Sign Up Now!

Sign up for the various activities of the 16th Annual Penn State Track and Field (and XC) Alumni activities now!

1. Whole package $175
2. Recent graduate rate (2011-2016) $125
3. Friday night reception $35
4. Saturday Awards Dinner $55
5. Those under 18 $10 for (Friday and Saturday)
6. Golf only $100 ($150 for golf and dinner Saturday)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Herding Cats: A Lonely Endeavour

Randy Moore coined my Officer Status when I first asked him to come to our golf event. (He hasn't yet, but I'm ever hopeful!)  He said getting commitments from PSU Track Alums is like trying to herd cats, and he was right.  I've been at it ever since.  Hard to know if you're ever successful, but then again it's hard to know if you fail too.  I've got that going for me.

So anyway, Sign up for the event now, why don't you?  This year's 10th Annual Reunion will be the biggest yet, with the addition of support from the Varsity "S" Club and the Nittany Lion Club. 

"The Club" Has a New Member

And we don't mean "The Hair Club" either!  The Sub-4 Club grew by three on Saturday at the Penn State National Indoor Meet.  I am checking to see if there are any other Tasmanians in that particular club. Fact checking is not one of my strong points!  Why fact check when others will do it for you!  He is, in fact, Tasmania's very first.  Here's his home paper describing the achievement.

I watched the race with Larry Mangan, who wondered whether his indoor 1500 M record was still intact.  I didn't see any of the appropriate electronics at the mark, so I assume it is. Ryan Foster's race was remarkably well paced, which augers well for future improvement.  In another great performance, Luke Watson paced the first 880 yards in 1:58 or so, just two weeks after his marathon victory in Bermuda. Fine range, indeed.  (I'm still trying to figure out if he can golf or not, though.)

Cas Loxsom's 800 was also dazzling, although he just missed Ryan's record from last year. He then teamed up to set the PSU 4 X 400 record in the meet finale. I will soon have video of both the 800 and mile for everyone to view.

The picture was brought to us by Tim Backenstose, who had the pleasure of celebrating the achievement with them that evening.  We must thank his wife Holly Backenstose for getting Tim to the Track just in time to see the race.  The snow on the way up was a bit more than anyone predicted. Seven Mountains became Ten Mountains. Larry and Mark Hawkins even got to see the PSU Hoopsters defeat Wisconsin afterward (for their fourth straight upset in a row of a ranked team at home.)  All in all, a good day in Happy Valley.

Here's Flotrack's coverage of the big race!

Watch more Videos on Flotrack

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Great Performances

PSU Track Alumni Golfers showed up in droves at the Penn State National Indoor Meet this weekend.  They were treated to some fine performances indeed!

Topped off by Ryan Foster's 3:58.49 effort in the mile, several records were set, and several automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Championships were achieved. I'll have some videos and photos soon.

Bob Snyder's son Chris ran a 4:14 mile.  Not his best, but a nice time in the early season. But the best performance of all came on Friday night, as Mark Hawkins stepped on the track for the first time in 30 years (?) to compete in the mile.  His 5:25 effort comes with respect and admiration from all the rest of us alums who realize just how good that really is.  There is more to come, I believe.  We never learn. He went out too hard....  (and I forgot to mention Kevin Fuller rocking the Alumni Singlet as the rabbit in the 800 M!)
Here's Mark's race in its entirety, brought to us by FloTrack!
Watch more Videos on Flotrack

Friday, January 28, 2011

Velveteen Playboys Rock the Millrose Games Tonight!

Paul Souza will become the first performer in thirty years to sing at the Millrose Games after having performed in the actual track event!  For extra credit, guess who the last one was? So be sure to check out the broadcast tonight and see PSU's record holder in the high jump hit the high notes.  I've seen the Velveteen Playboys myself. and recommend it highly.  That's Paul in the middle, with slightly less hair than any of us remember!  (Thanks to Elaine LaFramboise Pino for the links and the heads-up!)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Watch Out for Falling Banners!

I missed the banner drop for the Three NCAA XC Championship Teams from the 40's and 50's, but I'll be there for the banner drop for the "Triple Crown"  this weekend.  That's all 3 Big Ten Titles for the Women last year! (Along with 3 Coach of the Year Honors for Coach Sullivan!)

