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, January 31, 2012

Fear and Loathing Gives in to Mirth

I don't know about you, but I'm in the need of a little mirth right now.  The Fear and Loathing needs to be replaced with some old-fashioned Bill Murray type Mirth!

So I bring you two great videos of Bill Murray playing guitar and opening Eric Clapton's Guitar Festival.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Photo Caption Contest

Use the comment section to place a caption for Artie Gilkes' photo!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Devotion and Loyalty, Blurred But Unbowed

My wife took her usual 5:00AM run this morning and went onto campus by Beaver Stadium.  At the "Joe Statue" there was a lone figure intently looking at the thousands of items placed there by well-wishers.  She took this quite blurry cell phone picture and moved on without saying a word.  Only she would have ever known that Jay Paterno was there meditating until I posted this item!

Here's what it looked like the previous afternoon, flowers 2-feet deep:

Coming Soon:  Exclusive photos from the Penn State National

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Exxxxxx Celent!

It was an excellent day of Track AND Field today at the Penn State National Meet at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Complex.  There was a good showing of alums and the crowd was as big as I've ever seen.  The quality of the events was spectacular and rather than muck up all the details now, I'll wait til tomorrow and muck them up then!

The Mile went under 4:00 for the sixth straight year and the Final Event (The Joe Paterno 4 x 400) actually made my ears hurt.  We'll get some spectacular photos from The Hawk and his teeny tiny camera as soon as he will be able to upload the more than 1,000 he took, and I'm not making that up!  The photos will include many orange spikes and more than a few Alumni Singlets!  The singlets have led to a plethora of comebacks among my 1970 and 1980 compatriots.  The largest and most active track alumni group in the world, may just become the fastest too!

Friday, January 27, 2012

It's Penn State National Time!

The hard-core members of the PSU Track and Field Alumni Golfers will be in attendance at the event starting tonight.  Some will even be running in the event!  Stop by and introduce yourself to members of the soon-to-be largest and most active Track Alumni groups in the entire world.

-Nigel Tufnel

Update:  As I prepare myself for the drive to Happy Valley, I observe that Mark "The Hawk" Hawkins did indeed soar to a 5:13.41 time in the Nittany Valley Track Club Open Mile to open the event!  Congrats!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Used to Love Indoor Meets at Cornell

But not nearly as much as this guy!

That time is 4:50 or really 4:50.96, and that guy crossing the line is Nolan Shaheed who happens to be 62 years old!  I'm making him an honorary Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golfer.  Just because I can.

The Hawk Set to Soar (Not Sore!)

Mark "The Hawk" Hawkins is set to toe the line at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Complex early Friday evening in his quest to better his "over 50" personal best of 5:25 in the mile.  A new pair of orange spikes and his Alumni Singlet will compliment his improved condition and make for a great race.  I personally won't arrive in time for his race (Work is a four-letter word ending in "K"!), but I encourage anyone out there to cheer him on.  If only John (JB) Barber could be there to call out the splits!

As an intellectual exercise, can anyone identify the type of hawk pictured?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Surreal Timing

Mark Horton, our preeminent NYC coorespondent, helped organize the recent White Out held at the Marquee Night Club in Manhattan to benefit those affected by child abuse.  He is to be commended for seeing a horrible situation and doing something about it. I can't bestow enough praise on him for the things he has done.  I was not able to make it there on Saturday, but a good crowd did. Mark will be teeing up the little white ball with us this year, I think.

This happened at the very time that Joe Paterno's family released the news that he was in "serious" condition at Mt. Nittany Hospital in State College.  The rumors and "pranks" came to a crescendo when CBS News erroneously reported that he had passed away Saturday.  Mark was at the event and described it as surreal to be surrounded by Penn Staters and those who just admired Penn State's commitment to Success with Honor at the same time that its architect was on his deathbed.  Mark will be getting back to us when figures are in as to how the event did nationwide.  He can rest assured that the rest of us alums share his desire to make victims of abuse whole again.

Blog Fact-Checkers Sacked! Openings for Interviews?

In my haste to get the post up yesterday I failed to get the facts straight (once again!).  Those responsible for checking and double-checking the facts, pictured above,  have been sacked in response to the error.  It's tough finding good help nowadays! I tried to find something meaningful about every single person on the photo and only missed by 2 or 3; Not bad for a one-time hermit!

