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...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Great Things Happening All Over! New Blog Content! Women Win Big Ten!

I attended the First Day of the Women's Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships yesterday at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Complex. So far, the Women's team is on pace for an excellent showing in the meet. The reception held afterward at Damon's Grill, home of our own Reunion in May, was superb and portends more great things coming for PSU Track! I was able to promote our group and the Harry Groves Golf Tourney to a very receptive audience. The melding of the current and future of the program with the alumni and old guard has really blossomed in the past year. Our group has been enthusiastically endorsed and the coaching staff has confirmed attendance at our event in May. Coach Alford-Sullivan is pleased with all our efforts on behalf of PSU Track and we are on pace to become the largest and most active track and field alumni group in the world.

I had the pleasure of seeing many current members of our group and meeting a few people who are destined to become friends and supporters. High Jumper Ryan Fritz (with eligibility for outdoor season) was gracious before the meet, as he was put to work, seeing as he's not at Minnesota for the Men's Championships. Nick K. came to the reception and confirms attendance at the tourney, still looking for a chance at The Cup. The Shisler's (Steve and Beth) also attended, and gave the good news that they will repeat again this year. Both will also be inducted into the Hall of Honor as soon as I get off my butt and compile the full list! Beth has already purchased the Kathy Award, which will be a rotating prize for the most-valuable women golfer. Larry Mangan also showed despite not being able to come in May due to a schedule conflict with the High School District Track meet. I also spoke briefly with Teri Jordan, ex-women's coach who can definitely help with Coach Groves' desire to "bring more women to the reunion". Jess Riden was also cordial despite her incredible workload and numerous duties. Mark Hawkins also confirmed attendance and likely will become our digital archivist for the event! I think that means he's taking pictures, but what do I know.

Big, big news on the Blog Front also! After extensive negotiations over pay, (unlimited Wrist Bands), Artie Gilkes has agreed to become our Director of Youth Development. He will soon be blogging with us, trying to relate to a generation (or 2!) of track alums old people like I have difficulty reaching. Everyone seems to know, like and respect Artie, and I'm sure he will be a great addition to our humble cadre of Idiots!

Also, we will soon have 100 members with us on Facebook! Join our group and the 100th person will receive free Wrist Bands!

Update: Women's Team wins Big Ten Championship! Congrats to everybody. Men are Sixth.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

An Offer You Can't Refuse

Entry fees are starting to trickle in to The Keeper of the Cup, Harry Smith, (soon to be inducted into the Hall of Honor!) for the Ninth Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament and Reunion. Remember, the early-bird special only lasts until 3/31/10. Thereafter, the full fee will be strictly enforced.

The fee schedule has been simplified this year in order to not confuse the Corleone and Tartaglia families like last year:

  1. Early-bird entries (Clark reminds Joe Clinton to not eat the worm!) will be $125 for the Golf and lunch Saturday prior to the golf.
  2. After 3/31/10, the fee will be $150 for the package.
  3. Don Corleone offers a discount for Students and those who must fly in for the festivities of $100! He specifies that kissing his ring for the great deal is optional.
  4. Those not golfing with us can still participate in everything else for a fee of $25 prior to 3/31/10 and $30 after. Any help with the golfing activities, photography, errands and such are greatly appreciated.
  5. The Awards Dinner at Damon's Grill will include an additional fee, but will be well worth the price as we will honor Coach Groves' 80th Birthday, among other announcements. There will be cake!
Fill out the entry form by clicking on Coach's picture at the right-hand top of the web site so we have an accurate count of those coming. The count will be more important than ever this year. Any excess monies are donated to PSU Track Scholarships, Friends of PSU Track, and to provide better festivities for the group next year. Friends, family and anyone just interested in PSU Track are encouraged to attend. We are an open and friendly group. We guarantee a good time.