The Penn State National promises to be an exciting meet with many PSU Track Alumni Golfers in attendance.  I will bring you photos, videos and the best in journalistic standards next week.  (Yeah, right.  Like 4 blurry photos of someone sort of running and an interview with a turn-judge most likely!)  My "spidey-sense" does tell me something very exciting is going to happen this weekend.  And I did have exposure to radioactive materials while doing research in college.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Even Prefontaine Haters Smile at This One

Yesterday, on what would have been Steve Prefontaine's 60th birthday*, I read this great story.  The photo shown was taken just before his death and shows the trophy he helped snag for Oregon during the halftime of "The Civil War" football game between Oregon and Oregon State.  The story is worth the read!


*Elvis would be 76!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Crack Team of Intrepid Journalists Get Ever Closer to the Origin of the Cross Country (and Track) Team Cheer!

There it was, distinct as could be.  "Rusty boots!", emanating from a huddled mass of recent graduates at the start of the Penn State Open Cross Country Meet this past Fall. (They looked resplendent in their Alumni Singlets, may I add!)

I hadn't thought of it in years.  I remember the cryptic abbreviations for it in my initial correspondence from captains John Ziegler and Bruce Baden before I even matriculated.  I recall shouting it after victory in my first away XC Meet as a Freshman in Schenley Park in the mud of Pittsburgh in 1977, even before I turned 18.  And yet I never inquired as to  what it meant and where it came from! It wasn't my place.  Surely, someone would tell me sooner or later, right "And don't call me Shirley!"  They never did.

The cheer was still around the rest of my years there, but was definitely confined to the back seat, only occasionally coming out to tickle the vocal cords of a few of the most hardy among us.

When I heard snippets of it again, I couldn't believe it.  How had it survived, when most of our great 10-milers were gone (The Pine Barrens, The Deer Pens/Observatory, The Game Lands...) not to mention our great mountain runs? "I told you not to mention them"  The recent grads looked at me like I was nuts when I brought "The Cheer" up.  A prescient bunch they are!  But I vowed right then and there to get to the bottom of the whole mess.  Our Laureate passed me off to others...  Our Assistant Laureate knew no more than I...   The Keeper of the Golden Putter finally offered a glimmer of hope recently, and has some insights into the origins of it back in 1968 or so.  I hope to bring you more, but if anyone can contribute, drop me a line in the comments or by email!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Recruiting is an Inexact Science!

The day John Lucas finished 11th in the 1952 Olympic Trials in the 10,000 M was a momentous occasion.  Not making the team,  (with Group idol Horace Ashenfelter III !), made him devote his life to researching and documenting the Modern Olympic Games.  The love affair has continued ever since, leading to his attaining the highest honor given by the IOC, the Olympic Order Gold Medal.

Dr. Lucas has been a honored professor of Kinesiology, winning many Teacher of the Year Awards, as well as the Cross-Country and Track Coach from 1962-1968.  He was replaced by Coach Harry Groves after he decided to pursue his Olympics documentation more completely.  That year, a certain Freshman began his tenure at PSU, recruited by Dr. Lucas.  Coach Groves admits he wouldn't have bothered with the skinny kid from near Reading, with him being "way too slow". He was stuck with him anyway, and the rest is Olympic History....

Dr. Lucas is shown above showing Walt Chadwick, another Historian,  his extensive Olympic Chronicles, the largest in the world outside the Official IOC Archives.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Delaware Mens Track and Cross Country to End After 100 Years

It was announced recently that the 100th year of Delaware Mens Track and Field and Cross-Country would be its last.  I'm not sure whether it was primarily budgetary, Title IX or merely the whim of a bureaucrat, but it stinks all the same.  The list of schools this has happened to is getting quite large.

That is why we must organize and be proactive in our support of the entire Program.  A completely self-funded program has little risk of being scrapped, and the support makes the entire operation more successful anyway.  The happiness and pride one receives for the support is just icing on the cake!