I'll let our Chief Laundry and Morale Officer set things straight once again:

 Dave – the ‘80 team scored lower than the ’79 team which scored lower than the ’78 team (which placed 4th in the NC2A meet – as Harry always referred to it).  The ’79 and ’80 teams both finished 3rd.  I think that ’80 team was the best (out of PSU teams that didn’t finish first – Horace Ashenfelter and crew didn’t have to run against Rono and Nyambui) because we had such depth – in the ’80 District II meet, we had three guys under 30:00 for 10K (repeated that at the NC2A meet a week later) and Dwight Stephens ran 30:01.  The ’79 squad was good, but not as good as the group that came a year later (in my opinion).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Random Thoughts About the 1978 Cross Country Team While Awaiting the Penn State National

1. Coach Groves has been quoted as saying the 1979 team was his finest, but the 1978 team scored fewer points at the NCAA Championships. (* Obvious errors in this statement have been corrected in This Post.)

2.  Manager John Barber had been a runner on the team the two prior years, but became a great manager starting in 1978.  I can still hear him calling out the splits in our 400 repeats in his distinctive voice.  John has been coaching and mentoring young athletes ever since.

3. Ray Krombel was one of my favorite teammates, even though we did not have many interactions.  He was the PA State High School 2-mile Champion the year before my lowly efforts.  I still remember a coach telling me not to celebrate "like that guy last year!"  I smiled when I showed up for practice on the first day in 1977 and saw he was a teammate of mine.

4.  Ted Lyon was also a delightful character.  I even think he ended up rooming with Ray one year off campus.  It was a thrill when I got to golf with him 2 years ago at the tourney.  He is intelligent, funny and as good a golfer as I.

5.  Mark Hawkins somehow survived being hospitalized at Centre Community Hospital and having my future mother-in-law as his nurse.  That's how I know he's tough enough to challenge the 5:00 barrier after age 50 one of these days!

6.  Larry Mangan has been a big help with this web site and is slated to be even more important in the future.  I can't tell you how pleased I am to be able to call him a friend all these 30+ years.  (And he has very flat feet which dumbfound me how he is so fast.)

7. My former roommate Doug Kent (or Dudley Doo-Right as my mother knew him) was the tallest member of the team.  He's a heck of a golfer, smarter than every one on that team, and taught me many things I would not have listened to from anyone else.  He also took me to my first Catholic Mass, which I must thank him for someday. (or did I just do that?)

8.  Tom Rapp was Larry's roommate that first year.  As Larry once put it, when he moved into his dorm room he went from the fastest miler in Pennsylvania to the second fastest miler in his dorm room!  You cannot find a more decent man than Tom.  I remember a great early morning run on Easter morning where we started at 4:00 am and finished for a Church service at dawn.

9. Kelley O'Brien  was someone I always looked up to.  He was as hard a worker as I've ever seen.  I would have been perpetually injured if I tried to keep up with his mileage!  And I'm happy I always wore more clothes than did he!

10. Glenn Chumley had the most unique running gait of anyone on the team.  I once saw him waaaay far ahead of me on the Schuylkill River years after graduation.  I ran as fast as I could to catch him, and sure enough, there he was.  I told him I knew it was him just by his gait.  A streaker was photographed in the snow one time by the Daily Collegian from behind on College Avenue.  Every single member of our team knew it was him.  Coach would have killed him, but only his back-side (and gait) were evident.

11. Rich Prann was a quiet sort, but very intelligent.  He's also another one of those who beat me at the marathon distance at Penn Relays.

12.  Mike Wyatt was also one of my favorite teammates.  I remember him cringing as the team sang Earth, Wind and Fire Songs on a road-trip at William and Mary.  A singing choir we were not!  He was also the only teammate who ever stopped and came back to me on the numerous times I sprained my ankles.  I still have the spikes he gave me his Senior Year.  I only ever got one wet during all those Steeplechases.

13. I also had few interactions with Eric Christianson.  I remember him as smarter than I and harder working, though.  I'd love to find out more about him.

14.  Tim Backenstose is responsible for me having this photo to reminisce about.  He was someone to look up to, as apparently he has better organizational skills than me at the very least.  His victory at the Penn Relays Marathon is a really great memory.

15.  Bruce Baden was a very good runner and a good role model ..  His running talents were earned through hard work.  And, oh so many extra miles....  He was responsible for all 15 milers being 17 miles at the minimum, I think.

16. Captain John Ziegler personified hard work also.  He is one of the finest examples of Coach Groves turning a good runner into a great runner.  I also remember the time John missed the bus to Pittsburgh.  I remember him hitch-hiking all the way to arrive just in time for the 10K.  I'll have to ask him what Coach told him.

