of a PR in the 1000-meter (he thinks he hasn't run it before!). In the past 48 hours he has bowled, ice-skated and run more than 6 miles! (He also has bothered the whole family incessantly.) His first run was 2.2 miles in 23 minutes. Today's 4.4 miler was capped off by the last 2 miles in 9 minute pace. He wishes to shame each and every one of you slackers in the new year! ( He returns to the surgeon on Monday to find out if he is indeed allowed to begin running.)

I again reached my goal of more than 1000 miles in the year, with an additional 900 done on the elliptical just to give my knees a break. I hope everyone else reached their goals, no matter how small, or at least has hope for the new year. Happy New Year, you idiots!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Challenge More Difficult Than Golf

Tim Backenstose relates a successful series of performances in his holiday extravaganza on Broadway (Downingtown!). I told Tim about my experience on the stage as one of four leads in our Senior Class Play at Dover High School (yeah, THAT *Dover High School!). "The Mouse That Roared" was a hit movie in 1959 starring Peter Sellers in several roles, as he often did. I only goofed up one line in three showings, some sort of miracle considering my lack of any short or long term memory! I also related to him that I haven't sung anything since third grade. (I defy any of you to remember me actually singing, and not just mouthing the words, as works well in any church setting.) He, of course, berated me and suggested a duet with him at the next Alumni event. He also suggested that we sing a "Show Tune".

Having thought about it, and desiring never to actually have to do it, I figure a difficult (but I guess not technically impossible) challenge to the rest of you may rectify the situation to everyone's satisfaction. I will relent to singing at the Shisler's Shindig (Post Tournament Celebration) with Tim, if 10 of you signed up already get one other person that has not golfed with us before to sign up. This challenge is real; I am a man of my word. I select the show tune "Ya Got Trouble" from "The Music Man" which can be turned into a duet of sorts, with Tim as my second. This can be performed right at the Pool Table in the Shisler's basement, as pool is the topic of the song (for those of you not really into show tunes!) Tim, of course, must confirm acceptance of the terms and conditions of the challenge.

Update: Tim seems to be amused by the concept. I'll take that as an acceptance of the proposition.

* Steve Stough, among the plaintiffs who sued the school district, is a local high school track coach and fellow member of the York Road Runners back in the day. Bertha Spahr, the Science Dept. Head was my superb chemistry teacher and was present at my podiatry school graduation as a thank you. My best friend's (and cross-country teammate's) father was the custodian at the high school who burned the "blasphemous" evolution mural at the nadir of the brouhaha. The community is still divided 50/50 on the idea of "young earth" creationism. I was never taught evolution until two 400-level courses at PSU (got A's too!). And you all thought I was screwed up all on my own!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

1000 Meters from Hell: A Devil of a Race

The PSU Mens and Womens teams held their Blue-White, season opening warm-up meet this past week-end. In my day, we didn't have a Blue-White meet as it was so cold we all kind of turned gray (grey for you United Kingdom fans!) from frostbite whether we were blue or white. (Remember the Wolfe twins from Kane PA!). There were several good performances, but one stood out as intriguing to me. That would be the 2:23.69 1000-meter time of Ryan Foster from Tasmania, Australia. Chris Mills (an aspiring returning PSU Track Alumni Golfer!) holds the PSU record at 2:23.05. (Although records are sketchy and Malmo, official blog laureate, may be able to help us out on this one.)*

The 1000-meter, having never run it, seems to be a cruel middle-distance event. No half-miler I have ever met seemed to want to run an "extra" 200 meters. And any miler I know was always wary of the distance because it seems to favor the half-milers way too much. Stuck in the middle of two diametrically opposed factions, as it were. It is mostly an indoor event which means the turns are tighter also. I would love to hear from some of you who have run the event. (Larry, Steve, Randy, did you ever run the 1000?)

* Blog readers have responded! The PSU Record is now 2:22.42 by Sam Borchers, with second place being Matt Lincoln at 2:22.50. But we still love you Chris! (Steve Shisler puts in an effort to dethrone Malmo or at least join him as c0-laureate.)

