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, September 28, 2010

Penn State National Cross-Country Tailgate at Damon's

The next home Cross-Country meet is on Saturday, October 16 at 10:00 AM on the Blue and White Golf Courses.  The Penn State National will be one of the last tune-ups prior to the Big Ten Championships in Madison Wisconsin.

Following the Meet, a Tailgate and Alumni Celebration will be held at our favorite Haunt, Damon's Grill from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM.  These get-togethers are a great way to meet some of the current athletes, coaches and alumni tracksters from every era.  Food, fun and frivolity are a sure thing.  I'll again be there (They can't seem to shake me!) with wrist bands and good humor for all.

Group Hero, Ken Brinker and Mike Milliron of the Varsity Club will also be in attendance, as the entire PSU Track (and XC!) Universe garners more and more attention with the University Big-Wigs.  Our group is certainly doing its part to make PSU the preeminent Track Program in the nation.  Little by little, every single one of us is making a difference.  Stop by the Tailgate and celebrate the past, present and especially the glorious future of PSU Track and Field (and XC!!).

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Blog Photo Caption Finalists Are Named! Chicago Style Voting Commences

The Five Finalists have finally been selected for the Blog Photo contest!  Voting will commence on the left sidebar.  Chicago-style voting has been approved for use in the contest.  That doesn't mean deep-dish voting, but it does allow multiple votes per registrant, including those who are deceased. A separate computer is needed for each vote.  The winner will receive a gift card to the Creamery with sufficient funds to obtain either two cones or a 1/2 gallon of deliciousness.  Peachy Paterno and Death by Chocolate are overwhelmingly recommended by group members.

Remember, here's the photo in question:

And here's the winning entries:  (photo shows a skyward glancing "Ambassador" Jim Clelland and "0013" Gary Black lounging in the shot-gun seat of Tim Backenstose's boat on the Chesapeake Bay.

1.  Jim: "I can't believe I agreed to this."
Gary: "Yeah, Tim told ME we could go tubing..."

2.  "I can't believe I skipped my 15 miler to ride around in a boat with these guys"

3.  Jim-"Sorry, Gary, wearing your cap backwards and calling yourself "GeeBlack" doesn't make you a gangsta."

4.  "just try to look calm and no one will notice that you just peed in the cooler"

5.  Jim-"We've been on this boat trying to find a dock for 12 hours. Do you really think Tim should have another drink?"
Gary - "Who's Tim?"

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ten Questions: Steve Shisler (Hall of Honor Recipient!) Without Any Snide Remarks Even

1.  What song immediately brings back memories of PSU?
2.   Who was the biggest team clown during your track years?
3.   What was your best PSU Track or XC performance?

4.   What is your best Coach Groves memory?

5.   What was your favorite haunt/watering hole in State College back in the day?

6.   What was your least favorite workout?

7.  What was your favorite classroom at PSU?

8.   What is your most embarrassing moment while attending Penn State?

9.   What exercising do you currently do?

10.  What was the best home football game you attended?

1. Beat it - My dorm room in West Halls faced Fiji. It seemed like the frat played it relentlessly at their Friday night parties when I was trying to rest up for a meet the next day.
2. Probably Pole Vaulter Ken Stauffer.  Rumor has it that he was willing to bite the head off of a small rodent simply on a dare.
3. My double at Penn in '86, anchoring the 4x1500 for an American record and 2nd place finish in 14:58 with Hudson-3:46, Overheim-3:42, Carter-3:47, Shisler-3:42. Coming back a few hours later to defend our 4x800 title with Watson-1:48, Shisler-1:49, Levitre-1:48, Mills-1:48 in 7:16.
4. The Monday practice after we won the Penn 4x800 in '85, Coach wasted no time getting back to work by criticizing Chris Mills for his leg of the relay.  It seems that Coach didn't like the fact that Mills let many time All-American Kevin King get by him on the first lap of their leg. Of course he failed to comment on the fact that Mills out kicked King coming home and widened our lead giving Randy Moore the baton.  I am sure this tongue lashing was going through Chris's mind the following year when he was anchoring at Penn and got the baton with the lead. The rest is history!
5. Which night of the week are you asking about?  Where ever the best special was, of course.  Do they still have the 25 cent draught special on Tuesdays at Zeno's?
6. 2 x 600, at race pace. I'm pretty sure Coach added insult to injury and threw in a few 200's after that as well.
7. Classroom?  What's a classroom?
8. Walking around downtown on a Phi Psi Saturday wearing a wolf head mask. Fortunately know one knew it was me, until now.
9. Couch to fridge for a weight to conduct my 12 oz 1 arm curls.  Repeat 6 times.
10. I was fortunate to be the 1982 Penn State - Nebraska game.  You know, the one where they extended the sideline on a PSU catch to keep the game alive and we won on a last second touchdown.  The Big Red still wine about this one today.  I can't wait for the rivalry to renew annually next year!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dare Benefit and Kung Pao Update: Finally!

