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, May 31, 2011

PSU is 800 U: The Casimir Effect

I'm always striving to find content.  When I find content that fits both categories of PSU Track and Physics, I'm really happy.

The Middle Distance crew of PSU will be well represented at the NCAA Championships next week. Ryan Foster moves on in the 1500 M.  Both Casimir Loxsom and Sam Borchers have garnered spots in the 800 M.  Apparently Coach Gondak is good at more than golf!

And here's a link to a Physics article discussing the Casimir Effect!  Don't ask me, I was lost after the first sentence.

Monday, May 30, 2011

More Alumni News

Paul Souza has ended his 17-year career as Coach at Wheaton College to devote more time to Rock and Roll, (Well, singing anyway!)  Paul led the Thunder from a club team to a perennial power in Division III Track and Field.  The Velveteen Playboys are the big winners in this.

Bridget Franek started her professional season in style in the Rome Diamond League Meet 3000 M Steeplechase. (thanks to Larry Mangan for that piece of news.)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Foursome Number 3

"My" foursome is next.  I actually was responsible for putting together a rather good group.  If it hadn't been for me, we would have challenged for the Cup!

Former roommate Doug Kent brought his "A" game and used the tourney as a tune-up for another tourney on Sunday.  His attempt to ignore the Bird House on Hole 5 was met with skepticism from the other 3 of us, but he managed to cut the corner fantastically.  (Alas, we didn't use the shot.  Cheating isn't in our DNA!)  Coach Groves would have been proud of the effort, however.

Nick K. reminded me often that his game wasn't up to his usual standards, but needless to say, I would never know the difference.  A lot had to do with the saturation of the grounds.  You could actually hear water rushing underground in many places, as if an underground river was just feet below the surface.  It was also good to see that Nick has adjusted well to the shift from Urban to Rural existence.

Jeff Sanden took a break from his world travels to lend his Robo-Driver to our efforts.  There are so many buttons and plugs and switches on it I doubt I could even hold it, let alone swing it!  Our foursome ended up in third place, which isn't bad for a threesome and me.  Jeff also managed to earn the Golden Putter.  I'll deliver Horace personally soon, as Gregg Davis has delivered it to me because he couldn't attend this year's event.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Foursome Number 2: The Pinnacle

The winners of the tourney this year have familiar faces, but results in two new inscribees on the Coach Harry Groves Cup.

Founder and Keeper of the Beer Clark Haley makes another appearance on the Cup, which I won't begrudge him this time because of all the work he put into it.  Clark arranged for a nifty t-shirt for everybody golfing and a hole-in-one package with a Grand Prize of $50,000!  Alas, nobody got close on that shot, taken before the tourney actually started, but during the actual tourney someone was within inches of another prize.

Paul Mundy wins his third Cup, cementing his position deep in The Hall of Honor.  He will soon be departing for a lengthy Harley-Davidson trip  with his daughter and then another lengthier trip to become certified as a true crazy biker.  He promises to take his wrist-band along for some scenic pictures.  (I'll have to remind him!)

Coach John Gondak brought his smile and plenty of golf talent to his second tourney and comes away with PSU Track Alumni Golfer glory!  Let's hope the luck continues as he takes Cas, Ryan and the rest of the middle distance stars to the NCAA Regionals!

And finally, Steve Shisler gets his name on the Cup as well.  There are four of us that have golfed in all ten of the tourneys, and he is the last to make the grade.  Not that I'm rubbing it in or anything.  I'm just saying.  Steve was distracted enough by the victory of his son at the District 6 400 M finals on Thursday that he relaxed and let his inner golf talents emerge.  No amount of relaxation or distraction will allow any golfing talent out of my bereft self!  Way to go Steve.