17.  Campbell Lovett, with his beard and large frame, seemed like a friendly bear when I first met him.  He was one of a group of guys who I thought of as mature at the time.  I'll never forget the day he returned to Rec Hall covered in mud after a 10-miler in the rain.  The "Mud Men" are indelibly etched in my memory.

18.  Bob Snyder was hurt when I began my career as a Freshman.  I kept hearing about him, but figured I was beating him in those first races straight-up.  That didn't last long, however.  I soon discovered that I wasn't faster than an All-American!  His "That's McConnells BURGH, you big dummy." retort whenever someone said McConnellsville is also etched into my DNA.

19. Alan Scharsu was probably the purest runner of all on that team.  I swear he was all lungs, heart and legs.  A virtual running machine.  Note on the photo, though, that at the time I was still smaller than he!

20  Don Ziter has always been one of my best friends.  Despite being in a Fraternity (p*ssing Coach off to no end!) Don can rest assured that I will be there whenever and wherever he needs me. The 3:00 am episodes of Rat Patrol at his Frat on (Wednesday?) nights were a highlight of my undergrad years.
21. Jim Close was on the team, but really a half-miler.  I remember the time he hitch-hiked to the finish of the Bypass Loop Time Trial and made the mistake of getting out of the car within site of Coach Groves.  It was several days before Coach let him back on the team.

22.  Brian Boyer IS PSU Cross Country.  No one was there for as many teams as Brian.  He was actually a better runner in the years following his undergrad years than he ever was while really on the team.

23.  Brad Althouse also beat me at the Penn Relays Marathon.  It seems those guys should create a club or something!

24.  Jim Clelland never said a word the first two years I knew him.  Actually he did, but you really had to listen closely, or you missed it all.  He also once fell out of the van on the way to Beaver Stadium.  The door actually fell off!

25. Al and Jeff Wolfe were twins from the Kane, the coldest region of PA.  It's actually true that I was running a morning run on the golf course one day when both of them flew past me.  I yelled to them and told them to talk to Coach to see about getting on the team.  I'll bet they don't even remember that!  I don't know which one it was on a cold winter run one day, but his nose turned ashen gray.  He laughed and said that always happened, ever since he got frostbite as a kid.  I have always remembered to never visit Kane in the winter.

26. Dave Spears is another great golfer.  I know Tim and the other Yanomamos will get him back on the links one of these years.  Heaven knows we need his swing!

27.  Mark Dunmire joined me on the team as Freshman.  We both walked on as top finishers at the PA State meet just several months before.  I have stated before that he won the Mile that year, but others say he was second.  Only Mark Haywood would know the answer to that one and he somehow wasn't there for this photo!

28.  Jeff Sanden is also one of my best friends.  A great golfer, and probably p*ssed as Heck that I never have given him The Golden Putter yet!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bringing Back the Mirth: More Chinese New Year Goodness! Flying Dragons

This is for my incredible daughter.  (They both are, but only 1 is Chinese!)  Take a few moments and delight in watching some great scenery with some calming music.  I think all Penn Staters need a little of that right now.

Chinese Scenes from BASE-Book - Matt Gerdes on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

RIP Coach Paterno

Joe Paterno was a smart enough man that he realized several months into his stint as Athletic Director in 1981, that he knew to get out as soon as possible.  I was one of the few beneficiaries of the deal, as I received two copies of my Athletic Letter in 1981 because of it.  I kept this one, as seeing the signatures of Coach Paterno and Coach Groves on the same piece of paper (or is it lamb-skin?) only happened a few times in the History of the Earth.  Apparently, JoePa got on Coach Groves' naughty list in  Coach Groves' very first year.  The story, as told to me by Coach Groves himself, is that Paterno "borrowed" a film projector from the newbie Track Coach and never bothered to return it. So much for that!

My interactions with Coach Paterno over the years have always been good.  I've run into him many, many times, with never a bad moment happening.  He used to walk to work every day past North Halls and I often saw him during my morning runs.  Yes Coach, I swear I ran them, at least the first 3 years!  I also ran into him on the golf course and the park next to his home several times when I stayed in State College over the summer before my Senior year to "train like an animal".  (Unfortunately, the animal turned out to be a two-toed tree sloth, but that's a story for another day.)

I also saw him at various chariity events over the years.  but the very best and most memorable time was at the intersection next to the Old Creamery following a football game in the 90's.  After the victory, the crowd pours out from the stadium and trudges toward campus, with many, many people heading straight to the Creamery.  On this day, I had just arrived at the intersection when a pick-up truck driven by an obscure offensive lineman coach, pulled up and dropped off its hitchhiker from the truck bed.  Out jumps JoePa, who then sauntered toward home to get ready for dinner.  Almost no one other than me saw him walk off, just minutes after the game.  I couldn't believe it.


