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...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

25th Anniversary of "The Race"

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the 4 X 800 masterpiece of 7:11.18! This still stands as the college standard and the No. 2 All-Time mark. The quartet of Vance Watson, Steve Shisler, Chris Mills and Randy Moore stand to hold the oldest record at the Penn Relays soon. Older posts detailing the race, remembrances of the race and a video celebrating the race have already appeared on the blog.

PSU is mounting an attack on the record, or so it seems to this lowly blogger. At the Penn State National Invitational, 4 Penn Staters placed highly in the 800 M race. Led by Ryan Foster's School Record 1:47.48, all 4 added up to a combined 7:14.58 indoors. (Casimir Loxsom 1:47.98, Owen Dawson 1:48.97, and Lionel Williams 1:50.15).

Friday, January 29, 2010

Competitions within Competitions

With the expected largest crowd ever for our Golf Tourney this May, we might be able to implement a competition between groups even within the already elaborate lattice of our assigned foursomes. Throwers may vie against Jumpers, as well as Sprinters, Middle Distance Runners and the Neanderthal Division of Distance Runners. One could even represent more than one group, except in my case. My 12 ft PR in the Shot Put would not really qualify me for the Throwers Group! Even my one attempt at a 4 X 800 Relay couldn't get me in the Middle Distance Category. Gambling and taunting among groups could add a little spice to our already boisterous spectacle.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Brief Relaxing Interlude

Penn State Track Alumni Golfer and part-time Florida resident Ken Brinker posted this great shot of sundown in the Gulf of Mexico. Let's all take a moment to relax prior to digging into the Indoor Track season again. I'm looking forward to the 800 and mile this weekend at the Horace Ashenfelter III track.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Another Brick in "The Wall"

For 64 of the last 65 years, Coach Groves has appeared at the wall along the first curve of the Penn track in Franklin Field in mid-April. Here he is in the early 80's with PSU Track Alumni Golfer Ed Roskiewicz. Ed is always smiling, but Coach probably had just said something "provocative". Joe Clinton obviously missed the comment or something! Some have speculated that one day Coach's ashes will be spread there, but I am of the opinion that:

  1. Coach will outlive all of us, (and if I'm wrong),
  2. He will be non-flammable.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Founder and Keeper of the Beer" Installs Dress Code

Apparently, tight fitting clown pants are now required to golf in the upcoming 9th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Outing and Reunion! The big floppy shoes are optional but must use the correct soft spikes for proper use on the greens. Clark Haley is seen here testing out the upcoming standard golf uniform with the others sporting the old blues/grays we've all outgrown. (circa 1983 by the looks of the Model-T's?) The shame of knowing Clark shows in the space Bill Malchano keeps behind him!

Big Men Wanted

Mike Valenti has sent us some great pics from "earlier than dirt" (notice the Astroturf in place of actual earth! The only place where Astroturf still exists is Washington DC.) These He-Men are being recruited to provide security for the upcoming Reunion and Golf Tourney. Todd Shenk, Todd Leggett and Mike Valenti strike a pose in audition to join Hammer (Mark Heckel) as the Presidential Unit for Security and Protection of the Idiot Officers.

I'll try and post more pics from the Reagan Era soon. And what's worse, is that I predate this!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Penn State Track Alumni Golf Visits Vatican! Pope Confused

Probable "Hall of Honor" inductee (once I get around to compiling the list!, see earlier post here) Steve Balkey and family made the trek to Rome, Italy and The Vatican recently where his oldest son is attending University. He even remembered to take the "Harry's Boys" wrist band for a few photos to be added to our growing album. See the sidebar to view all the places our wrist bands have been. It is getting rather extensive, but I'll bet we can do better. This enters Steve and his son in the drawing for The Golden Golf Ball at the next Outing. And it is really 24 K gold-plated, with a neat golden tee and display case to boot. Brought to you by your caring Idiot Officers here at the Blog.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Old School

Official IT Czar (and all-around good guy) Jeff Sanden gives us this great photo from the Way Back Machine to ponder. No less than 19 PSU Track Alumni Golfers are present in this photo! Name them all and win a prize. There are also several others pondering joining us this year. And who knew Jim Clelland was Captain? I'm not sure he ever spoke. (Just kidding).

Consider this a call for more photos showing the youth and vigor of our former selves. Back when hair was big, bellies were small and we could eat whatever we wanted.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Meeting of the Idiot Officers in NIAGARA FALLS!

Actually is was over this new invention, the interweb. Something called email, short for electronic mail. What will they come up with next, a way to watch videos any time you want?