Entries go to: Harry Smith, Keeper of the Cup, 7793 Hudson Park Dr., Hudson OH 44236.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Winter Olympics: Aerobic Extreme Sports

The finest in Winter Olympic Sports is The Biathlon. The skill set of shooting involved is extraordinary, especially with the combination with the worlds most difficult aerobic activity, cross-country skiing. But, that not being enough, organizers needed more in order to sell it to network television. (This video seems very realistic except for the inclusion of the Frenchman. In real life the Frenchman would be skiing away!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Another Reminder: Track Alumni Reception Saturday

Kute Kitteh reminds us that Coach Alford-Sullivan invites all Track Alumni and Friends to this Saturday's (Feb. 27, 2010) reception and reunion at Damon's Grill at 8:00PM. I'll be there to introduce the latest in Penn State Track Alumni paraphernalia, The Brochure! Come get your copy and pick one up for a friend. Help spread the word on the soon-to-be largest Track and Field Alumni Group in the World.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

More Great Photos

Holder of the Golden Putter and paid-up 2010 Golf Tourney participant Bob Gabel sends us this great photo from Killington VT. His steady and frozen hand grasps this year's version of the Wrist Band, a glow-in-the-dark model that lasts longer than any of us can! Bob will be returning with Horace, with dim hopes of winning him again. Bob, there's always Mike and Barney to win also! (Horace is the golden putter for the winner of the longest putt on the 18th green. Mike is the Silver Divot Tool for the longest drive, and Barney is the Golden Divot Tool for the closest to the pin on the 2nd hole.)

Ken Brinker brings us the other beauty, which says all that can be said about running post-college. Many of you will recognize this sign on Route 80, not very far away from State College. I sent this pic to National Lampoon's True Facts back in the late 70's, but they didn't get the joke.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Par-Tay!! (Get it?) Oh, What's the Use?

It's a party and the golf is never far away! (Par for the course around here in stupid puns.)

The PSU Track Program is throwing a party and gathering at Damon's on Saturday night February 27th at 8:00PM to 11:00PM, right smack dab in the middle of the Women's Indoor Big Ten Track and Field Championships! Damon's is the Official site of our reunion and awards dinner also. All Track Alumni and Friends are invited, both Men and Women! Both men and women track alums will be honored. Fun and frivolity will be readily apparent. Raffles, food, drink and good times always accompany these gatherings. Meet the Coaches, some of the athletes and alums from every decade back to the 50's. I'll be there with sign-up sheets for the golf outing in May. Also available will be the Official Penn State Track Alumni Wrist Bands in both blue and glow-in-the-dark for a nominal donation to our worthy group. Help finance our attempt at defoliating Happy Valley's lush greenery this Spring.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

At Last! Another Physics Post

I love Physics. I wasn't particularly "good" at it, but I enjoy everything about it. As a certified nerd, even I realize when others are being really nerdy! This argument over whether Warp Speed would result in instant death (it would) is terrifying in its complete and total nerdiness. None of the participants in this discussion ever met anyone belonging to the opposite sex. They are that nerdy. You must pay special attention to the over-the-top attention to detail in the comments. Also notice the Man-Girdle on Captain Kirk in the photo.

Opinions Wanted From My (Tens of ) Readers

The long winter has been a total drag, hasn't it? As I gear up for the Championship Indoor Track Season I am wondering just what anyone who reads this stuff wants more or less of (sic)*? In trying to keep the site somewhat topical and quite offbeat, I wonder what feedback any of you have. The criticisms are often heard, and even sometimes listened to. Remember, this blog is primarily to promote the group's golf outing to honor Coach Harry Groves for his long and distinguished career at "Dear Old State". Secondary reasons for the blog are many, including as an outlet for my idiotic and insane ramblings occasionally. Fun and frivolity are desired.

What direction should we go? What would you like to see more of (sic)*? Less of (sic)*? (Other than me, of course!) Is there anyone out there with content to include? Videos, photos, stories, poems?