Smooches for Coach Sullivan

A new camera still can't help me take good pictures!  I think this one didn't turn out well because of the flash from another camera, but what do I know?  It will still be one of my favorites because it shows just how well the continuity of PSU Track has turned out.  There were naysayers and skeptics following Coach Groves' retirement in 2006, and our group has done its best to make them all change their minds.  This photo should add a few converts to our fold.  Both Coach Alford-Sullivan and Coach Groves attended our Reunion evening, and you can see they are both on the same page.  Times are different, with budgetary issues, Title IX, a litigious society, cell phones etc., but the spirit and reverence for the history and future of PSU Track is still alive and well. I would like to think that our group has had a little bit to do with that, and will have even more to do with it in the coming years. 

Coach Alford Sullivan later gave Coach Groves a birthday present.  The photo of the Sprint Medley  Relay quartet on the medal stand at Penn with Coach Groves made him smile quite a bit.  This photo was taken by my daughter with the same camera.  An artist I am not!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Olympic Order in Happy Valley

Very few of the highest honor the Olympics bestow have been given out.  One of them went to former PSU Coach and preeminent Olympic scholar of the 20th Century, Dr. John Lucas.  We were lucky enough to entice Dr. Lucas to our Friday night reception with the help of fellow Olympian Greg Fredericks.  Dr. Lucas then regaled us with a short lecture on the greatest moments in his Olympic experience.  As it turns out, the number one moment for him was the 10,000 M victory of Billy Mills in Tokyo in 1964.  Here's a photo of the beautiful Olympic Order necklace and a color video of Billy Mills' race.  (Billy Mills, Billy Mills, Billy Mills.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Featured Foursome #1

I'll have a little bit to say about each of our 9 foursomes in no particular order, starting with this group of 4 handsome bipeds.

Jess Riden hit the links defending her Women's MVP Award last year, and appreciating the respite from her unending duties for the Track Program.  No one works harder per pound (all one hundred of them?) than Jess.  (Anyone wishing to see her get exasperated need merely ask her about heat sheets or accommodations for the Penn Relays.)

Steve Balkey represents the epitome of PSU Track and Field Alumni Golfers due to his dual credentials in the Hall of Honor.  He qualifies as an All-American and as a two-time inscribee on the Coach Harry Groves Cup!   His golfing skills are surpassed by his Hockey skills and those in turn are surpassed by his running bone fides.  He also found time to participate in the Alumni "Run", throwing down a fine 5:35 mile for third place.  We must all thank him for supplying the beer, sodas and water we all had while deforesting the Elks Club Course.

K. Kelly O'Brien found great use for his ball retriever won at his first tourney appearance.  Extending the length of it to 16 feet, he still didn't reach the ball in its watery grave.  He again attempted to win "The Best Shot" award this year, but was thwarted in his efforts despite an actual backward shot!

John Zieger, aka Ziggy, brought his "A" game to the Alumni "Run" but his "C" game to the golf course.  (Just kidding John, my game lies near the "Q" level, so what do I know?) John trotted to a all-time best mile at the run with his 5:32, tied with Nick K.  I will add that John was the best captain I ever had on the team, despite calling all 18-mile mountain runs 15 miles.

Monday, May 23, 2011

This Isn't Our Day Job

You can't even begin to talk about our group without thanking Founder Clark Haley.  I'm afraid that if Clark hadn't started his little golf tourney among a few friends in 2002, none of the rest of us would have gotten off the couch long enough to start anything. This year, Clark went above and beyond the call of duty (honoring Coach Groves and PSU Track) to arrange for some special surprises for all of us.  He alone arranged for the t-shirts for all the golfers and the Hole-In-One package that almost paid off! (More on that to come.)  He even surprised the rest of the idiots-in-charge with these.  Three cheers aren't nearly enough.

Next on the list of thank-you's has to go to the Law Firm of Smith, Smith and Smith (better known as Keeper of the Cup Harry Smith and sons Holden and Ian).  The amount of heavy lifting and collection of all of the fees falls on Harry and his boys and they handle it with incredible dexterity. He handles about 30 other details of the entire event.  I can't thank him enough. 