Steve Shisler also adds to the Manley Field House lore, as his 1000-meter PR of 2:28 was set there, despite faltering in the final steps to a hard-charging Steve Balkey (although that's not how Steve put it). In addition, Steve's family shame was revealed at last. Beth (Stever) Shisler is the only All-American in the household!**

** A little birdie (with 2 new hips) tells me Randy Moore ran a sub-2:18 1000-meter after graduation while in Europe!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Case for Streaking

Increasingly, streaking has entered the Main Street Press lately. I'm not entirely sure why this is occurring, but recent articles in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have portrayed the practice. There are numerous other examples as well. Previous to this, streakers have done their thing behind the scenes, not desiring any publicity. Some have practiced this bizarre ritual for 30 years or more. Alas, I have always been a dabbler in the art of streaking, much to my shame. It used to be easy, back in the day. Thin, energized and fast(er), it was never a problem adding another day of streaking to the tally. But then on Christmas Day 1978, it happened. Sick and feverish, I staggered 2 more miles in a blinding snowstorm at 10:00 PM (I really did this!) just to keep the streak alive. The next day I was comatose and incoherent with pneumonia and pleurisy. I still only missed two days of running and ran the NVTC Marathon several weeks later, and a sub 15:00 3-mile in REC HALL a week before that (twenty-three and two-third laps or whatever it was, hitting my elbows on all FOUR corners of every lap). My point being, that streakers are nuts and I am one of them. I'm a piker compared to the rest, but a practitioner nonetheless.

Streaking is defined as running at least 1 mile daily EVERY DAY. The run must start before midnight to count. And it doesn't count for the next day either! The most famous practitioner is Ron Hill from Wales. He has piled on many miles in over 40 years (approaching 155,000), without missing a day. He has run with a broken sternum following a traffic accident, a broken ankle, and following several knee surgeries to name just a few of the hiccups along the road. In America, Mark Covert of California leads the list, never running less than 3 miles any day in 40 years. There are 10 or 11 runners with streaks of more than 30 years right behind him in case something happens! The United States Running Streak Association keeps track of all these things. I have been too embarrassed to even enter my longest streaks, they are so pitiful. My best is 868 days and currently I have a streak of 550 or so, starting 4 weeks after my third knee surgery. Remember, all streakers are nuts, but not all nuts are streakers. (You could be just as nuts as I am!) Anyone have a longer streak out there? (You can comment anonymously!)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Google Picks PSU Track Alumni Golf Number 1! And Advice for Several Situations Besides

Not Really! Although it did come up first on the list when someone from Southwest Missouri State University googled "self-indulgent essay topics". (A dubious honor!)

Seeing as its near the end of the semester (do any of you still remember PSU hanging onto terms until the mid eighties?) and "term papers" are due, I hope this poor slob didn't use my example of why it was wrong to change the rules of baseball without telling anyone! As I stated before, the only "A" I got on a paper was one I wrote on the way home from an indoor meet at Cornell or Syracuse (I can never remember which actually!). I would advise the SWMS student to get buzzed on two Guinness Stouts and write his essay in pencil without punctuation; it worked for me! Also, I advise any of you non-golfers out there to also have a beer before the second nine holes in our tourney, it always improves your swing noticeably. And my advice to any of you now in college and looking to score a hot cheerleader.... puppies. I only discovered this well into my thirties (long after it could do me any good!). The best kind are Shih Tzus (ask Zeb) or, better yet, Pomeranians. The rich tennis set can't ignore a Pomeranian. Be sure to find them a better home when you have succeeded in your quest, (you obviously aren't mature enough to care for a puupy!) And lastly, its righty tighty, lefty loosey. (and Grand Funk Railroad is best if played at full volume.)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Las Vegas Santa Run Today!

Today marks the latest "Running of the Santa's". Last year's event broke the world record for Santas running in a race. More than 7000 entrants ho, ho ho'd down The Strip from downtown at Fremont St. There is a running, (pun intended), competition between Vegas and Liverpool, England for the Guinness Record. (Ask Ziter though, Guinness sucks!) I don't know how Liverpool fared in their rebuttal to Vegas's event record, but I can't see anyone outdoing Vegas when it comes down to dressing as big overweight icons! Today marks the only day of the year that Santa outnumbers Elvis. Each entrant receives a 5 piece Santa Suit for the run, included in the approx. $40 entry fee. A bargain in anyone's book! Here's a Short video of last year's start for all you ADHD alums out there...

Friday, December 5, 2008

PSU Track Alum Goes to Broadway!

Well, almost anyway! 1979 Penn Relays Marathon champion Tim Backenstose will be starring in Calvary Fellowship Church's Christmas Extravaganza in Downingtown PA. Who knew what talents were hidden from the rest of us while at PSU? I dug up the photo of the finish of the race previously discussed on this blog, and also the order of finish, which is quite favorable to "good ole State".