A friend from Podiatry School ran for Delaware after transferring from PSU.  I also did a little biomechanics research with him at U of D while in school, and have a soft spot for Newark.  The team will continue as a Club Team, for what little solace that gives the athletes now.

I can't end the post on a downer like this, so I include this video, which was featured on America's Funniest Videos.  No disrespect to U of D is intended, as I try to bring the mirth as much as possible.


Penn State Track/XC Alumni Singlets

The recent alums sported these in the recent Penn State National Cross Country Race, and looked sharp doing it.

Any of us can get in on the ground floor and purchase one this upcoming Spring.  Dennis Pollow will place a new order for them and is opening up the store for all to enjoy!

If you are like me, and too stupid to somehow come up with a singlet as a keepsake before graduation (and you know who you are!), this will be a suitable replacement.  And legal too!

Contact Dennis at dpollow@gmail.com for information. Costs will be around $35.  I'll be ordering my '81 XL, and so should you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ten Questions: Elaine LaFramboise Pino

1. What song immediately brings back memories of Penn State?
Celebration, and Rapper’s Delight---sad, I know.

2. Who was the biggest team clown during your track years?
Seems like we laughed all the time but no one stands out as THE team clown.

3. What was your best PSU Track or XC performance?
Might not be my best, but definitely the most memorable, was my first Penn Relays. Since I grew up in Maine I had never been to the Relays (unlike all you lucky folk who went in high school). I was standing in the pens waiting for my leg of the race when I looked up into the stands-I’m sure I had a terrified/overwhelmed expression- right in front was Bill Cosby and he gave me an encouraging Let’s go Penn State! Always loved the Penn Relay's atmosphere and every year I hope to go down and watch (haven’t made it yet) Actual best was 2:11.2 for 800m.

4. What is your best Coach Groves memory?
Just that he was always there. When I went with my son to (finally) see the new Indoor facility a few years ago, we ran into Coach, who launched into some great stories which amused Andrew! (Go figure, Coach had stories....) Last Spring I went to a meet while picking kids the up for the semester, things seemed strangely awry without him trackside.

5. What was your favorite haunt/watering hole in State College back in the day.
Embarrassed to say Mr. C’s, complete with disco floor! I’ll redeem myself by saying I also frequented the Phyrst!

6. What was your least favorite workout?
Hickey Hill, Squirrel Hill, B*tch Hill, doesn’t matter what you call it, I hated it!
Another Squirrel Hill Hater!  There sure are a lot of those!

7. What have you done (professionally) since leaving PSU and what are you doing now and where?
I work as an RN in a Newborn Intensive Care Unit in NH.

8. Who from the team do you wish you could get in contact with?
I would love to see Sue Lindner, we always roomed together on trips but lost touch with her shortly after graduating.

9. What exercising do you currently do?
I run 3-4mi/day sometimes more, still feels wrong if I don’t get a run in. Finished (in a poor imitation of running) a ½ Marathon, which confirmed what I already knew-I am not a distance runner. Had/have a goal to run at least one marathon but after that experience not sure I’ll actually do it.
Just remember to start slow and taper off and you'll be fine!

10. What was your best non-running or track related story from a track or XC meet?
After Nationals in Pocatello, Idaho we drove up into the Tetons, Jackson Hole and to the gates of Yellowstone (the entrance was still closed for the winter). It was gorgeous and we had a blast. I would love to get back there someday.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Luke Watson Shows Great Range

Luke Watson had a great weekend in Paradise, (otherwise known as Bermuda) placing first in the Marathon in 2:22:49 and second in the One-Mile!

This even earned him the lead quote on LetsRun.com.  The PSU grad student and volunteer assistant coach ran for Notre Dame, something we never, ever hold against him!

Here's video of the mile finish:


Monday, January 17, 2011

Way Back, Way-Way Back and Soon? Sub-4 Penn Staters

Tim Backenstose brings us this pic from last weekend's festivities at the Ashenfelter Complex.  First is two sub-4 milers surrounding Owen Dawson just after his 4:04.26 effort.  That's Larry Mangan on the left (3:58.4, 5/16/80 and 3:56.9, 7/19/83) and Greg Fredericks on the right (3:59.7, 8/5/78).

Other pics to be unveiled soon.....