Sorry for the delay in reporting, but circumstances of the real world sometimes impede my fantasy blog world, (where all is well, after all!).

The Kung Pao Outreach snagged several new members, including Keeper of the Cup, Harry Smith and Penn Relays Watch Wearing Steve Shisler.  There was a cameo appearance by Keeper of the Golden Putter, Greg Fredericks, who was thoroughly afraid of the spicy goodness that is Kung Pao.  He dropped off a 1978 Exeter Cross-Country Guide starring Harry Smith himself.  Nick K. appeared at his second Outreach, ordering spicy food other than Kung Pao, which was approved by all Officers present.  Gary Black ordered the spiciest dish of the night and was thoroughly delighted with the result.  The Golden Wok offers an excellent version of the traditional chinese favorite.

The Dare Benefit Golf Tournament  was a great event, and well run by the Dare Foundation and Penn State.  Hors d'ouvres and the dinner were both excellent, with a healthy turn-out by 25 current PSU athletes (who even had the day off from practice!).  Coach Crater, Coach Sullivan and Coach Gondak as well as Jess Riden hacked away at the lush Blue Course Greenery with abandon.  I even have video of Jess attempting an approach shot on the first hole, which should serve as an excellent source of blackmail funds.  Negotiations are currently underway.

The "A" foursome pictured are Steve Balkey, Clark Haley, Paul Mundy and Harry Smith.  They ended up at (-6).  The "B" foursome shows Steve Shisler, Jeff Sanden, Gary Black and Nick K., who ended up at (-5).  Discussions occurred about some exciting Group events in the future, and arrangements were made to continue our close relationship with the Hampton Inn, Official Hotel of PSU Track Alumni Golf.  Stay tuned for more photos and videos from the event.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Weekend Activities A Success: "Pushed Aside by a Coed, Again!"

The Kung Pao Outreach and Kevin Dare Benefit Golf Tournament were both successful this past weekend.  The Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golfers showed up in force at both events.  Recognition from the Track Program and Athletic Department were also welcomed by six Idiot Officers attending.  I almost got to golf at the last minute with a separate foursome, but was pushed aside by the supposed last-minute appearance of a 22 year old "professional" woman, who met some of the group at a pre-tournament strategy session downtown at 2:00AM.  I'm assuming that meant LPGA, but am not entirely sure about that.  The snub allowed me  to video and take photographs of the whole thing as the PSU Golf people allowed me the use of an extra cart and everything.  These visual gems will be forthcoming as soon as the real world I was forced to return to calms down a little bit.  I'll also be picking the top 5 photo captions for the prize of a half gallon of Creamery ice cream.  We'll vote on the best soon thereafter.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First Ever Blog Photo Caption Contest: Update! Ice Cream Prize!

Following our little excursion to the northern reaches of the Chesapeake Bay, this gem of a photo surfaced from the bowels of Larry Mangan's camera.  It shows a relaxed Gary Black (0013) and a contemplative Jim Clelland ("The Ambassador").  Please supply a suitable caption to the photo in the Comment area below.  The top five, as decided by me, will be eligible for a vote off to be held on the left sidebar in the near future.  The prize is a half-gallon of Creamery Ice Cream.  (For Real, I have a gift card and everything!)

Before getting things started here's a great quote from Larry this past weekend, who came up with this whole contest idea.  Hat-tip and kudos for it. The quote reflects how good PSU Track really is.

"In high school, I was the fastest miler in the state.  My Freshman year in college, I was the second fastest miler in my dorm room."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Thoughts Again Invariably Turn to Kung Pao

The Kevin Dare Benefit Golf Tournament is on Monday, September 20 on the Blue and White Golf Courses.  Our humble group is represented this year by 2 foursomes, with me as the swing coach!  ("Swing harder, as the ball travels farther when hit harder" is my favorite advice.) We will be outfitted with our own Golf Shirts, available in the Group Store for a modest price.