1. Tim Backenstose PSU 2:22:14
2. Mark Stevenson U. S. Navy 2:24:32
3. Dave Patterson Shore A.C. 2:25:05
4. Remo Stirrat Iona College 2:26:26
5. Ed Tueras unaffiliated 2:28:46
6. Brad Althouse PSU 2:30:47
7. Pete Christ Plaisted Hall Harriers 2:31:21
8. Steve Schoenewald Williamstown NJ 2:32:21
9. Chris Winters Wash. DC 2:33:46
10. Dave Spears PSU 2:33:59 ("A"golfer, too!)
11. Don Uphouse PSU 2:34:06
12. Seth Bergman Plaisted Hall Harriers 2:34:38
13. Doug Kent PSU 2:35:49 (my roommate!)
14. Frank Goldcamp Athletic Attic 2:36:19
15. Dave Godin Bentley College 2:36:23
16. Keith Kemper Ursinus 2:36:45
17. David Baskwill PSU 2:37:14 (Doug Kent's roommate)
18. Don Ziter PSU 2:37:14 (sorry Don, they did list me first!)
19. Al Wolfe PSU 2:37:48 (anyone know where the Wolfe twins are?)
25. Rich Prann PSU 2:41:40 (or Rich?)

Anyone filming Tim's performance for the blog recieves reunion entries for life!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Half Milers Everywhere!

The PSU Track Alumni Golf crowd recently added another half-miler! Paul McLaughlin '83 checked in from sunny Massachusetts (ha, ha, just kidding about the sun part). He would love to golf with us provided his kids won't be throwing the javelin and other such pursuits that weekend. I assured him that despite our glut of half-milers, we would still welcome him with open arms.

In honor of the half-milers out there, I have included the two photos of Alberto Juantorena (in 1976 and 31 years later in Osaka, Japan handing out World Cup awards). I have always suspected that "El Caballo" was fueled by things other than Cuban sugar cane and those tasty Cuban sandwiches, but who am I to judge. (I was right about Brady Anderson, Lenny Dykstra and Davey Johnson though!)

And for your video amusement, El Caballo doubling in the 400/800 at the Olympics in 1976!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Remembering Manley Field House/Syracuse

My favorite place to run indoors was always Manley Field House in Syracuse NY, (not the PSU Ice Palace!). The track had straightaways that were at most 10 meters long, making the turns about as wide as outdoor tracks. I don't know if that makes records suspect, but so what if it does. Another great part of the whole facility was the huge cemetery across the street for the best warm-up loops ever imagined. (I've always thought cemeteries should contain jogging trails.) And still a third great thing was the huge banks of bleachers that were retracted around the entire circumference of the arena, making it feel like a cozy library with abundant wood paneling. Other PSU runners liked the place as well, as evidenced by the numerous "House Records" held by our athletes:

55 meter hurdles Rick Kleban 6.8 1985

440 yard Mike Shine 47.3 1975
47.3 Mike Sands 1976

1500 meter Larry Mangan 3:44.0 1979

4 X 880 yard (PSU) ? 7:30.9 1976

Distance Medley 10:01.8 1981
Rick Garcia
Gary Black
Mike McCahill
John Zishka

I also set my 5000 m PR there, but will not report the pitiful performance.

Addendum! It looks like it will be a go for the first annual "Horace Award". The manufacturer reports a possible production date for the Golden Putter in Feb. 09. The longest putt on the 18th Green will secure the use of the beauty for a full year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bridget Franek, XC All-American

Bridget Franek garnered All-American honors at the 2008 Cross-Country Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana on Monday. She finished in 23rd place. Congrats on a wonderful season.

PSU men finished in 25th place, one ahead of their previous ranking. They finished ahead of previous powerhouse Arkansas, and were paced by two freshman. They appear to be on the upswing; Let's hope recruiting goes as well. Congrats to all.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sign-ups Desire Additional Golfers

Some of the luminaries slated for the 8th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament have come out of hiding, hoping to promote additional sign-ups.

Former champion and two-time Longest Drive contest winner, Beth (Stever) Shisler '86, leads the list. Her husband will also be golfing again this year. (Steve Shisler '85)

Last year's winner of the Steelers Edition Pick-up and two-time champion Mike McCahill '83 will be traveling from Virginia/Maryland for the reunion.

