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...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Big Ten Championships

Shavon Greaves in the 200 M and the 4 X 400 Relay squad of Greaves, Doris Anyanwu, Ijeoma Iheoma and Megan Duncan captured individual Big Ten Championships at the Indoor meet.  Caitlin Lane placed second in the mile with her PR.  The Women's Team placed second overall.

On the Men's side, Joe Kovacs uncorked a monster shot put to win the event, his first.  His heave was the second longest in PSU history.  Ryan Foster won his third consecutive 800 M title.  Both Brady Gehret and Cas Loxsom snagged second places, as the men placed 6th in the Big Ten.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mountain Runs

New group member Eric Schwartz brings up the great mountain runs we used to do back in the late 70's.  He wonders if we can chronicle all of them.  So, what the hey, let's try!

Tracksters other than distance runners probably wonder just what the heck we are talking about.  Well, Coach Groves figured to keep us honest, he would tire us out on Saturdays and Sundays by making us run 15 to 18 miles in the mountains on days without meets.  We would meet at Rec Hall at 8:30 to 9:00 AM, wait for Gary Black to show up at 9:10 AM, and then pile into a van with no seats, a balky engine, and no ventilation.  No one brought water or anything other than the clothes (sometimes actually discarded during the run!) and shoes that they wore.  We would then drive to an undisclosed location worthy of Vice-President Cheney, park the van and place the keys on the driver side front-tire.  We would then run 18 miles while always pretending it was actually 15.  Hilarity, mayhem and occasionally training would occur.  Then we would all pile back into the fetid van and roll around in our own filth until dropped off back at Rec Hall, sometimes with fewer than had left in the morning.  We would then trudge back to the dorms where we would find out the dining halls were closed.  That sums it all up pretty well, am I missing anything?

Here are a few of the Mountain Runs I remember:
  1. Colyer Lake- The one with the narrow stretch along 322 near the Eutaw House where  death was always an option.  The second most popular one. Also the best place to sprint into the lead at the beginning, duck into the woods and NOT run 18 miles.  (No names included!)
  2. Bear Meadows/Switchbacks/Skimont- Probably the most common and one even recent team members recognize.  Also scene of a nasty parasite infection for me from drinking some spring water high above the switchbacks.  Stooooo pid, I know.
  3. Harry's Valley Road- I was challenged on this one by the Blog Laureate himself.  I guess that one was dreamed up during my tenure there.  It had a desolate stretch near the end from a controlled burn.  Made it look like the "Nuclear Winter" that was all in the news at the time.  It also had a 1/4 mile stretch of pure moss to run on if you knew the cut-off just before the turn off Harry's Valley Road.  Heaven on earth.
  4. Fillmore (or Fullmore?)  A one-time run out north of Route 80 way past the airport.  Not one I preferred.  Horrible coal plant or something half way through.
Am I missing any?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dr. Lucas Was a Pioneer of Fitness

We received a nice comment from Joe Head in North Carolina yesterday to our earlier post about Dr. John Lucas.  Joe relates the inspiration that Dr. Lucas provided him back in the late 60's.  You must remember, this was a significant time before "The Running Boom", which came after the Olympic Marathon win by Frank Shorter in 1972 .  Dr. Lucas was an early adopter of the fitness lifestyle even in the 1950's, and hundreds or thousands were inspired by him.  Thanks for the input Joe.  And come golf with us; our group's umbrella is huge!  And don't forget to check out the Did You Know Section for an interesting fact about Dr. Lucas!

Here's Joe's comment:
My first memory of Coach John Lucas was the day he came out to East Halls in the spring of 1967 for an open entry cross country event for any of us in the dorms who thought we could run. Near the end of my sophomore year, I read Dr. Cooper's book, "Aerobics" and decided that I needed to get back in shape, so I signed up for my first of many P.C [physical conditioning] classes with Coach Lucas. During that time I ran my first marathon [Pikes Peak] and also finished the 1968 Olympic Trials Marathon in Alamosa. I have continued to run marathons since then [my most recent being when I turned 60]. Coach Lucas's example has been an inspiration to me ever since those undergraduate days. I can still see him running laps around the Rec Hall track while eating an apple on his lunch hour.

Joe Head
Class of 1970
B.S. Geological Sciences
And congrats to Robert Snyder's son Chris Snyder on his PR mile of 4:08.91 for UMBC! Chris golfed in our tourney 2 years ago as a member of the second generation Yanomamo clan.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Brainiacs Among Us

Big Blue has slightly over 100 Distinguished Engineers among their ranks, and PSU alums have about one dozen in that number.  So it is rather amazing that I happened to run thousands of miles with 2 of them!