We shored up our conviction for both the Friday night Reunion and the Saturday Post Tournament Celebration (Shisler Shindig) and Awards Ceremony at Damon's this year. Arrangements are underway by your crack team of relentlessly non-procrastinating Idiot Officers!

Friday night fare will be hors douvres and beer and soda, much like our usual get-together has been at the Hampton Inn. If enough of the younger crowd shows this year, maybe we'll even attempt to stay up past 11:00PM! Saturday will be a Damon's dinner of Ribs and Chicken, (and maybe the leftovers from the previous night!) Vegetarians will be accommodated (but possibly gently "ribbed" by the carnivores!) We are an all-inclusive group.

Here's some streaming video of our meeting complete with audio:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

RIP For An Honorary PSU Track Alumni Dog

Since I haven't received any new dog pictures lately, I thought I would add one myself. Otto will be an honorary PSU Track Alumni Dog and will be added to our slide show. He was put down by his distraught owners at the advice of their vet because of a stomach tumor at the ripe old age of nearly 21. My heart goes out to the owners. As an animal lover, I have spent a fortune this past year keeping up after my many pets. I still love them all. Anyone with a dog, feel free to email me a pic to be added to the menagerie.

The article states that Bluey, an Australian Sheepdog lived to the age of 29 years, 5 months, the longest documented age for a dog. Must have been the Foster's!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Vikings Song

My good friends at Minnesotans for Global Warming have a new video out. This time they aren't making fun of Penn State's Michael Mann, but they are touting the Minnesota Vikings chances for a Super Bowl appearance. Since I'm a (reluctant) Eagles fan, anyone who manhandles the Cowboys have to be my new team to root for. Sorry all you Favre haters out there, it's how I'm gonna roll for the foreseeable future.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Ryan Foster started the Indoor Track seaon in great form with a School Record, Australian National Record and World Leading time in the 1000M on Saturday. His 2:19.60 time obliterated the old record. I can't wait for the upcoming 4 X 800 races this year! There were also impressive performances from Shavon Greaves and Fawn Dorr.

The National Record by Ryan allows me to segue to the introduction of our "Hall of Honor" for the Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament. It will be sort of like the Baseball Hall of Fame except for the voters, steroids, fame and millions of dollars! Final qualifications are not yet complete, but preliminary entries might include:

  1. Those who appear on The Cup more than once, (so even shlubs like me have a prayer).
  2. Any Olympian, All-American, National Champion or National Record Holder that participates* in one of our events.
Fine tuning of these criteria can certainly be done. Let me know by comment or email. Comments on the blog are now moderated to avoid the recent introduction of ads for "male enhancement", Nigerian Bank scams and ads for Ugg Boots. The process is painless and necessary, unfortunately. Maybe now that we are in the top 150,000 most read blogs, it's a price we must pay! (I'm making fun of myself, for those of you who don't know. My blog is still worth $0.00, a value I hope to maintain.)

And those of you that have been patiently waiting for your t-shirts and wrist bands can rest assured they are on their way Monday. Sorry for the delay.

*participation is loosely defined and subject to bribery!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's Reunion and Golf Go Time!

Indoor Track Season has begun, so it's time to turn one's thoughts to this year's Reunion and 9th Annual
Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament. It promises to be the largest event ever, cementing our group in PSU's Sports universe. Entries have already begun to trickle in. The Early Bird Discount is now in effect. Remember, you can save $25 by getting your entry in by 3/31/10. That will pay your way to the Awards Dinner and Reception following the tourney and leave you with a nifty $10 you can use for the Donation Raffle to help support our group for next year!

This year's Reunion will help celebrate Coach Groves' 80th Birthday as well as other events. There will be cake! It will be held on an off week for the team and we will have current coaches and team members participating for the first time. The union of us old -timers and the young bucks (and women!) will be a tremendous way to help make Penn State Track Alumni (the Golf is optional!) the world's most active and largest Track Alumni Group. Most questions can be handled by perusing the web site, but any additional questions will be easily answered by contacting me by email, dfbaskwill(at)cs(dot)com.

Be alert for the coming email blast and be tolerant of duplicated efforts. I'm no more organized now than I was as a Freshman in 1977. In fact, I'm not quite sure I'm not less organized.

Pictured at the 2009 Reunion are: IT Czar Jeff Sanden '83, some fat guy, legal counsel Doug Kent '80, Don Ziter '81 and Mark Haywood '81. Some of the best friends anyone could ever have. We ran a lot of miles together. Don't miss out on seeing your friends and making many more that share your love for PSU Track.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Now They Tell Me!

I finally discovered the best way to attract the attention of PSU cheerleaders when well into my 30's. Needless to say, none would ever talk to me when I was a skinny college nerd with no car. But, lo and behold, all it took was two Shih Tzu puppies with PSU t-shirts and they were all over me. (Note to current students, it works every time!)