Bring Back the Mile! 5, 280 Feet of Glory

I'm old enough to remember the time during the reign of Jimmy Carter when the United States mandated the conversion to the Metric System. The due date came, and then....    NOTHING.  Except for the regrettable decision to start the 1,600 M and 3,200 M runs in high school competition.  The only good side effect of that is that I'm still listed on the PA District 3 record books for the 2-mile run. It was the next to last of them run, I believe.  (Although PA HS Track and Field Historians Jeff Sanden and Mark Haywood may correct me on that one!)

Virtually none of the susequent winners of the event even knew that 1,600 M is about 2 seconds short of the mile.  The 3,200 M is more than 4 seconds short of the 2-mile.  This shows how well America has adjusted to the Metric System following the Peanut Farmer's decision to go All-In with European standards.  (I'm actually sitting here eating peanuts from Plains, GA I bought  on my way back from Florida recently!)

There is something magical about the Mile Run.  We all know that. We have all said that for years.  Now is the time to bring back the Mile (and 2-mile!).  An effort is underway nationwide to make that happen.  Let's jump on the band-wagon and make it happen.

*Thanks to the Chief Obfuscation Officer and Chief Laundry and Morale Officer for the above information.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bring Back Brian! You Can (and Should) Help

Mike Pfaff's debut as Brian, the man on a leash, on the sitcom Two Broke Girls garnered rave reviews from critics, and not just his roommmate Artie Gilkes!

  It featured one of the best visual gags the (sic) has ever done, where the ever optimistic Caroline decided to meet the neighbours. Armed with cupcakes, she knocks on the door while Max tries desperately to pull her back into the safety of their apartment and is greeted with a man on a leash. The best part about it was the anonymous someone tugging at the leash from within the apartment. It’s a weird, wacked out thing, something that you’d hear in those “my cousin’s sister’s friend’s cousin had a friend who said…” stories about New York’s underbelly, and it worked brilliantly.
Now it's our turn to help bring Brian back, to find out more about him!  Take the time to put your word in to the powers-that-be at CBS that the character deserves more screen time.  Here's how you can help: Mike writes...

I'm not sure yet when Brian will be back... it's up to the writer's actually. To be honest, you can help. CBS has a feedback link:


and you can select "2 Broke Girls" from the drop down. If they get enough positive feedback on "the guy on the leash," chances of me coming back are increased. Sitcom is the biggest forum for listening, responding and writing based on live studio audience and on line feedback... if you can get it out there to as many people as you can that would be great!
Coach Groves would probably say  (I'm paraphrasing here!) "Close the damn window, visit the web site and bring Brian back!"

Here's more of Mike's recent acting.  He played Oliver Wendell Holmes in the Civil War mini-series Fields of Valor.  I never knew that one of America's favorite jurists was shot 4 separate times during the Civil War and yet lived to preside over the Supreme Court until the ripe age of 93. (* he retired from the Supreme court at age 90.)

You'll see Mike several times in this preview. When I have viewed the entire thing I'll be able to bring you his choicest scenes. And yours truly will be making his acting debut in Steve Black's "The Gravediggers" web-series. Don't fall off the edge of your seat just yet!

Only 119 Days Until the 11th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament

Are You Ready?

This should get us a few more entries!  The few, the proud...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year!

This is the Year of the Dragon, my Chinese daughter's birth sign.  So to celebrate I will, of course, have a splendid plate of Kung Pao Chicken (or Gung Bao Chicken)this weekend! And so can you, with this great, easy recipe of the most wonderful entree on Earth*

*Szechuan peppercorns may be somewhat difficult to find, but readily available at many Asian stores.

Gung Bao Chicken Recipe


| metric conversion
  • 1/3 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 1 pound (or a little more) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or unroasted peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns
  • 2 dried red chilies, roughly chopped or crushed
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 1-inch knob ginger root, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped


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1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the peanuts and gently toast the peanuts, shaking the pan occasionally, until they’re a beautiful golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the peanuts to a plate to cool.
2. Meanwhile, place the chicken, cornstarch, and half the soy sauce in a large bowl and gently toss until all of the chicken is well coated. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.
3. Heat a wok over medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, remove the wok from the heat and throw in the Szechuan peppercorns and dried red chilies. Stir continuously 20 to 30 seconds, until the chilies start to turn light brown in color.
4. Place the wok over medium-high heat then add the chicken. Fry 2 to 3 minutes, until it just starts to turn golden. Then add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and peanuts. Stir-fry constantly until the chicken is cooked through and tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the remaining soy sauce over the chicken, toss well, and serve immediately.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Separated at Birth? Inspired, Original and Oblique Political Commentary (and Silliness)

Can you name this possible Doppelganger for Dwight Shrute? And does he know anything at all about beet farming? (and does anyone know how to add the umlaut to Doppelganger?)