Use the Comment section below to give some feedback (Yeah, you!) It's easy and hardly hurts at all. Anonymity can be utilized.

* the (sic)s are for my sister, the English Teacher. She ain't never giving me a break on the grammar here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Nittany Lions Ranked 10th and 11th in Latest Polls!

The Mens Team moved up 4 places in the latest USTFCCCA rankings to 11th place. The Womens Team stayed at 10th in the same poll. Good things are happening all around for the program! Now, if we could just find out if any of them can golf....

Congrats to the athletes and Coaching staff on a job well done. I'm looking forward to the Indoor Championship Season and the Outdoor Campaign!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Surefire Way to Improve Your Marathon Time

The Chinese seem to have adopted the Japanese strict school entrance exam thing to the extreme. Top finishers in a marathon receive extra points toward those needed to enter prestigious schools. Ingenuity and skulduggery, of course, can never be far behind.

Thirty of the top hundred finishers were found to have cheated in the race. Many methods were uncovered and admittedly others probably weren't uncovered. Video, computer chips and photography were utilized to thwart miscreants. Can anyone think of a way to get away with it?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Snow Cannot Dissuade a True Golfer

The recent snows blanketed the Mid-Atlantic states as far south as North Carolina. The Malchanos had the 3rd most snow ever at their locale, but that has not detered them in their preparations for the May Golf Tourney. That's Bill still hacking away with the 6-iron despite what looks like 4 inches of snow! The 44 inches at my locale hasn't changed my golf prep either. I never practice, so what's to change?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

24 Hours in Hell: A Runner's World Relay

It all started with a letter. Yeah, an actual snail-mail letter in the Spring just as Track season ended. A York College miler wanted me to join others in mounting an attack on the Pennsylvania record in a Runner's World 24-Hour Relay. The ten-man team was to consist of mostly Division 2 and 3 alumni runners, with a few high schoolers thrown in. We had a pretty darn good bunch and a real shot at the record. I accepted without ever realizing what I was getting into. I would live to regret it. I even named our team the SPCA, short for Southern Pennsylvania Coalition of Athletes. The pun with the name was intentional, although I didn't realize how cruel it would become.

Runner's World had come up with a set of rules to torture runners who just couldn't get enough pain in their usual races. Ten men would alternate in succession, 1 mile at a time on a 1/4 mile track. If anyone missed a turn, they were out for good, and the team had to go on with just 9. This was more of a detriment than you would expect and it was actually counterproductive to ditch a slow runner to continue with just 9, as soon all 9 would slow more than the "slow" runner ever could.

The Relay in Fort Meade, MD had been run for several years and was one of Runner's World Premiere events. The organization was precise and meticulous. To keep times, each team had to have a representative at the start/finish line to record all the times. A man actually read the time of day out as every runner crossed the line for the 24 hours, and the team's rep had to write it down, add up the times and report to the main scorekeeper. Each and every runner at the event had all their times added up on a big scoreboard.

The event started at noon, and our team met at 11:00AM for a strategy session. We were up against the 2-time returning champions, the Alligator A team. There were probably 10 competitive teams and 30 or 40 teams made up mostly of Marines from Fort Meade. There was also a 50 mile race run concurrently, making the track very congested at all times. It turned out our "strategy" turned out to be running fast and winning, which fit right into my thoughts after a fairly good senior HS season. I was put in as our 3rd man, with the organizer leading off and a good friend and local coach as number 2.

At the noon gun, our lead-off man sprinted off into the lead, which we never relinquished. His 4:24 or so was the fastest mile of the whole event. I tied on my usual spikes, grabbed the baton and took off at a fairly good pace. My 4:47 or so was easy, and for the next 15 miles I put in consistent 4:51 to 4:53 miles, and with the error in the reading and recording of times, that meant they all were 4:52. I was very good at pace in those days, and always knew how fast I was running. I actually thought this was conservative at the time.