There are many others who contribute both big and small, and I'll get to them eventually.  Thanks must also go to everyone who comes to the weekend.  Big things lie ahead for PSU Track, and you are one of the biggest reasons for it.

Another Huge Success

Sorry for the delay of updating the site, but I was busy at the 10th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament and Reunion.  The Friday night reception was tremendous, as all 3 past and present PSU Head Men's Track and Field coaches were in attendance.  More on all of that is to come.  The current Assistant Coaches also attended, with 5 of them golfing on Saturday, and another getting their name engraved on the Coach Harry Groves Memorial Cup!  All of the goals of the group were met and surpassed.  I promise to get to the specifics of all the shenanigans, with photos, stories and videos, soon.  I even have a lecture from Coach John Lucas, revealing his choice of the greatest Olympic moment in the past 50 years.  I also have an interview with Coach Groves that Clark Haley and I conducted during the Alumni "Run".  Keep posted....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Forty Days and Forty Nights

There has been rain every day in State College for many days in a row.  There is rain in the forecast for every day to come in State College, except for Saturday!  It's something like a miracle, I suppose. Can't wait for the 10th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament.

Those climbing Mount Nittany on Saturday will be in charge of keeping an eye out for Noah's Ark, as it must be landing there on Saturday morning. Hopefully, it will contain a male and female Nittany Lion to replenish Happy Valley.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Doing Things the Right Way

A record of nine Penn State Sports Teams earned recognition from the NCAA recently for academic achievement.  Among the teams were both Men's and Women's Cross Country and Women's Track.  Congrats to the Track and Cross-Country Programs and Coaches (and student-athletes!) on this fine showing.  The nine teams tied with Northwestern among Big Ten Schools, a rather good school to be tied with!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Centipede Only 86 Seconds Behind Meb at Bay-to Breakers

A recruited band of runners sponsored by LinkedIn sparkled to a tenth place finish at the Bay to Breakers Run over the weekend.  (Tenth to 22 place I suppose!)  The 13 runners tethered together by roughly  4 foot lengths snagged the course and world record in the event.  The rules are quite daunting to be officially recognized as a centipede, and they apparently succeeded.  (Aren't they supposed to have "feelers"?)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Forecast Looking Good

After staring at long range forecasts last week that looked somewhat scary, the new 5 day forecasts for Saturday's 10th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf  Tourney are looking brighter.  With only a 10% chance of rain and mostly sunny skies with a high of 78 degrees, we've dealt with worse.  Get your clubs ready for some thrashing.  Friday's practice round may have some rain for the few die-hards.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wrist Band Glory!

Howard Triebold sends his regrets for this year's golf tourney, but makes up for it with this excellent Wrist Band Photo from Munich's famed Hofbrauhaus!  The composition adds to the excellent choice of locale. The depth of field focus was also a good choice.  It will be added to the slide show with pride.

Former Lions In the News

Bridget Franek has started her Rookie season for Nike with a strong performance in the 3000 M Steeple.  Her college exploits came with what many consider modest mileage.  With a gradual ramping up of her weekly totals, I foresee some fireworks ahead.  Thanks to Larry Mangan for alerting me to this article.

Former Lady Lion Shana Cox will be representing Great Britain from now on.  Both her parents were born in Great Britain, making her eligible for the switch .


Friday, May 13, 2011

Limited Edition "PSU is 800 U" T-Shirt From Olympic Designer

For a limited time only, The Group Store will have a PSU is 800 U t-shirt for sale for under $10 (well, one cent under $10 anyway!).

This Limited Edition Shirt is simple, yet elegant and will make a great statement no matter what your track event was/is, and where you happen to wear it.

With a design by 1980 Olympian Greg Fredericks, and a motto I stole from someone I can't remember on the internet, you'll be the envy of two-lappers* everywhere.

Check out all the other items for sale on the site and show your support of our efforts to solidify the future of the best track program in the country.