But back in the day, I didn't know that it was SCIENCE that was keeping the girls away. This self-proclaimed math nerd explains it all, with a great formula and everything. I'm just glad to know it wasn't me, it was science!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Triumph of the Goofy

Many obstacles were in the way, but all were overcome in a stunning victory at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. Victory in the personal sense, if you will. Barb Black negative split each of her three half-marathons in the quest for the Goofy Award. She is currently parading around the Magic Kingdom with the medal (apparently a must do by those in the know).

The broken rib, 17 hour car ride, three hours of sleep with 2:30 AM wake-up call and sub freezing temperatures were not enough to defeat her in her quest. I have no doubt that even all the Disney Villains added together could not have stopped her. The Black family stubbornness is legendary.

For what it's worth, The Streak continues, but pales in comparison. Tomorrow's early AM run prior to another 17 hour drive will be the hardest. Temperatures are expected to again challenge all-time lows this evening.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Giant Rat Found in Hibernation

The Floridians are in shock over the cold spell, and I'm not far behind. The cold snap here in "America's Favorite Place" is bad enough, but add in 40,000 under-trained runners and its a site to behold. I'm happy for my 30 minutes of leisurely looping of the Port Orleans Complex (today at 35 degees!)

The Half-Marathon attracts even more "less than adequately trained" people than the Marathon does. Everything also has the long line of people ahead of you to contend with. Barb Black handled the Half well, except for the frostbite on the cool-down waiting for a bus.

I finally found the Giant Rat in hibernation somewhere in Epcot. He was gracious and even held the wrist band for a photo with me before burrowing back into the cold swampy hillside. Hopefully, Minnie will keep him warm.

Next, the Marathon in sub-freezing temps. Don't forget the 2:30 AM wake-up call to make the bus.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

South of the Border!

Nothiing like a 3 AM stop at South of the Border during a trip to Florida in 28 degree weather! 17 hours of driving with only stops for gas. It makes me appreciate last year's train ride sitting next to schizophrenics and nicotine adddicts.

But the streak is alive with a 2 mile treadmill run on 1 hour of sleep in the last 48 hours. I held a blistering 10:15 minute/mile pace against all odds. Next up: Trapped Like a Rat II.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cold Snap Snags Another

Larry Mangan started the week off in sunny "Cal EE Forn Ya" as one of only a few of us not shivering. Apparently Governor Schwarzenegger has reprised his Batman role as Mr. Freeze and sent Larry back to the single digit climes of Suburban Philadelphia with his freeze ray.

Larry did salvage a couple more "Blue Band" pics from Santa Monica to add to his (and our) impressive collection. I'll try to get one with Mickey the Giant Rat while in Orlando this week, but you know how skittish rodents are. (Trapped Like a Rat II).

And former junior high b-ball teammate and the worlds best basketball shot (according to Purdue Coach Keady, and including Michael Jordan!) Curt Clawson actually was alerted to my previous post and emailed me. It's been 35 years and needless to say, he doesn't remember me (I have that effect on a lot of people!) but he does remember almost everything else and relates that I got most of my facts correct. (Rare, I know.) When I hear more from him I'll update the record, hopefully with a photo to boot.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Deep Freeze Affects Nearly Everyone

It's orange season, even in my house. My 20 year-old dwarf tree has more fruit than ever this year and even my 2 year-old tree has some fruit this year. The cats love chasing them around after they fall off the tree. I share Galileo's anxiety at keeping orange trees indoors during the winter. We both are concerned about dropping leaves every winter, albiet his were dropping leaves some 400 years ago. Temperate climes don't treat orange trees well.

As I prepare to head toward Disney World (Trapped Like a Rat II) on Wednesday, I note that the oranges there may be worse off than mine at home. Barb Black prepares for her Goofy Challenge, (a half-marathon on Saturday and a marathon on Sunday). She does this with the assistance of her two knee braces which have resurrected her career. She also has the additional challenge of driving there (with my assistance!) and running with a newly broken rib sustained shoveling snow. I'm thinking of getting her a weight vest just to make it difficult! I will be doing loops of the Port Orleans complex instead, keeping the pitiful streak alive. Running in Disney World sucks even after they have improved it in the past 10 years.

A look at the map shows that the contiguous US States are well below norm in temperatures today. I'm happy my new treadmill room has the temperature set at a great 65 degrees. I'll experiment with it to find the ideal range.

*Luckily, temperatures are expected to be 29 degrees for the Disney Marathon on Sunday. We wouldn't want it to be hot or anything for our vacation.
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