Banners! For Me?

Not really, I suppose.  But when the banners are unfurled at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Complex on Saturday, January 28 for all the top 4 finishes at the NCAA Championships since the 20's (that aren't already there!), 3 of them will represent teams I was on.  Despite the obvious sin this entails, I'm very, very proud of that.  

What's special about those teams is the fact that they were so large.  Coach Groves rarely said "no" to anyone who wanted to run with the Lions and was willing to do the work it entailed.  All of us are better for it.  We got to run with the Big Dogs, and the Big Dogs were exposed to hard-working, talented, intelligent, funny and special people.  And Coach got the opportunity to collect so many more stories than he would have otherwise!  I hope to interview Coach again next weekend and I'll ask him about that.

So this is a big hat-tip to every single contributor to those glorious '78, '79 and '80 (4th, 3rd and 3rd!)  Cross Country teams.  Every single one.

Anyone among my vast "tens of readers" with the team photos from those years could help me out and forward them to dfbaskwill@cs.com  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Training Tips From a Mediocre Runner!

Actually, due to physical limitations,  I think I got closer to my ultimate potential as a runner than many of the people that were ahead of me in college.  I never would have come close without a fateful decision I made when a Junior in High School.  As my basketball career fizzled, I decided to concentrate on running, which I had only started to "get in shape" for basketball.  I made the decision to run Doubles, which I consider the most important and rewarding decision any young runner can make. I even experimented with Triples, but found it to be counter-productive.  I was pretty much self-coached, as my track coach was a great motivator but didn't know much about distance running.  I made plenty of mistakes, but the decision of running Doubles overcame all of them.

But now, it may have turned out to be overkill, as geeky scientists are tantalizingly close to cramming a workout into a pill!  Oh well, it's what you get when you take training advice from a mediocre runner!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ten Questions: Hollywood Edition! Mike Pfaff Unleashed!

Two Broke Girls won the Golden Globe for Best New Comedy on the day before Mike Pfaff's debut on the show! And what a debut it was! Rather than rely on the critique of the Hollywood Press, I will rely on his former roommate Artie Gilkes! (I trust him more.)

"Brilliant!  Two Broke Girls needs more Mike Pfaff." - Artie Gilkes.
  also, "I've got a pfever, and the only cure is more Pfaff." - Dave Counts.

I put Mike to the ultimate test of his career with our Ten Questions treatment and he emerged even better than before.

1. What song immediately brings back memories of PSU?

I know this is cliche, but the song that sticks out the most simply is the blue and white song. The biggest piece of inspiration during the home cross country meets would be hearing that song in the distance near the finish line in that last half mile as you're coming up the hill on the golf course.

2. Who was the biggest team clown during your track years?

That's a tough one. I think it would be a split between Dan Ford and Ed Carroll. Dan had this thing where he'd pull his shirt over his head like Beavis doing "The Great Cornholio" from Beavis and Butthead (on a side note I'm so glad they're coming back and so are you Hamer) and he'd have the guys rolling. However Ed decided to give himself a mohawk his freshman year (Coach wasn't too happy with it) and was generally one of those guys who would "go there" to get a rise out of the team, and I have to admit, he did.

3. What was your best PSU Track or XC performance?

For me it would have to be anchoring the DMR at the Big Ten Championships indoors at Purdue University my senior year. I had torn my ankle to shreds right after winning the mile during our opening blue and white indoor meet and was out the whole indoor season. The Big Ten Championships was my second race back off that injury and it was one of those races where you had to dig down and run more off guts than conditioning. At the time it was a PR for me and we placed 5th.

4. How has Coach Groves' tutelage helped you in your current acting career?

Without a doubt, Coach Groves, next to my father, has been the most influential person in my life. So much of who I am and what I've accomplished and hope to accomplish are a result of the values, work ethic, toughness and courage instilled by him. Coach is the hardest, toughest, most inspired person I know, but behind that tough exterior is the most caring, selfless, and ethical man you will ever meet. A piece of his spirit lives in all the athletes who had the privilege to run for him, and they are better men for it. My acting career is completely analogous with my athletic career, so I’m simply doing what he taught me.