Physics Updates: Insanity and Brilliance Co-exist

Everyone is quite aware of Einstein's proclivity to mis-match socks, and his disregard for combing his hair.  His eccentricities were viewed as comical, at least as long as he didn't cause a police stand-off like a colleague of Brian Boyer's at LANL in the western deserts!

Richard Morse is being taken to Las Vegas for a mental health evaluation following his increasingly bizarre behavior of late. (Vegas would be the last place to take someone to better their mental health. I would think!) Considering he started with bizarre tendencies in the early 60's, that's saying a lot. He is redeemed in my eyes by having only 7 cats and being mentored by "The Great One" (Richard Feynman) as a student at Cal Tech.  Here's a photo of his living room, used as sorta evidence of his mental deficiencies.  Although it is quite like any of the dorm rooms I inhabited in North Halls back in the day.  I mean none of this to impugn Dr. Morse.  I wish him well, realizing that brilliance and insanity pal around quite readily!  Thanks to Brian Boyer, we were one day ahead of The Drudge Report in bringing you this news!  All the news that's fit for idiots!  I'm submitting this to the Pulitzer People just in case.


Speaking of Albert Einstein, here's a great article discussing one of his real world contributions, a better refrigerator than was available in his day.

And two more, discussing aspects of Matter and Antimatter.  That's enough for now, we have Indoor Track to think about.....

Only Seven Cross Country Coaches in 99 Years!

I have lifted this entire History of Penn State Cross Country from the All-Sports Museum Archives I hope this constitutes fair use!  I do this in order to emphasize that PSU runners are the most loyal group of athletes in the sport.  Only 7 coaches in our history, and the first one was the ex-football coach and only started the program and gave the reins up after one year!

PennState first fielded a men’s cross-country team in 1912, under coach Pop Golden, who ten years previously was the Nittany Lions’ football coach.  After one season, C.W. Martin took over the coaching reins, and in 1920, John Romig became the school’s first of seven Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) individual champions. Under Coach Nate Cartmell (1922-1932), Bill Cox won consecutive IC4A individual championships, the only Nittany Lion to accomplish this feat, and the team won IC4A championships in 1926, 1927, 1928, and 1930.
Chick Werner was appointed head coach in 1933.  Under his tutelage, PennStateenjoyed great success at the national level. The Nittany Lions finished in the NCAA top 5 nine consecutive times and eleven times overall, shared one national title (1941) and won two others outright (1947, 1950).  PennStatealso won IC4A team championships in 1950 and 1951, Curt Stone and Horace Ashenfelter were NCAA individual runners-up (in 1946 and 1947 respectively), and runners earned 22 All-American honors.
John Lucas succeeded Werner in 1962, and Howie Deardoff earned All-American honors that year.  In 1968, the legendary Harry Groves became head coach.  Since then, the Nittany Lions have won three Central Collegiate team championships, one IC4A championship, and eight NCAA Region II championships, four of them consecutively (1978-1981).  In 1991, PennStatebegan competing in the Big 10, one of the nation’s toughest cross-country conferences.  The Nittany Lions have finished as high as third four times (1992-1994, 2000), but are still seeking their first championship.  They have fared better in the NCCA Championships during that same time period, placing in the top 10 in 1991 and 1994. 
In all, Groves’ runners have earned 23 All-American honors, won seven Central Collegiate individual championships, two IC4A individual championships, and two NCAA Region II individual championships; Dan Mazzocco was Region II’s Cross-Country Champion and Athlete of the Year in 2003.
Groves, a two-time national cross-country coach of the year, retired after the 2005 season.  The U.S. Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association named its Mid-Atlantic Region Cross-Country Coach of the Year Award in his honor, the first time such an honor has been bestowed on a coach.
Beth Alford-Sullivan, women’s cross-country coach since 2000, was named Groves’ successor.  The 2010 team finished 4th at the Big 10 Championships, 4th at the NCAA regionals, and 30th at the NCAA Championships.  Kyle dawson and Vince McNally both earned ASll-Big 10 and All-American honors.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Records Coming in Bunches

Coach Sullivan and our group's Director of Youth Development, Artie Gilkes confer during this weekend's Nittany Lion Challenge.  Many records have already been set this year.  I won't even list them, but you can see the official report here.  I will give a shout out to the sprinters this time though, both on the Men's and Women's sides!  Even this slowpoke recognizes speed when he sees it!