Gary Black '82 '84 '86 '88, will be bringing his surgically recreated body back for a chance to get his name on The Cup for the second time.

The Big Apple will be represented by Nick Kello '85 in his bid to join me on the shiny, scintillating surface of The Cup.

Don Ziter '81, will attempt to become a three-time champion, traveling from sunny FLA or suburban Beantown, thus making a bid for the Furthest Traveled award! Lynne Ziter '81 will make another effort to secure honorary PSU Track Alumni status with a place on the Memorial Award.

Founder and Professor Emeritus Clark Haley '85 will make his 8th straight appearance at the Hampton Inn and the Golf Course. No one has the pedigree of attendance and performance as the Blog Editor himself.

Newcomer and actual good golfer, Jeff Sanden '82, will join former teammates in the quest for The Cup. He is the first of the Bermuda Triangle residents to confirm attendance. Let's hope the vortex lets him out, with the chance for the others to escape with him.

Paul Mundy, owner of The Beast has recently added his name to our illustrious list!

Coach Groves 'dirt, Coach Whittaker '73, and Greg Fredericks '72 are also expected to join us. Fifteeen golfers are firmed up. Another 18 Probables and 20 Possibles could make us eligible for a $10,000 prize for a hole-in-one. Zeb Stewart '83 and Ken Cooper '91 are still in the "Most Probably" category. Take the time to fill out the form and line up your chance to be immortalized in bronze. Absolutely anyone can golf as well as me, just give it a go. Save 20% prior to 12/31/08. Monies are not required yet. President-Elect Obama has promised to correct the financial difficulties by then.*

*Political commentary is still frowned upon by blog administrators.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Cup Remains the Same!


Despite the name change of the tournament, the Harry Groves Memorial Cup will remain the same. Those expressing disappointment with the name change must realize that we are soon to be exposed to a wider audience who are not in on our little joke. With Coach being very much alive, and still able to kick most of our a**es, the name change is needed. (And most of us would still want Coach on our side if we found ourselves in a bar fight!) Because The Cup is engraved and no one is willing to fork over any extra money to change it, we will keep it the way it is. Harry Smith is pursuing the enhancement of The Cup, in order to accommodate future lucky winner's names.

*photo not representative of the actual Cup.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wonderful Times Ahead for PSU Track/XC

This old alum braved the technological challenge of a phone conference in a quest for a greater PSU Track (and XC) Alumni presence yesterday. Great things are indeed ahead for the entire program!

With moderator Ken Cooper, and "bridge" Steve Balkey '89, a yellow-brick road was identified and plans were made to follow it to the Emerald City of total inclusiveness of the current and all former Penn State athletes (both men and women!). I'm certainly the one visiting OZ that is without brains! I don't know if Coach is the Wizard, but Ken certainly is without a lack of courage. The current program is on board with this endeavour and unification of all our efforts will strengthen the program for future generations. All three of us discussed the fact that the friends we made during our stay at "Dear Old State" are the best friends we have ever made. That counts double for me (and you know who you are!). The friends I have made through the golf outing are a close second.

The University's Alumni Association is the largest in the nation (and possibly the World?), so why should our PSU Track Alumni group be anything less. The rich heritage of Penn State Track before, during and after Coach Groves should be lauded and celebrated. Ken will spearhead the effort to unify every email list and compile as thorough a listing as possible of every PSU Track athlete ever to have worn the scratchy blues and grays. (Do they still wear them?) He will become a conduit between alumni and the Track/XC program. Ken is to be commended for undertaking such a task. What little internet fumbling I have done will pale in comparison to this effort. We all need to help out. If each of you reading this gives us one additional contact for a "lost" friend, we can greatly add to our listing. There is a place on the site to add email addresses and this can be done anonymously, no other info but name and address is required. Anyone in possession of old media guides and team rosters/photos can also help Ken out.

One goal of all this is, of course, funding for the Coach Groves Endowment, which is not yet fully funded. There are apparently 3 or more additional unfunded endowments. Both Coach Groves and the entire program deserve better. We can all help make sure our voices are heard and prevent the kinds of happenings that have befallen several Division I programs in recent years. Both Title IX and funding issues have eliminated many programs in recent years. The University of Delaware is currently deciding on eliminating Mens XC and Track!