( Amen Mike, Amen. PSU never knew what it had with Coach. -Ed..)

5. Do you have any experience with the game of golf?

You mean other than running T to Green? My golf game was limited growing up (as it tends to be for a kid from Hackensack, NJ), but my parents recently retired and moved down to North Carolina on a golf course, so I'm enjoying battling it out with my pop on the course when I visit over the holidays.

(That would make you second man on one of our foursomes! -Ed.)

6. What was your least favorite workout?

You would think it would be Greenwood Furnace, T to Green or 16 x 200m (w/ a jog across the field for recovery), but it actually was that 10 miler we'd do straight out to Toftrees and back at the beginning of the outdoor season. I'd key better off workouts that combined strength, speed and endurance rather than one like that which was more of a 10k/marathoner workout ...my roommate Artie would have a field day with it, that pr*ck.

7. What was your favorite classroom at PSU?

I liked the feel of Schwab Auditorium and the Forum Building, but the Boucke building held a special place in my heart simply because it was where all the student athletes had to go for mandatory study hall my freshman year. It was one of the first of many places we'd go as a team.

8. What was your favorite track road trip while at PSU?

I think that would have to be the Big Ten Cross Country Championships at Ohio State my senior year. It was one of those trips where we played a lot of gags with each other and on coach (lets just say Coach had some issues shifting gears in the van). On the trip back I was somehow able to convince the guys to have this competition on whom could keep pretzel sticks up their nose the longest. We all were hackling a bit too much and Coach blew up and yelled at us with one of his famously unique sayings that I still remember to this day. I won't repeat it verbatim, but lets just say it had something to do with laughing school girls, mirrors, and areas where the sun don't shine.

9. What exercising do you currently do?

I still run, but supplement it with biking, lifting and boxing. I work out with a stunt team so I've had to modify workouts to put on a little more muscle. I am definitely a fitness enthusiast for life... it's pretty hard not to coming out of Penn State’s program.

10. Is Shroedinger's Cat dead or alive?

A paradox such as this one is better left to a brainy physicist like Kevin McGouldrick or a lab nerd like Jonathan Pritchard.
 (Anyone who could help us get in touch with Kevin or Jonathan would be a hero! -Ed.) 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Smarter and Faster (PSU is 800 U)

The Faster is, of course, Robbie Creese, with the eye-opening 1,000 M debut at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Complex this past weekend.  Here's the whole race for those skeptics out there who insist it wasn't legitimate!

The Smarter may be all of us soon!  Maybe I'll finally be able to successfully program my TV remote!

And it is said that Richard Feynman's IQ was tested at 125, which is above average but slightly lower than even your humble Blog Host.  Yet it is also true that Richard tested far beyond anyone ever taking a standard mathematics exam.  His lack of communication skill  kept him from becoming a member of Mensa!  This, of course, means IQ tests are meaningless.  Check out this video of Feynman's true intellect and see if you can follow it. I know I barely get most of it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


In his first ever college race, Freshman Robbie Creese bided his time in the first half of his 1000 M race and then just turned on the gas. He never let up until the tape and then the fun began. His 2:19.53 was obviously better than Clothing Engineer Ryan Foster's School Record. But then it was also the facility record and the event record. As if that wasn't enough, it bettered Alan Webb's 2006 Junior Record. (Robbie won't turn 19 until August!) After additional checking it turns out his effort is the Indoor 1000 M Collegiate Record! This bettered a former 2008 Olympian's previous record, (Christian Smith).  Wow!

There were other signs of a big season upcoming from the Nittany Lions:

  1. Caitlin Lane - School Record 1000 M  - 2:44.24.
  2. Casimir Loxsom - School Record 600 M - 1:16.66.
  3. Jane Swenson's second straight home victory in the shot put - 47' 7".
  4. Will Barr's second straight home victory in the 35 lb weight throw - 60' 11.5" (approximately 60 ' further than I could ever throw it!) And this article on Will comes from Blog Laureate Larry Mangan.  We are trying to come up with a different title for Larry. which should be finalized following the Penn State National.)
  5. Hanif Johnson- Triple Jump of 51' 4.25" (third in the nation!)
  6. Jon Hendershot - another 7' clearance in the high jump.
I apologize for missing so many other worthy efforts!  I can't wait to see the Nits at the Penn State National!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

James Carney Ninth at Olympic Trials in 2:12

James Carney seems happy with his effort at the Trials with a hard-fought steady 2:12:23 effort in Houston.  Tyler McCandless ran 2:19 and Luke Watson 2:21. Still looking for Rebecca Donaghue's time!  Update: Rebecca 17th place with 2:35!