The main purpose of this blog is to attract members of our fraternity (and sorority!) to our annual Spring reunion and  golf tournament.  As Herder of Cats, I realize some of you need to be brought into our fold kicking and screaming, but rest assured, when finally rounded up, you will be quite pleased with the outcome.  Finding new friends and reuniting with old acquaintances only augments the bonds you share with old friends.  The golf is only incidental, as we just need more than your lack of hair and increased girth to gently tease you with!  Even All-Americans and Olympians incur that wrath.

New members of our group are appearing quite frequently.  Eric Schwartz happened to be contacted by an alert Jeff Sanden, and both of them are Distinguished Engineers at IBM!  That two members of the same sports team at the same school at the same time are in that select class points out that Brainiacs are certainly among us.

The Twilight Zone coincidences don't even end there.  Jeff was talked into CompSci as a major by Mark Hawkins, who preceded Eric to PSU from Baldwin High School near Pittsburgh!  This was all back in the day when the Computer Science Building was a converted outhouse across the street from the new Natatorium and punch cards were used for computer input!  It turns out Eric golfs too, so herding that cat may be somewhat easier.  He also makes wine, which would compliment Keeper of the Beer Clark Haley quite well.

We are also getting commitments from alums from the 60's, including Skip Krombolz who was coached by Dr. Lucas, who we hope will attend this year's events.

Here's a photo showing Jeff, Mark, Eric and myself from 1979! (among others).

And here's one of Eric bottling his wine while wearing a gray t-shirt! (us 70's/80's guys lived in those!)

And Matt Groves has an article in today's CDT about Terry Losch and Rapid Transit's support of the Dance Marathon and their raising of over $9 Million!

Monday, February 21, 2011

An Ivy League Outreach

I spread the good word of PSU Track and Field Alumni Golf to the Ivy League this past weekend in Princeton NJ.  Ed Roskiewicz's Princeton Lady Tigers were home at the Princeton Invitational, while Roaming Coorespondent and Blog Muse Rob Whiteside got to sample the inevitable Kung Pao dinner on Saturday night. It turns out that Rob and I are raising mirror image families, except he participates in the work!  We shared the Hotel with the Yale men's hockey team and the Yale women's tennis team.  It was refreshing to see dozens of scholar-athletes in the hotel lobby working on their homework on the free WiFi connection.  (Just like in my day!)  Both Rob and Ed are slated to attend the festivities in May (under threat of death, of course.).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

RIP Hershel Leibowitz

One of PSU's finest passed away at age 85 this weekend.  Hershel Leibowitz was a world renowned psychologist and avid Nittany Valley Track Club member, he began his career at Penn State in 1962.

I also learned he was born in York, PA, which I did not know.  I know no one who had anything but great things to say about him, which is a measure very few of us can live up to.

My respect for him grew over the years as my body deteriorated (ever so slightly!) and I realized just how good a runner he was in his 50's.

Please put any comments and stories about him in the comments below.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Greatest Movie Line of All-Time

"Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms."  -Josey Wales

RIP Len Lesser, "Uncle Leo".

A Brief Intermisssion Prior to The Indoor Championship Season

  1. Grand Exalted IT Czar,  Jeff Sanden (he has a secondary title as a Distinguished Engineer at IBM) is boasting about the recent thumping "Watson" gave past Jeapardy champions on the show.  Something about Terry Bites and male sheep superiority.  What do I know about computers?  Check it out in this Collegian article.  (Way to go, Jeff!)  And he can golf too!
  2. Shana Cox is set to join athletes in Britain attempting to make the National Team for World Championships and future Olympics.  Despite being born and raised on Long Island, PSU Superstar Shana's parents are both from Britain and she qualifies for their teams as soon as the paperwork can clear.  Pip pip cheerio, and all that.
  3. We all can apparently still beat robots in the marathon, as they've set 4 days aside for the first all robot competition in Japan. (Sorry to those on the Left for the Fox News link!)
  4. Robots won't matter at all any more after the Singularity hits.  Try to stay alive until 2045 or so, why don't you?
  5. What's up with the water supply in Altoona?  Wade Endress (Altoona Area/Altoona PA) will join teammates Brady Gehret and Aaron Nodolsky at Penn State next year. Send me a bottle of that stuff, will you?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Director of Fun Teddy Quinn Mulls Changes in Plan

The 2011 reintroduction of the Downtown Tour for the physically hardy (or the metally deranged!) on Friday night of the Alumni Reunion weekend, chaperoned by Director of Fun, Teddy Quinn has been jeopardized by recent action of PLCB authorities.*

Citing many instances of misconduct and general mayhem, 6 bars in the downtown area have had objections made to the renewal of their liquor licenses by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.  Former tour stops like The Shandygaff, The Lions Den, The Gingerbread Man and The Phyrst have upcoming hearings concerning the matter.  New entities like the 797 Sports Bar and The Mezzanine have the most serious allegations against them.  In keeping with the family friendly theme of our reunion, alternatives are being formulated to potential closures of the old stand-bys.