The Golf Outing will now have the support of the PSU Track program. (I don't know about financial aspects?) The event founded by Clark Haley will grow and morph into something very special. Get in on the ground floor and participate next year EVEN IF YOU CAN'T GOLF. I know I can't, and yet do. Absolutely everyone is welcome, from athletes who only ran for one term/semester, to coaches, fans, family members and PSU Track friends. Even Ken has placed his name on the "most probably" list (along with Zeb Stewart).

Addendum: Now that we have renamed the golf outing as the Coach Groves Golf Tournament, the polos will become collector's editions as they state "Memorial" on them. Remember, Coach is very much alive, and can still kick our a** at any time.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mens Team to NCAA Championships!

The PSU Mens team placed second in the Mid-Atlantic Regional XC meet and are headed to the finals for the first time since 1994!

Paced by freshmen Vince McNally and Kyle Dawson, the team placed all scorers in the top 26 runners. Congrats again to an ever improving team and to Coaches Sullivan and Gondak!

Bridget Franek paced the womens team again and they are still in the running for a team at-large bid for the finals.

Update: Alas, only Bridget gets to go the the NCAA finals.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Runners Sent the Wrong Direction!

The recent NCAA Division 2 XC fiasco brought back some scary memories of another Penn Relays Marathon. At the Div. 2 Regionals this past weekend, lead runners were sent the wrong way, well into the race. They backtracked through the woods and rejoined the race at a narrow area. Pandemonium ensued, and the race was called at the 3 mile mark. It was then rerun 2 hours later! Looking at the Map, I wonder how anyone expected an error wouldn't be made!

At the 1982 Penn Relays I was waiting in the stadium for my future wife to finish (she was in the top 5 most of the race!). The lead runners were announced and placed on the scoreboard. Lo and behold, the leader was Bill Kvashay, PSU '79, about to run a sub 2:18 marathon. But he never appeared until the 2:39 or so mark. Virtually no one knows this other than me and Bill, but he was sent through campus at the entrance to the Stadium by a policeman! The Penn Relay officials never even apoligized to Bill. I have seen Bill only once since then, at the PIAA State meet, he coaches a team from out Pittsburgh Wilkes-Barre way. He didn't seem bitter about it at all. He is a better man than I. Addendum: It would have been a time that would have qualified him for the Olympic Trials Marathon in 1984 (the year Alberto Salazar cut thousands of little holes in his shirt to combat the heat, and slumped to a fifteenth place finish in 2:14:19).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bacon Beats Fries by Nearly 2 to 1!

The kind of political campaign you can really sink your teeth into! Brussel-Sprouts came in a distant third representing the Green Party.

Friday, November 7, 2008

"Lost" : A Where Are They Now Update

Brian Boyer relates much news in the "Where Are They Now" universe.

1. Brian is indeed at the Los Alamos Nuclear Facility. He also indeed attended college for 16 years. This beats the previous record of Senator Blutarsky. He did not work at the CERN
facility in Europe.

2. Ron Moore ('90?) did work at the CERN facility, and is currently at the Fermi Particle Accelerator in Chicago. This is America's largest accelerator.

3. Jim Clelland did fall out of the van in 1980, on the way to practice at Beaver Stadium. (The locker room at Beaver Stadium was the most horrible facility ever encountered.)

4. Mark Dunmire is in Sugarland, TX and got together with Brian recently. (Get in touch with us Mark!)

5. Brian, Jim and Dave Felice were lost after missing a turn during a Colyer Lake "15" miler in the spring. Both Brian and Jim had also been lost, the week before. Coach ruined his car on the rough roads trying to find them! I remember they got back to campus when it was nearly dark, following a 9:00AM run. I remember John Ziegler placing the sticks in the road to make an arrow showing the way. How did they miss the sign two weeks in a row? Great times, great times!

Steve Guttenberg Joins Yanomamo Tribe

An avid jogger, Steve runs Central Park every day. He's in very good shape for a 50 year old actor. Apparently he's a fan of Napoleon Chagnon and the Yanomamo of South America. I'm thinking of inviting him to our next golf outing, I think he also golfs occasionally. Addendum: Steve is a good, frequent golfer! We need to get contact info, he simply belongs in Happy Valley, golfing with kinsmen.

Update: I emailed the "Goot" the following screed:

Watching your recent jogging video, I was struck how you obviously belong as an honorary member of the Penn State Track Alumni. A tradition back in the great(?) 70's was to run as far as we could on our training runs without pants. (The pants were to be worn as a head dress). This was originally inspired by attendance in Napoleon Chagnon's anthropology classes concerning the Yanomamo tribes of South America.