And answering a recent question from an anonymous source, yes, the store is real and quite legal.  I'm all about the letter and intent of the law.  Douglas Kent Esquire will attest to my good character, especially if I sink a putt or two during the tournament!

*Four-lappers indoors.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Shisler Shindig: Post Tournament Awards Buffet

Although the Shisler's no longer host the post-tournament buffet, we have retained the name in order to thank them for their hospitality for all those years.  The Damon's Buffet of Ribs and Chicken and fixins will occur on Saturday, May 21 at 7:00PM or so, pending the conclusion of all the histrionics at the Elks Club Course.

That is also the time that Founder Clark Haley and Keeper of the Cup Harry Smith distribute the awards, of which there are many.  Clark also tends to make fun of everyone, especially Gary Black, who deserves it! Anyone with thin skin has been forewarned.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Friday Night Raffle

There will be raffles held at the Friday Night Reunion Evening at Damon's featuring a blanket woven with the great photo of the Nittany Lion Shrine I took many year's ago.  It really came out great and will make a nice addition to anyone's home.  It was made by Photoweavers.  When I called to inquire about it I talked with a gentleman who was intrigued by the image and asked when I graduated.  Our discussion evolved until he learned the item was for a raffle of PSU Track Alumni athletes.  He immediately asked if I knew Rick Kleban, someone he had worked with following college.  Small world, isn't it?  Turns out his company makes many of the items for sale at The Lion's Pride downtown.  He says this blanket turned out better than many of those items.  Go check out the prices on those and tell me that free isn't a bargain!  Last time I talked with Coach Groves he told me a story about the Kleban Brothers blowing up his mailbox when they were little kids, something I'd never have the guts to do.

Golf and Judgment Day

A group of religious zealots apparently seems to have discovered a code in the Bible that millions of others have missed over these 20 centuries of The New Testament.  They point to Saturday, May 21 as Judgment Day.  That happens to correspond to the 10th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament, which is certainly a Judgment of sorts.  What a better place to enjoy such an occasion as the lush greenery of the Elks Club surrounded by fellow balding track alums, Coach Groves and Amber the Drink Cart Girl!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

See You At Damon's Grill

The Reunion Evening commences at 7:00PM on Friday night, May 20.  There is a nominal fee involved, but remember this event is an effort not only to reunite ALL PSU Track Alumni and friends of the program, but it is a fund raiser for future PSU Track alumni via the Scholarship Endowments.  By definition, you become an alumni upon first matriculating into PSU, so the current athletes are our brethren already.  In keeping with a strict adherence to definition, the current athletes are invited AT NO CHARGE.  Mingle will us out-of-shape, balding old-timers and roll your eyes as we tell tales of yesteryear.  (Indulge us a little, anyway!)  And remember Coach Groves' admonition to not matriculate with the windows open.  Good advice for all.

Monday, May 9, 2011

PSU is 800 U and Other 800 News

Greg Fredericks brings us this Official Emblem for our "PSU is 800 U" motto. I'll have to alter it a little bit to put it onto some merchandise in the store, but we can certainly appreciate the glory of it on our humble blog.

I was a spectator at the York Suburban Relays (now the Herb Schmidt Relays) over the weekend.  This event is unique in that all field events are a "relay" of two participants, the combined distance or height is what counts.  They also have a Mixed 3200 M Realy (2 boys and 2 girls), which would be really cool thing on the college level also.  I have a feeling PSU could dominate such an event!

Larry Mangan spent the weekend at the only Outdoor Meet of the season, the Jim Thorpe Invitational.  He also helped move his daughter out after her last final.  Do any of you remember when we were still in school on JUNE 8?  Or do any of you remember when we had at least 3 Outdoor Meets at PSU, even when we didn't have a track?  Olivia Mangan competed unattached at the meet while red-shirting.  It must be great to watch your daughter competing on the same track as you once did, (before they invented color, as my daughters would say).  I'll bet the butterflies are more, however! Larry reports that the 800 M races were the highlight of the meet for him.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

There's Still Time!