First up is the new Chuck E. Cheese in downtown State College, long a favorite of students everywhere.  Pizza will be available for those  interested. Tokens not included.  Next up is the Church Social at the Methodist Church on College Avenue.  Fruit Punch and finger foods are readily available there. Don't spill any on the carpet. Also, continuing the religious portion of the tour will be a Mennonite Service on Atherton Street.  Remember to be totally silent during this portion of the tour!  Next will be a vegetable juice selection at that little place on College Avenue. And in order to spice things up after that, we contemplate a tour of the Nuclear Reactor on campus.  Watch closely as Homer Simpson naps.  Don't let him press the wrong button!  Tired participants can then crawl home to the Hampton Inn where Keeper of the Beer, Clark Haley will curse at you as he hands out cans of beverages from the tub in his room.  Don't wake his neighbors!

* While the objections to the renewal of licenses is real, the rest of this post is totally made up.  Teddy Quinn is hard at work formulating a fun evening for all!  Appropriate t-shirts are being dreamed up already.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

More Silliness Around the World

With the political and social upheaval in the Arab world boiling over with the riots in Egypt, one would expect the youth of the nation to be preoccupied with their immediate and long-term future.  When social networking fueled the uprising, authorities effectively shut down the internet in one fell swoop.

Once the dust cleared and internet access was restored, one would expect a rush for information of, let's say, importance.  Nothing could be further from the truth, as multiple blog hits to this post demonstrated.  Apparently you find your way to our little site when you Google "naked demonstrations"!  Several days without photos of naked women on bikes is too much for Egyptian youth to take.  Welcome, Egyptian readers!

British authorities are never going to be out-done in the silliness category, as evidenced by this warning to homeowners.  A world where burglars are safe, is a world where burglars are numerous, one would think.

And, you would think you didn't have to pass a law preventing the use of Welfare Cards at Strip Clubs.  But you would be wrong, at least in Colorado.  Do the cards actually stay put in the garters?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

There's Those Orange Spikes Again!

The Nittany Lion squads split up into three parts and traveled all over the country two weeks prior to the Big Ten Championships.  Some decided that State College didn't have enough snow, so they headed to the Tyson Invitational in Arkansas!  Others wanted rain instead of snow and split for Washington and the Husky Classic.  Still others longed to get away from the hustle and bustle that is PSU, so they headed to Akron, Ohio and the Akron Invitational!

Caitlin Lane apparently saw PSU Track Alum Mark Hawkins' beautiful spikes and garnered her own set in order to achieve a PR in the 3000 M at the Husky Classic.*  Her 9:18.74 time puts her in the upper echelon of Lady Lions all-time.

The Men's Distance Medley Relay squad placed second at the same meet with a time of 9:35.68, second place all-time in PSU Indoor history. Owen Dawson, Aaron Nodolsky, Lionel Williams and Ryan Foster had a wonderful tune-up for the Big Tens in 2 weeks.

And the Big Men again nabbed first and second place with excellent throws in Akron Ohio.  Blake Eaton edged Joe Kovacs, 62' 10.5" to 62' 1.25".  Both also placed well in the discus, an event not commonly  seen indoors.

Sam Borchers emerged from the early heats in the mile with a season best of 4:03.91, a race that saw 4 PSU runners under 4:10.  (Nick Scarpello, 4:09.62; Tyler Corkedale, 4:09.23; and Owen Dawson 4:07.47)

* Liberties may have been taken with the reported timing of the spikes purchase for dramatic effect.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Record Some of Us Can Relate To

Kelly Gneiting is already a marathon finisher. The multi-year American Sumo Champion's 11 hour and change effort in 2008 was not recognized for a record for the heaviest marathon finisher because it wasn't videotaped properly.  So now he is entering the Los Angeles Marathon in March to become the Official Heaviest Marathoner ever.  Good luck, Kelly.  I think this effort, no matter the time, is quite remarkable.  For perspective, try to run 26 miles carrying just half the difference between your weight and 417 pounds!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What Will 184.2 Miles/Week Get You?

Stefaan Engels finished his record run of a marathon a day for a whole year last week.  The Belgium native lost 33 lb. during the ordeal, despite eating whatever he wanted every day.  I have opted to not run a marathon a day, but will adhere to his strict diet of whatever I want for a whole year.  Wish me luck!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Some Love For the Throwers

The Sykes-Sabock Challenge had an exciting finish in the Men's Shot Put this past weekend.  The first and third finishes for PSU's Blake Eaton and Joe Kovacs put Penn State high among the Big Ten performances so far this year.  Their events can play a big part of the fight for a Big Ten Title.  They seem up to the challenge.