Several of us decided to invite you as our special guest next year at The 8th Annual Coach Groves Golf Tournament. We picked you ahead of the current CEO of Nike, Inc. even though we used to run with him! Any reply would tickle us beyond belief, actually coming to golf with us would be monumental. Check out our web site for any details, your video is currently prominently on display.

Warning: Nudity, although blurred and safe for work, is present in the following film.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Freshman of the Year

Kyle Dawson has been selected as Freshman of the Year in The Big Ten. Kyle has achieved great things in only two races since being activated halfway through the 2008 season. Congrats from all us old alums!

Kyle was fifth in both races he has run so far, the second being The Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor this past weekend.

For the first time since joining the conference, both the men's and women's teams are ranked in the top 30. Good things seem to be ahead for PSU XC and Track. Congrats to Coach Sullivan and Coach Gondak. Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golf supports the current team while encouraging more participation from all former team members. We have redoubled our efforts in finding and including athletes from all decades in the next Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament. Good things are coming from all angles. Please help us in our efforts. Contact others or get in touch with us.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Where Are they Now?

I'm going to throw some names out there and hope some of you can answer the question for me. Where are they now? We would love to hear from you guys (and gals)!

Kelly (Kevin) O'Brien: I think I heard he's in Texas. Always remember him running the 150 mile week my sophomore year. That and "odorizing" the van on the way back from William and Mary my freshman year.

Mike Wyatt: A great guy. He gave me a pair of spikes my junior year that magically made me faster. Never got to say thanks. He also was the only one to stop and help me the numerous times I sprained my ankles on 10 milers. We could use another sub-4 miler!

Tom Clarke: Ex-president of Nike, Inc. Was one of only two people who congratulated me after running my best PR at PSU. Took the time to know I did it, and found me later to acknowledge it. Tried to help me get a summer job with Dr. Cavanaugh testing shoes, but he wouldn't hire me when I didn't know who my academic advisor was. Never met the guy actually, so why would I know his name!

Mark Parker: Current CEO of Nike, Inc. Took me on one of my first runs at PSU. We ran a "10 miler" which consisted of 90 minutes at 6:00 pace in the pine barrens and we still had 3 miles to go! Married to Kathy Mills, still the PSU 5000 meter record holder.

Ray Krombel: Always liked Ray a lot. He ran and looked like Nick Rose. He won the State 2-mile the year before me. Inspired me a little bit. I think he's back in Wilkes-Barre, a political hot-bed this year.

Dave Felice: Now the Fire Inspector in State College. Coaches runners at the high school. Ran into him after one of the golf outings at church. One of the few people that still recognized me despite my increase in size! He helped bring Jessica out of the well in Texas back in the 80's!

Heather Carmichael: Met her before she even came to PSU. She made me a pair of mittens for Christmas one year which I still have.

Liz Berry: Scared the hell out of a lot of us at the Nittany Valley Marathon one year. She ran one of the top US women's marathon times up until then (in the cold weather) that year. Coach was right behind her, kicking the team's a** and taking names!

Jim Clelland: Jim was quiet but when you did hear him he was funny and smart. He fell out of the van one day on the way to practice. Another great van story!

Brian Boyer: Brian is now at the Los Alamos facility guarding our nuclear secrets. More alums know Brian than any other alum the program has ever had!

Ted Lyons: Ted was hilarious at times and a pretty decent runner. Never did know what he was majoring in.

John (JB) Barber: John is in Pottstown. He has coached and positively influenced more young people than just about any of us. Gave John a big hug at Harry's retirement. John ran with us and then became Coach's right-hand man.

Ricky Garcia: Ricky hopes to make it to next year's event. I think he's back in suburban DC again now. A unique and talented runner.

Mark Dunmire: Won the state one mile the same year as my 2-mile. Was one of the marathoners that had to hustle in ahead of Coach at the 79 NVTC Marathon. Coach was chewing his a** the whole last mile!

Mark Heckel: We called him "Beef" on our dorm floor, and he could eat with the best of them. Threw the hammer better than most. Was also in the Blue Band, I believe. I know he still is a track official. Don't know if he golfs.

Paul Stemmer: One hell of a runner. Heard many great "Stem" stories over the years. If only 10% are true, it's still a fine record. I think he majored in Poker. I'm sure Malmo could spin a yarn or two for us some day.

Paul Lankford: Always seemed like a nice guy, but didn't get to interact with him much because of the football/track commitments he had. Had a lengthy pro career with the Dolphins. I remember Don Skerpon running the shuttle hurdles relay with him at Penn.