We will be getting together the night before (Sunday, September 19) at 7:00PM at The Golden Wok located at the intersection of Atherton and College Ave.  They make a suitable rendition of the most famous of all Chinese dishes, Kung Pao Chicken.  Despite my dieting efforts, the string stays alive at once a week for 27 years.  I'm nothing if not consistent.  Everyone is invited to partake, even foods other than the world's finest.  Just remember to keep your fingers away from Gary's mouth if any chicken wings are involved and no one will be hurt. The golf shirts will be unveiled, some t-shirts, flashlights and wrist-bands are still available for those who show.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Meet Draws Stellar Field

The Cross Country season got underway in State College with the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Meet on the 5.2 Mile Course.  Penn State Women finished Third and the Men Fourth in a solid field including Georgetown and Princeton.

Kyle Dawson led the Lions in a third place finish while Kara Millhouse led the Lady Lions with a seventh place effort.

Meanwhile, Tyler McCandless continued his tune-up for the Boston Half-Marathon with a winning effort in the Denver Half-marathon.  His mile-high victory bodes well for his attack on the Olympic Trials qualifying time he missed by one second in his last race.

But maybe the best moment of the day occurred when Coach Groves told Jess Riden, "Girl, you got a swagger like John Wayne."  You just can't make up good stuff like that.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Day on the Bay with Captain Tim

Our international contingent of PSU Track Alumni Golfers spent the day in the capable hands of Captain Tim of the famed Yanomamo Tribe.  Cruising the northern reaches of the vast Chesapeake Bay in the renamed "Liberator" was remarkably enjoyable for even this landlubber.We lunched in Chesapeake City, noted for their intricate attention to the safety and well-being of all of their patrons!  "Slip into a slip, slip into the Tiki Bar, sip a few too many, slip onto the floor and get slipped back into your boat" seems to be the motto among the nautical set.  Not really much different from college, but the tuition must be far steeper!

Along for the ride with Tim Backenstose were "Ambassador" Jim Clelland, Cruise Comedian Larry Mangan, and  2 International Espionage Agents  (Gary "0013" Black and  Johannes "The Austrian").

We cruised back to home base at speeds exceeding 30 knots (or whatever Tim said!), so we could make it back to the Yanomamo Villiage Long House to view the PSU/Alabama Game.  We should have stayed at the Tiki Bar even though we were noted to be "older men" by the women still vertical at 3:00 PM. 

Here's two videos of our cruise:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

PSU Track Alumni Hit the High Seas

A sizable contingent of Penn State Track Alumni Golfers will be hitting the High Seas this weekend.  Well, the Chesapeake Bay anyway.  Our three hour tour will be guided by Captain Tim Backenstose and his little buddy.  The motley collection of wanna-be pirates will be aboard the renamed "Yanomamo" craft refitted to accommodate those not among "The Fierce People".

My next of kin have been notified of my new will and my supply of Bonine is ready.  My training in the remedial swimming class at PSU 30 years ago will be of no help in the eventuality of a shipwreck.  I will depend on the professor for any hope of survival.  Neither Ginger nor Maryann will be along for the cruise. 

Although Barb and I once came upon Tina Louise and Joann Phlug during filming of 1980's "The Day the Women Got Even" (with Ed O'Neill)  in Central Park.  They were dressed up and sitting in a carriage and talked to us nicely for awhile before the Director called them back for filming.  I don't know how security missed us, but there were barricades everywhere else except where we were walking.  And this was just before John Lennon was shot right near where we were.  I suppose things have changed a lot since then...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ten Questions: Greg Fredericks (Hall of Honor Member)