Watch more videos on Flotrack

A Bonus Just For My Readers

We will shortly begin our final push for entries for the 11th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament in conjunction with the First Annual Penn State Track and Field and Cross-Country Program's Alumni Reunion.  Our hope in combining forces is to attract more and more alumni to both events, help honor the current and past teams, coaches and alumni.  Strength of the current and future program has never been more dependent on support from its past members.  Even the strongest of Division I University Teams have never faced the perils that are now all around us.  Teams with over 100 years of tradition, and teams with history at the top of the heap for decades are being eliminated every year.  There are teams in every State surrounding Pennsylvanis that have been eliminated in recent years. Our efforts to unite all PSU Track Alums, including pre-NCAA Women, families and friends may very well strengthen PSU's future teams.  A worthy endevour!  Set the weekend aside for the festivities, May 18-20, 2012.

As a bonus for readers of the No. 1 Track and Field/Physics Blog in the World, I have purchased 1 GB Thumb Drives for the first 40 Paid Golfers in this year's tourney.  We very much need a big turn-out this year, and this will be a big thank you to those willing to step up first.  I won't advertise the offer anywhere else, but feel free to forward the link to this post to anyone not knowing about us. Spreading the word is what we are all about.

I'm debating whether to add anything to the drives before dispensing, possibly my Nittany Lion Shrine Photo etc., but I probably won't.  People fear viruses too much already!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

PSU White Out Against Child Abuse for NYC

Mark Horton helped organize this event.  Another example of the benefit that we achieve being part of the PSU Track Alumni Family is the chance to show the world the true meaning of Success AND Honor.  Strive every day to reach the ideal that that phrase embodies and the world becomes a better and better place.  Good luck to Mark with his efforts!

I have teamed up with a group of alumni that collectively decided to take initiative to do something positive following the recent events involving Penn State. After much deliberation, we came to the conclusion to throw a benefit to raise awareness and funds to support all victims of abuse.
Through the efforts of the group, we have contacted every alumni chapter in the nation to pull together on this and make this a multi-city effort. The involved chapters will be throwing a similar benefit for the same cause on the same night in their city/region. So far the following alumni communities are on board with this effort and more are joining each week: Northern and Central NJ, Philadelphia, Boston, D.C., Nashville, Southern Louisiana, Kansas City, Charlotte NC, Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cincinnati and Cleveland. Details of each event can be found at www.psupride.com with links to purchase tickets and / or donate to the cause.
As for the NYC benefit, we will be supporting two organizations that we felt were the most effective: RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization that has partnered with other alumni for a "Proud to be a Penn Stater" campaign, and Hedge Funds Care: Preventing and Treating Child Abuse, an organization that provides grants and benefits multiple child advocacy centers in NYC, as well as ten other cities nation-wide.
The Benefit:
Date: Saturday, January 21, 2012
Time: 7:30pm - 11:30 pm
Place: Marquee, 289 10th Avenue (between 26th & 27th)
What to Expect: Music by DJ Robertoflay, great silent auction items, full open bar thanks to the generosity of our beer, wine and liquors, and much more!

Please visit the website to learn more about the cause and the event nearest to you.

I hope to see you all there!

Mish Mash of Reminders and Useless Facts (My True Talent, BTW)

1.  Mike Pfaff's debut on "Two Broke Girls" on CBS is on Monday, January 16 at 8:30 PM.  Mike plays the "friendly" next door neighbor on the episode. He's also the No. 11 Rising Star in Hollywood!  Find out what the above picture has to do with Mike by staying in touch with our web site for an upcoming "Ten Questions" featuring him.  Yeah, that's Stiffler's Mom boys...

2.  Why do I have this thing against cell phones?  Having been annoyed perpetually by texters and Loud Talkers and hit from behind by two texting women makes me smile at this little article in the British Press.

3. More on the Women's Running Streak Record Holder.  Here and Here. She's starting a new streak soon.

4.  Buddy Edelin deserves better!

5. Time Cloaking is a reality!  (At least for trillionths of a second anyway.) Thanks to a William and Mary Track Alumni for this one!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Marathon Time! and Time to Help!