I never took my spikes off and had nothing to eat the whole 24 hours. I did drink ERG from a 2 quart ziplock bag I had mixed and sat on a lounge chair between miles. The 45 minutes between each one was getting shorter and shorter by this time, and I was now getting hounded by people asking who I was. I was too stupid to realize that others were looking at the big board and figuring out that a 17 year-old high school geek was in the lead for the event. The other teams were sending spies around to find out what was up. A runner form the Alligator A team started upping his pace and eventually overtook me. He was a runner from Auburn, who someone at the time told me was a sub-4 minute miler. (This turned out not to be true, but it made me feel better when I couldn't keep the lead.)

The first hint that something was wrong came on that 17th mile when the time was 4:59 with the same effort as all the others. It took longer to loosen up between each one and my times started sneaking above 5:00, despite increasing my effort. My ERG was gone, and I now started to drink whatever was around. I even thought about eating something, although I know that wouldn't have turned out well. I even dug into my bag for the Ben-Gay, which remarkably gave me one more sub-5:00 mile before the bottom gave out. Peeing red before the last couple of miles was creepy, but by then the way my legs felt, I didn't care.

At noon, the gun went off again, and everyone had to stop and wait for the measurement of the last 440 yds. Times and distances were added up and the SPCA were indeed the winners, with a total of 269 miles and 0 yards, (our last runner knew to stop right at the line so he wouldn't have to stand around for the measurements). I ended up 2nd in the individual race, with a big trophy and an average of 4:58 per mile for 27 miles. I was told by the organizers that this was a "world record for 17 year-olds", but I doubt this was true. Even if it was, six days later someone demolished it anyway with a 4:47 average, a 17 year-old in Ohio named Alan Scharsu. I found this out when we were roommates in 1980. Small world, I guess. Our Pennsylvania record was never recognized; we didn't realize we had to run it IN Pennsylvania.

The next day was the worst I ever felt after running. My whole body ached, but I still went out and slowly ran 15. The whole experience definitely took something out of me. I have always said I was never the same after it, but then it might all be in my head. People tell me that all the time!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Damon's It Is! And Happy Birthday Kung Pao!

Not really a birthday, but tomorrow will be the 27th anniversary of my first Kung Pao meal! The 1983 36 inch snowfall in Philadelphia was the scene of the beginning of that great love affair with the world's greatest food. That first meal was BEEF and I'll be reliving the experience tonight with home-made Kung Pao Beef. Man, 27 years goes by fast.

And Damon's has been officially booked for the Friday night Reunion Evening and Saurday's Awards Dinner and Celebration. We have reserved the biggest and best meeting room (nothing short of luxury for us idiots!) with 3 new big screens. Friday night will be a sampling of cold and hot Hors D'oeuvres. Saturday will feature their Grand Slam Buffet, each of us will get 4 rib bones and a BBQ chicken breast with sides. We'll also scarf any leftovers from Friday and also have ala carte abilities. Full details and costs for Saturday's festivities will be forthcoming (Friday will be included in the Golf Package rate!).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sending the Throwers Some Love

Blake Eaton was named Athlete of the Week in the Big Ten for his winning throw of 60'-10.5" at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge this past week. This throw puts him in second place behind teammate Joe Kovacs in the Big Ten Performance lists this indoor season!

Coach Groves Prepares for the Golf Outing

Video footage smuggled through Kazakhstan into China and from Hong Kong to the West shows Coach Groves is undergoing intensive training for the Ninth Annual Harry Groves Golf Tourney and Reunion. Par doesn't seem to matter in this type of training and those not in his foursome are forewarned there will be no prisoners. It will take an monumental effort to get your name on the Memorial Cup this year. The unidentified pugilist wearing the Boston Bruins sweater is thought to be last year's Golden Divot Tool winner Mark Tygel. NSA investigators are seeking confirmation.