Glenn (sp?) Chumley: Could run 1:53 every Wednesday and 1:58 every Saturday! Who could forget the great photo of him in the Collegian streaking down College Ave. in the snow, circa 1978.

Barry Enright: Wish we would hear from Barry, but apparently he isn't physically able to leave New Jersey or he might explode, like the guy in the new Transporter 3 movie! (Just having fun, Barry, drop us a line).

Use the comment section below to fill us in on any of these blasts from the past and add some new ones!

*Photos are of Nick Rose in the 70's and the 00's, having nothing to do with nothing.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Big Ten XC Championships

The Big Ten Cross-Country Championships were held at The University of Michigan today. The Wisconsin men took the team title, followed by Michigan and Minnesota. Penn State placed fourth, continuing the improvement they have demonstrated in the past year. Redshirt freshman Kyle Dawson paced the PSU harriers with his fifth place finish.

The Nittany Lion women placed 7th in a loaded Big-Ten field, with junior Bridget Franek again leading the team.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Great Performance #3: A Surprise

Having ignored all 10 of my readers, and all 20 or so votes in the poll, Greg Frederick's 1972 American Record 10K in 28:08.0 has been selected as the third in our series of Great Performances. Included is the July 1972 cover of Track and Field News. The other photo is of Greg at the Penn Relays, prepping for the OlympicTrials eight years later. (I will one day spit on the grave of Jimmy Carter.) It boggles my mind how hard it would be to continue at such a high level for a whole decade. Greg truly is special. (I think I could take him in a round of eighteen holes though!)

Greg was a newcomer and somewhat reluctant 10,000 meter runner in 1972. At the AAU Championships leading up to the Olympic Trials, Greg was among the top level of runners. Among the others were Jack Bacheler, Frank Shorter, Jeff Galloway and Tom Laris. Easing into the first mile at 4:30, Frank Shorter was later miffed that no one was willing to share the pace. When the second mile passed in 9:04, Shorter decided to try to run away with the race, owing to the relative finishing speed of the others. Laris, Greg, and Bacheler stayed with Shorter, with Greg passing 6 miles in 27:21.8 (a PR and collegiate record). Greg blazed the last 220 yards in 26.6 and the final 440 in 55.2! (Remember you"youngins"- 440 yards is longer than 400 meters).

At the time, his American Record was 12th on the All-Time World List, better than Billy Mills and Gerry Lingren's previous bests (both 10000 meters and 6-mile equivalent). Now a Systems Analyst at PSU's Applied Research Laboratory, Greg will attempt to golf at this year's Harry Groves Memorial Tournament and will bring many friends with him.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Hope I Like Grouper!

Don Ziter doubled down early during Game 5 (3 days ago!), so I've won 4 Grouper sandwiches from sunny Florida. I hopeI like Grouper sandwiches! The Phillies have done me proud. I guess this is payback for the fact that I must now continue working until I'm 80 years-old.* With the Red Wings, PSU football and the Phillies all atop their respective universes, I guess I'll have to accept it.

* Continued political references are now downright annoying.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another Off-Topic Rant: Changing the Rules Without Letting Me Know!

Baseball has always been my favorite sport. Yes, that means hockey is second, eh. With all the crap going on after Monday's Game 5, one thing has been left out. Bud and his cronies changed the rules and hardly let anyone know. Left out of the loop were, of course, the fans, but also the announcers and the actual players themselves. Never before in baseball history was a game that was shortened by rain continued where it was left off regardless of the score. The players were playing a game for which they didn't know the rules! You may say that because it was a tie, of course it will be continued. But you miss the fact that last Saturday Bud and his cronies met with representatives from the umpires, the Phillies and the (Devil!) Rays to state that no matter what the score, the game would be continued from whenever it was stopped. This is a fundamental change in the rules of baseball going back to when Civil War soldiers played it. All this without a single vote or a single announcement. The beneficiaries of this are, of course, Fox and MLB, as they now get a whole extra day of showing us endless commercials about male "enhancement" products, automobiles we can't afford, and Obama/McCain* infomercials.

Normally, rules changes take forever to make in baseball, owing to its long history. The severely limited use of instant replay has taken years to be adopted. This rule was adopted overnight, with no input from 30 teams or, most importantly ME (a loyal fan!) The gall of Bud and the boys. How dare they!