And I've included a great photo of former Lion great Larry Mangan, Coach Groves and one of the newest Nittany Lions, Olivia Mangan.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Champions Reunite

The Banner Unfurling at the Horace Ashenfelter III Complex last week brought back a number of members from the great NCAA Championship teams from 1942, 1947 and 1950.  They include:

 Bob Parsons, ‘51
Robert Freebairn, ‘51
Howard Horne, ‘47
Gerry Karver, ‘48
Al Porto, ‘51
Bill Gordon., ‘51
Bob Rossler, ‘53
They all are cordially invited to the 10th Annual Harry Groves Golf Tourney in May.  

In wide ranging discussions between Coach Groves, Steve Shisler and Greg Fredericks, it was finally learned that Sunday runs were only an attempt by Coach Groves to restrict the team's late night Saturday shenanigans.  It may be the only failure of Coach Groves' career!  It was also learned that there were no Sunday runs in the 40's and 50's!  Coach Chick Werner wouldn't allow them.  Their long runs were on Mondays and consisted of 3 to 5 miles.  I may have to get back into the game, as apparently I run a long run every day!  (Thanks to Steve for the inside info.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hampton Inn is Ready for Us!

The Official Home of PSU Track Alumni Golf stands ready for our invasion of Happy Valley!  The room rate has been set at the unchanged and low, low rate of $94 dollars/night.  Your stay can even begin on Thursday. allowing you to relax and even attend the Friday practice round with Steve Balkey and the other nuts who take the game seriously.  Just click on the logo on the right sidebar to be magically transported to our very own Hampton web page and book a stay at our event Headquarters!

My Wish List

...of those I would love to see at the 10th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament and Reunion:

  1. Horace Ashenfelter III - Olympic Golf Medalist.
  2. Mike Shine - Olympic Silver Medalist.
  3. Mike Sands - noted singer and 3-time Olympian.
  4. redacted
  5. Craig Virgin - NCAA Champion on PSU's XC Course in 1975, 3-time Olympian and friend of the group.
  6. You - every bit as important as the others.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The "Other" Streak Continues

I can't let a week go by without a plate of Kung Pao Chicken.  (I'm not alone, as Mao Tse Tung and George Costanza loved the stuff too!) Note the strategically placed wrist band!

This version from The Nine Dragons at Disney's Epcot (Experimental, Planned Community of Tomorrow) is a good enough version. (*** out of ****)  It has actually gotten hotter and hotter over the years, which is not necessarily to my liking.  There is an optimal spiciness to the dish; more isn't necessarily better.  The Kung Pao Beef Dish at the Yak and Yeti Restaurant at Mt. Everest in Disney's Animal Kingdom has been discontinued!  And I had a hankering for it, for sure.

2011 Looks to be a Wonderful Year

Steve Shisler manned the reporter's pad and pencil, as well as camera at the first PSU Indoor Meet of the year, The Penn State Relays. (Thanks Steve) Banners were unfurled celebrating the NCAA Cross Country Championships won by PSU in the 40's and 1950.  The Ashenfelter Bros. figured prominently in those last two.  I would love to meet any of the three of them.  The golf fees would be on me!

In addition to the record setting performances that occurred (!!!), there is an overall feeling of great things to come from the Men's Team.  I see Big Ten leaders in Sprints, Throws, Jumps (7'1" already!) and Middle/Distance running!  Coach Sullivan and the assistants have patiently assembled a crew of young men with much potential.  Having met a few of them, I can say they are worthy of accolades from the alumni.  I hope to be at the  indoor meet at the end of January.