Monday, February 8, 2010

As Professions Go...

you can do a lot worse than a professional triathlete. Chris Foster '05 has parlayed his running abilities and other attributes like swimming and biking into a great career that beats the heck out of anything I've tried! He lives in California now, but competes all over the world. He is currently in the midst of the Pan American Cup series where he has a 2nd place finish and a fourth place finish. Last year, Chris won events in San Diego and my favorite Canadian City, Windsor. I used to travel to Windsor for pizza while a resident in Detroit (not for the thousands of strip clubs there!). Follow Chris's exploits at his website.

As always, I'll make the effort to entice him to the golf outing, but with his schedule, it will be tough!

And here's another way to become a professional runner that any one of us can do! All it takes is an ability to withstand cold and be single and friendless!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More Early Eighties Nonsense

Captains Ken Wynn and Todd Shenk sport the dress code before Clark instituted the clown suit idea. We're lucky it wasn't in pastel colors with gold chains like in Miami Vice, I suppose!

And you never want to be in the situation Dave Masgay found himself in this photo. It is postulated that the 3 coaches (Coach Mark Bilyk, Coach Groves and ?) found out about the palm tree Dave "acquired" at the Florida Relays. Any way you slice it, a 3 to 1 ratio of coaches to athletes is never a good thing.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Meet Your Old Friends at the Harry Groves Golf Tourney and Reunion

The best part of the Reunion weekend for many attendees is the Friday night get-together. Seeing as so many of us are mediocre (at best!) golfers, the Saturday Tourney is fun, but sometimes an ordeal to be endured. Even hackers like me can get their name on The Cup though, so we "endeavor to persevere" as Chief Dan George said in The Outlaw Josey Wales. Some have even elected to forego the golfing and just attend our Friday get-together and the Awards dinner. This is more than fine. In fact, any combination of events is welcomed by all of us. Some have snuck in under their spouses radar for just the golf! (Can you imagine?) We guarantee a good time. There is even things you can do to help at the Golf Tourney if you don't wish to make divots all day. ( Like screw up all our videos or photos, or get nearly decapitated filming an errant drive! All of which has been done more than once!)

Here is a video I dug up showing what a typical meeting between old friends looks like at our Reunion.

Addendum: The Men's Team is now ranked #14 nationally while the Women's Team is #8. Let's hear it for Beth Alford-Sullivan's (and all the coaches!) athletes!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"The Real Phil"and "The Real Calvin's Dad"

Phil actually bit Bill Murray during this scene. Who could blame him? The smartass! Phil (careful, it's a Fox News link!) actually predicted 6 more weeks of Indoor Track today. Which is a great way to look at it. At least the athletes of today have banked 200 meter beauties to run around, kept at somewhere above the 9 degrees I remember!

And for those who view the Calvin and Hobbes cartoons on the blog daily (it's on the right sidebar, you idiot!), notice that the guy to the right "kinda, sorta" looks like Calvin's dad! This is his first interview in quite a while.

Second Generation Speed (and Putting Prowess)

All-American and soon-to-be Hall of Honor inductee Bob Snyder (as soon as I get around to compiling the list!) can be proud of his progeny in last week's Penn State National Invitational Mile.
Chris Snyder's 4:15.94 was good for 6th place in the race. Combined with his 2nd place at last year's Golden Putter contest on the 18th green, that makes for a two-sport star. Congrats all, and I hope to see you at this year's competition.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Long Term "Old School" Coach

Former Junior High JV teammate Curt Clawson sent me this pic of him with his mom and Coach Keady of Purdue at the PSU/Purdue game on Sunday. That's Curt back in the day with another long range shot. Curt helped his team win the Big Ten Title in his senior year. I get the impression that Purdue's players revere Coach Keady the same that most of us revere Coach Groves. I have a feeling that Coach Groves and Coach Keady would get along well. Curt may have more to say about the shooting contest against Michael Jordan when he returns from a business trip.
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