   1.    What song immediately brings back memories of Penn State?
Not a big music guy.  Listened to a Simon & Garfunkel, and different folk groups like Peter, Paul & Mary, Gordon Lightfoot....  Come on, it was the late '60's and most of you were in diapers and we had Vietnam and Richard Nixon.  So any of those "artists." 
2.   Who was the biggest team clown during your track years?
We were serious way back when coach first came to PSU.  Gary Murray was as close to a clown as I remember.
3.   What was your best PSU Track or XC performance?
Big 4 meet, Pittsburgh (this is for Artie). Mile 4:00, 880 1:50, anchored 4X440 :48). Team gave Coach a Big 4 victory in Pittsburgh.  For you youngsters the Big 4 was PSU, Pitt, WVU and Syracuse.
4.   What is your best Coach Groves memory?
I have a lot; here is one.  1972 after setting the American record, coach and I were treated to dinner in a nice Seattle restaurant by Neil Amdur (NY Times reporter).  Coach had a dinner bet with him that I would win and coach collected.  Good thing I did not know that before the race.  (I'm pretty sure coach never won, or even placed a bet on me!)
5.   What was your favorite haunt/watering hole in State College back in the day?
Sorry every team needs at least one, not a drinker so my favorite was a fresh fruit sundae at the Deli.  Never missed a Sunday morning workout due to a sundae hangover.  (Mine was Pedro's, where you got chili, a taco and tortilla chips for 99 cents, with a free soft drink of any size on Thursdays!)
6.   What was your least favorite workout?
10X110, 10X220; 10X110; 5X220.  None of us knew he was a 440 Man!
7.   How many members of the women’s track team did you date, even though Coach Groves said they were “off-limits”?
None.  Coach made sure there was no women's team until I graduated and Mike Sands enrolled!  (Before a girls team existed and before color was invented for photographs!)
8.   What is your most embarrassing moment while attending Penn State?
Growing what I called a mustache!  (Ask Whiteside about my goatee!)
9.   What exercising do you currently do?
Still lift weights though it may be hard to tell; Get a 5K run each day though it is a bike ride some weekends.  "TEAM" run the morning of the Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament and Reunion.  Shameless plug for Dave!  (Any shameless promotion is certainly appreciated!)
10.  What was the best home football game you attended?
Did I mention I was here during the late '60's.  First 2 undefeated teams under Paterno '68 and '69.  They were all good those years.  (I went to a lot of those games also.  Band day was always great, if anyone remembers those.)

Physicists About to Come to Blows?

Stephen Hawking is still swinging for the seats.  This time he contradicted his earlier proclamation that "The Big Bang" and God can coexist quite nicely, (A Brief History of Time).

Now that he no longer cares what others think of him he states,

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,"

But the Bard of Rob Whiteside's current town once said,

“Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.”

Gentleman, back to your corners, let's keep it clean, and come out fighting at the bell.  (Who would win a fight between an ALS sufferer and a long dead heavyweight of his field?)

Penn State Golf Alumni Meet

BUT, THEY DON'T HAVE A TRACK MEET AS PART OF THEIR CELEBRATION.  Our group alone, forges on with our two sport system.  (Broken-down tracksters hacking away at the golf course!)*

* Present company exempted, of course.

Seriously, kudos to the Golf Alumni for a well attended event.

James Carney Places Third in 20K USATF Championships

The US 20 K Championships were held in New Haven CT over the weekend.  Millersville and Penn State Grad James Carney placed third in 59:33 with a nearly perfectly paced effort.  Sean Quigley of PA won the event in 59:21, pocketing $8,000 for the effort.  James managed $2,500 for his weekend payday.

Here's a link to his post-race interview.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tailgating and A Campus Tour

First up, both the Mens and Womens XC Teams won their first meets of the season at the Dolan Duels at Lock Haven.  The Women placed the first 7 runners for a perfect score!

The Football team won their game too, although I forgot to go to the game for the umpteenth time in a row!

And here's a great video of my run through campus with Barb Black during the game.

And here's the rainbow that greeted us at the finish of the run!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Inducing Shivers for at Least 40 Years: NOW UPDATED WITH BREAKING NEWS

The students are back, and workouts commence in earnest.  One of the "favorites"  of all the various track disciplines is Squirrel Hill.  Jumpers, sprinters, distance runners and throwers all frequently refer to "The Hill" as their worst nightmare.  But remember, our own Mike Shine, Olympic Silver Medalist credits the workout for making a big difference in his career.

Those who hate "The Squirrel" who haven't tasted the nectar of Julian Pike would be in  awe of the majesty of the 1 1/2 miles of unrelenting uphill.  With a 4 mile warm-up, 3 repeats (and the corresponding return to the bottom!), and a 3-4 mile warm-down and the necessary van ride, you were guaranteed to miss dinner at West Halls!

Thanks to Elaine LaFramboise Pino for the image!

And apparently still a news flash:  PSU's Head Twirler this year is a Freshman guy!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Turnabout is Fair Play

Coach Groves will be attending the Retirement Festivities of Dr. Rick McGuire, 27 year Head Coach at Missouri on Sept. 19, 20.  Coach McGuire had given one of the speeches at Coach Groves' Retirement Festivities at the Horace Ashenfelter III Complex in 2006. 

Coach McGuire has coached 137 All-Americans, 27 National Team Members and 4 Olympians during his tenure.  I'll see if I can get video of any of Coach Groves' remarks.  Good luck to Dr. McGuire and Mizzou Track in the new season.
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