Bridge Freezes Before Road Surface

It was a harrowing return trip from Orlando, but I'm back at Blog Central!  The worst of the winter storm that stretched from Jacksonville to Virginia was at South of the Border, where we encountered 4 inches of a wintry mix that had the locals freaked out.  We witnessed 10 accidents, some serious, because drivers were unaware the bridges were worse than the rest of the road surface.  We actually could predict which motorists would be spun out at the next bridge!  There was no chance to select additional salt and pepper shakers, back-scratchers or even a bumper sticker or two.  It took 2 hours longer than usual, leaving this over-the-hill hobby-jogger exhausted.  I managed an early morning one mile run to keep "The Streak" alive.  Now I need a nap!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A "Goofy"Lag in Blogging

Sorry about the lack of posts, but I've been in the land of Walt this week, (the patron Saint of Long Lines!)  Barb's Goofy quest continues amidst a difficult area to achieve intertubal bliss.

I'll have photos and details in the days ahead.  I'll also have commentary about the 400 to 800 M runners at the first PSU indoor meet of the season.  Big things lie ahead for PSU Track and Field!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Are Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen Fans of PSU Track?

My earlier posting of the "Neil Young/Bruce Springsteen" (really Jimmy Fallon and somebody else) version of Willow Smith's Whip Your Hair brought us a great response from PSU Track Alumni Golfer Teddy Quinn.

Turns out there is a sizable contingent of "young" PSU Track Alums who are big fans of "The Boss", (not sure about Neil Young?). (I giggle every time my 10 yo daughter says "I love that song!" whenever she recognizes an Eric Clapton tune from 1969 because of Guitar Hero.) Teddy somehow obtained tickets to the show (by hook or crook?) and can be seen in the video screen-grab just above Bruce and Stevie during the "real" musical part of the show.  That's him with the conveniently neon shirt.  Neon appears to be his best color.  It appears the far-reaching tentacles of PSU Track Alumni Golf are spreading, just as our global domination plans were written.  It is only time until our goals are realized, (insert insane deep-voiced laughter here).

For those interested, Teddy Quinn will be attending the Event this year, dragging young, vibrant (golfing) talent with him.  I may just make him the Group's Director of Fun, as fun seems to somehow follow him around (like a stalker at a late-night comedian/talk-show host's Connecticut home!)  Join Teddy and me for a tremendous weekend of Golf and merriment in May!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Will PSU Track Alumni Golfers Help Herald in the End Times?

William Miller will not be attending the Golf Tournament on May 21, 2011, seeing as he was the most notable of the End Times Predictors, along with the Seventh Day Adventist folks, and the fact that he is dead.  That still hasn't stopped more folks from predicting the End Times.  This crew says it will start on our Golf Tournament Day!  All I can say is, what better place to end it all than on the golf course in State College!

I knew my game was quite lame, but I'm not going to be blamed for the end of the world, am I?

Mark Your Calendars Now!

The 10th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament and Reunion approaches!  Set aside the dates of May 20 and 21 2011 for the entire festivities.  For those of you wondering, it isn't Memorial Day Weekend, Mother's Day Weekend or even Graduation Weekend.  It is also an off week following the Big Ten Championships and before the NCAA Regionals.  This means you can meet the current coaches and team and possibly even golf with them!

Festivities commence on Friday night,  May 20 at Damon's located next to The Hampton Inn conveniently located near the PSU Track.  The Friday Meet and Greet will allow you to show your face and make fun of everyone else with less hair and more paunch than you. Hall of Honor attendees will be presented with their commemorative wrist bands, while the rest of us will need to attend the Alumni Run on Saturday morning to receive this year's version.  Don't worry, actually running is optional! 

The Golf and non-golf activities are on Saturday May 21, with the triumphant Awards Dinner again at Damon's on Saturday night.

Mark your calendars now, and alert at least one friend to our event to help grow this wonderful way to give back to the PSU Track Program.  Details will be coming in the next months, with a sign up web site and discount accommodations available right from our very own site. It's just as if Christmas vacation continues on....

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Time for Indoor Track!

I'm looking forward to the indoor season, and the exploits of the 800 M runners.  Cas Loxsom and the rest of the gang should have a strong season.  But let's not forget the strong throwers, new 400 M talent and the returning Big Ten Champion Women's Team!

In additional news, my pitiful and insignificant Streak continues, but it has nothing going compared to These Guys.  When you live in a nursing home and use a walker for ambulation, it just might be time to stop marathoning!
 
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