I wouldn't have been happy if Philly had won a shortened game in the 5th inning (when the field truly beame unplayable), but that would have been the rules for the first 120 or so years of the game. Now, I guess that's different. Just so we can be reminded of Cialis's benefits in our lives, and how 95% of our taxes are going to go drastically down in the upcoming years.*

*political commentary, however vague, is getting ridiculous on this blog.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Harry Smith Drunk, Loses Cup! (The Other One)

After a night of celebrating their Stanley Cup victory in 1905, members of the Ottawa Silver Seven felt it necessary to see if one could kick the Cup into Ottawa's Rideau Canal. One of them lined it up and gave it a boot, drop-kick style. In a true test of his accuracy and distance, the Cup landed on target, in the canal. That established, the boys went on their merry way, and the Cup stayed in the Canal until the next day when sober heads prevailed and Lord Stanley's mug was rescued. It was then placed in the capable hands of Harry Smith, a Silver Seven member. I can't find out which of "The Silver Seven" in the photo is Harry, but I'll bet its the handsome one!

Our Harry Smith is attempting to update The Coach Groves Memorial Cup, ala The Stanley Cup. We too need more room for the names of upcoming Champions! And there are no canals anywhere near Harry's home. Update: There is a pond right behind Harry's house! Keep him away from the liquor!

In addition: All photos on this site can be used for your own personal viewing. You can even download some of them and print a copy. It is not permissible to use any of them in any other way, including disseminating them yourself on the internet. All intellectual content (as it is!) on this site is my property, just ask me if you want to use it, I'm really a good guy at heart. I have had to ban a reader for the use of content of this site for nefarious purposes without my permission. Even cost me some money, the scum. Any content on this site that doesn't meet your expectations or wishes, just let me know. I will consider changing or eliminating it. I wish to keep this a PG site that gives a slight chuckle occasionally and keeps us all informed about The Coach Groves Golf Tourney and Scholarship efforts. (Don't forget to give a little to the effort, you'll just waste it on your 201K anyway!)*

*Linking of our current financial woes to the current political scene is not intended by blog officers. Barney Frank has never run a step in his life and probably can't golf.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Self-Indulgent Essay/A Thousand Little Deaths

I have virtually no writing ability, as anyone knows who has read anything I've written on this web site. I usually cannot get an idea in my head to written prose adequately. The only "A" I ever got was on a paper was one I wrote while buzzed on 2 Guinness Stouts coming back from an indoor meet at Cornell or Syracuse in my Sophomore year. (Don Ziter can verify this for everyone!) I wrote the theme on loose leaf notebook paper with pencil, without punctuation and in two peoples mind-sets at the same time. I guess I can say I winged it, so here comes another one...

After the recent Penn State National XC Meet, it was announced that in the near future, the PSU XC team will no longer run on the Blue/White Golf Courses. Apparently they will soon have their own dedicated XC Course. When I first heard this, I was saddened and didn't realize why. It has gradually come to me that this is just the latest piece of PSU Track/XC history that will be lost. Maybe I am just being overly dramatic, but I feel that a little piece of me will die the day they no longer can run tee-to-greens on Wednesday, or a 10K on Saturday on the Blue Course. A little spot inside will wither when Coach can no longer drive the van over to the next mile marker with JB dutifully writing down splits. (A big hunk of me will hurt when I realize that no future high school runner will get 5th place at States on the 3 mile Blue Course even though he was 7th in Districts and was running with a stress fracture.) No college stud will have to contend with all the tree roots at the same time he's trying to outduel Nick Rose or Craig Virgin and a hill at the same time.

I have a feeling a piece of all of us will die that day. Many may not even know it. It may be just a brief feeling of unease or a moment of dyspepsia after eating a heavy meal. But I think it will happen to everyone who ever ran on PSU's Golf Courses. I suppose some business geeks can prove how much money they will save by kicking us off the courses. Another set of business types will be able to justify the expense of making a new course. I have seen what manufactured XC courses look like (World XC in the Meadowlands with spectators sitting in the stands of the horse racing track!) and I don't like it. The course Coach Groves made for the 1975 NCAA Championships was as close to ideal as any I have ever seen. He called it "My masterpiece" because it was a difficult but fair course. I will hate to see it go. Maybe I'm alone in this, but I doubt it. I know there is nothing to be done to fight PSU's progress in this regard, but I don't have to like it. I'm glad we're golfing at The Elks Club again this year!

Feel free to disagree.
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