There is still time to enter the 10th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament.  Changes in the format this year could attract more golfers than ever.  Foursomes are allowed to pick their partners for the first time ever, (except for the Yanomamo clan in 2009.  They aren't noted for their golfing skills.).  Sanctioned cheating (known as "Clintons" to us but "Mulligans" to most golfers) is arranged for the first time ever. Even 12 inch strings will be sold.  I'm not sure of their exact purpose, but its still sanctioned cheating(therefore great in my book) in the minds of golfing purists, (of which 3 remain in the wilds of Scotland).

Get those entries in!  Or at least let us know you'll be coming for the reunion activities.  Mingle with current athletes, old washed-up athletes like me, all the past and present PSU Head Track Coaches, All-Americans, Olympians, current assistant coaches and possibly Amber the drink cart girl.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

John Cleese Explains The Varied International Terror Alert Systems

This is funny stuff, especially in these turbulent times.  I have lifted this from the internet, not even knowing if its really from Mr. Cleese or its original source.  Let's hope Navy Seals are not coming my way.

World Terrorism Alert Levels

by John Cleese

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbor" and "Lose."

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels .

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy.. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia , meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be alright, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is canceled." So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level. 
 Finally, a government employee (Ministry of Silly Walks) who makes sense.

Monday, May 2, 2011

PSU is 800 U : Women's Edition

The PSU Women's  4 X 800 quartet also placed well in the Championship of America Race on Saturday.  Their 8:39.44 effort eclipsed the 1978 school record!  Congrats to Caitlin Lane (2:08.52), Rebekka Simko (2:08.36), Kaylin Fisher (2:12.46) and Maura Ryan (2:10.10). Certainly no slight is ever intended by my omission of such great efforts.  Blog fact-checkers have been reprimanded and admonished.  PSU is certainly 800 U.

Munya Maraire's Good Works

Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golf has afforded me opportunity to meet many interesting people I otherwise would have missed.  A prime example of that is Munya Maraire.  He golfed with us a few years back and did a fair job considering I don't think he had ever handled a golf club before that day.  Coming all the way from Zimbabwe for our event is also something of a record!  Munya has devoted a significant portion of his life bettering his homeland by providing sporting opportunities for athletes from his impoverished nation.  I cannot imagine the obstacles he has hurdled in the years since graduating from PSU where he was a 2 sport star (Track and Field and American Football, as he calls it).

One of his athletes did rather well at Penn Relays and it garnered some press in the Newspaper of Record for his exploits.  Way to go Munya!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Almost a Bicycle!

I missed the Penn Relays 4 X 800 this year as I was scheduled for a Jazz Band Festival.  My daughter played in the youngest group among the entire Festival, and their group held their own quite well.  The all-volunteer and no audition group is quite talented and well trained.

Apparently, I missed one heck of a race this year.  The foursome of Lionel Williams, Sam Borchers, Ryan Foster and Cas Loxsom, came ever so close to getting another PSU Wheel, enabling them to have a bicycle, I suppose.  PSU will have to settle for a unicycle this year.  But momentum is building, recruits are starting to realize that PSU is the place to come, and that PSU Track Alumni (Golfers) have their back. (The golf is always optional!)  The Coaches are systematically creating an atmosphere fostering both high athletic and high academic achievement. As little by little, this momentum builds, the coaches will be able to point to our group as an example of enthusiasm unparalleled in Division I Track and Field.  A tradition worthy of all the hard work each of us contributed to PSU will grow and be envied by all the other programs.

A hat tip to the quartet of Virginia and a "good run" to each of the four Lions.  7:12.90
Lionel Williams (1:50.69), Samuel Borchers (1:47.56), Ryan Foster (1:47.95), Casimir Loxsom (1:46.70)
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