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...

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.
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