Blake's final throw in The Ashenfelter Complex gave him the victory and a Personal Best of 62 feet, 1 1/4 inches!  Joe heaved the spherical implement 60 feet 8 3/4 inches.

Field events are rarely featured on this site because I was a skinny distance runner.  My PR in the Shot Put is between 11 and 12 feet, I believe.  That was with the college shot though! Only once was I embraced by the "Big Guys" while on a trip to Syracuse.  Come to think of it, I think I was used as a mascot or something by the brutes.  (Seriously, any of you guys have any stories, photos or videos to spread, just let me know.  We're all about the love.)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

New Items Available in the Group Store!

 Some new items have been added to the Group Store.  Stadium blankets, iPhone and iPad cases and much more...  Check out the entire selection by clicking:


$1 or $2 goes back to our group when you purchase any item.  Quality is good and you get images of Hall of Honor members Coach Groves and Paul Mundy with every item!

A Little Fun From McBain

The Simpson's creators have always been one step in front of the rest of us.  Their creation is certainly more "real" than any reality show that has come along since Homer and his other Springfield friends first graced the small screen in breaks in "The Tracey Ullman Show".

It turns out that if you assemble all the McBain clips seen in The Simpsons episodes over the years in chronological order, you end up with a fine little movie in its own right, with plot-line and just a wee bit of mayhem for "icing" on the cake.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Alumni Singlets AND T-Shirts

A Nike Dri-Fit T-Shirt has been added to the mix by Dennis Pollow, (now designated The Official Team Outfitter of PSU Track Alumni Golf!)  The printing will be identical (I assume with the old-school "S" on the back also).  This will enable us old-timers to rock the classic look without showing too much of our softer side, so to speak!  Costs will be around $35.  If interested let Dennis know at dpollow@gmail.com.  I'm getting one of each.  You never know when a comeback will happen.  Just ask Mark Hawkins!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Year of the Rabbit

Way too many pictures of Larry lately, I know!  But Luke Watson was in this one, so I included it anyway.  Luke's hair and Ryan's "Tasmanian Devil" eyes give this photo a classic look.

This being the Chinese Year of the Rabbit, I thought I would celebrate Luke's rabbiting of the recent Invitational Mile at the Penn State National Indoor Meet.  Coming just two weeks after his Marathon victory in Bermuda, I was amazed to see his splendid 1:58 880 yards at the start of the event.  Watch the video and you'll see his start wasn't quite smooth, but the fast-twitch vs. slow-twitch wars going on in his legs probably created a little confusion for his entire body.

Luke is a PSU grad student, having done his undergrad running at Notre Dame.  Something we never, ever, hold against him!  We rarely even bring it up, really.  His best mile is 3:57.83. Did I mention that was while at Notre Dame?  Not that any of us care, mind you.  I'm just saying.

At least he beat the Wolverine.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Assorted Silliness: PSU Track Alum Golfers Hardest Hit?

The Groundhog's Day festivities in my home town of Dover, PA were just canceled because of the weather.  The all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner will not be rescheduled.  There was no response to questions by the hog himself.  Six more weeks of below-average temperatures will really bum me out!  It will also cut into my golf practice severely.

And if American Courts continue to take into account foreign laws, what will this law mean for PSU Track Alumni Golfers?  If swearing is eliminated too, we're all doomed. 

Update:  Phil did not see his shadow!  A rare treat indeed. I must dig my clubs out of the back of the garage.

PSU is 800 U

The very first person I encountered upon entering the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Complex on Saturday was Joetta Clark-Diggs, the Queen of US Women's 800 M running.  She was kind enough to autograph her new book to both of my daughters, the youngest of which had it read by that evening!  Joetta is a four-time Olympian and looks as though she could make a comeback at any moment!

Next up was another 800 M Champion and Olympian, Don Paige, who designed the indoor track for PSU and has designed many of the best facilities in the nation.  He wasn't that happy when I pointed out to him that in our only race together, I trounced him, until he learned it was a XC race at Belmont Plateau!  (I beat Mark Belger that very same day!)  Pitiful, aren't I.  I actually always enjoyed watching Don's smooth running style.  I thoroughly enjoyed our three-way conversation with his fellow Olympian, Greg Fredericks.  Both Don and Greg never harbored ill will for losing their chance of competing in the 1980 Olympics.  Class acts, both of them!

And here's the Flotrack video of Cas Loxsom's brilliant 800 M at the Meet:
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