Three Penn State Track and Field Alumni (Golfers) will toe the line at the Olympic Trials this weekend in Houston, Texas.  Tyler McCandless and Luke Watson will run on the men's side and Rebecca Donaghue will represent the women.  I wish them all the best of luck.  All 3 are quality role-models for any of the younger set out there.

Aaron Nodolsky was the athlete of the week after winning two events last weekend at the season's opening meet.  Which is remarkable considering what occured last week.  A fire destroyed his family's home and all their belongings.  I hope everyone among us that is able will lend a hand to a family in need.  I have sent in a personal check on behalf of our entire group for a humble amount and truly have his family in my thoughts and prayers.

Please donate directly to:
1st Summit Bank Walmart Plaza
2600 Plank Road
Altoona, PA 16602
Care of the Nadolsky Family

I'm Back

 Don't you just Hate those stickers on cars advertising that someone has actually run a marathon, or even a half-marathon now?  Well, I saw this one at the Disney Running Expo and had to buy it for my wife. That's the Disney Goofy sticker which is becoming more and more popular.  (There are 158 people who have run all 7 of them, known as Perfect Goofy's)

My reward for being so nice was to be immediately plowed into from behind by a texting ex-Disney Cast Member on the way back to our room!  That makes it twice being hit from behind  by someone who found it more important to ask a friend "What U Doing?" than the lives of everyone around her!  Don't Text and Drive! A public service announcement from your humble blog.  My life apparently may depend on it.

Here's this year's version of the Half-Marathon, Marathon and Goofy Challenge medals,which thousands of runners parade around the Parks with after the event.  What a pitiful, shuffling, limping mass of humanity it is!

I'll be back bringing you real posts soon.  I need to recover from the 16 hour drive first.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tropical Diseases

I've spent the whole time in Florida with a wicked cold, barely able to keep "the streak" alive.  Meanwhile, I have received electronic word that Barb is indeed at the 10 mile mark of the Marathon at her usual pace. Three knee braces and compression tights are somehow holding her together!  Meanwhile, I'm contemplating 3 leisurely miles around Coranado Springs with my new GPS unit. Wish us both luck.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Goofy is as Goofy Does

Despite a torn medial meniscus in her "good" knee, my wife Barbara will make a go of it in tomorrow's Disney Marathon after today's Half-Marathon.  She continues her streak of 5 consecutive halfs faster than the last, but vows to just "shuffle" the Marathon distance in the morning sunshine.  She still gets my nomination for Performance of the Year even if she can't finish her third consecutive Goofy Challenge! I don't know many people who are tougher (or maybe just stubborn!).

Friday, January 6, 2012

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Or, 12 X 400m With 60 Seconds Rest

Been asked frequently lately, "Why would anyone Drive to Disney World in this day and age?" The answer is because the options are sometimes worse.

Last time I flew was 2001 at the beginning of the SARS epidemic.  Of course, my destination was China, the incubation point of the whole unknown disease.  The 24 hours of continual flight wasn't enough to turn me off, but the gastroenteritis I obtained on day 2, kinda made me wonder.  By the time we made it to the US Consulate in Canton, we were surrounded by people wearing masks everywhere and handlers who warned us to "not let anyone touch the baby"!  The 20 hours of flight to get home were with 3 or 4 adopted children coughing every 4 seconds.  Not yet knowing about SARS, (only the Chinese authorities knew about it yet), we figured it was only tuberculosis.  So much for flying unless absolutely necessary...

The last time I took the train was actually to Orlando for the same vacation weekend.  Everything went swimmingly until the train ride home.  That's when the Florida /state Hospital decided to allow 3 of their patients with schizophrenia to accompany my family on the same train car.  18 hours of hearing accusations that "someone stole something from me" (they didnt), "someone stole my seat" (they didn't) or "someone wants to kill me" (many did).  They rushed to the exits at every brief stop to have a cigarette or 4!  Somuch for the train...

That leaves the car, of course.  And the need to actually drive the 16 hours it takes to get there.  To cope, I make it into the classic distance runner's workout of 12 X 400m with a 200 jog, or more like 4 X 1 mile with a 60 second rest to "refuel". 

I now have the same sore throat I always got after the workouts at the old ice palace.  The more things change, the more they stay the same!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Indoor Season Begins!

I'll be in Florida for this one, but my minions will be there.  I'm betting there will some surprise great performances again, just like each of the last few years. Indoor track was always enjoyable, and would have been even better with facilities like Penn State currently has.

Track and Field News US Rankings: Lions Are Everywhere!

The February (!) digital edition of Track and Field News is out, and the Nittany Lions are well represented in the season-ending US rankings.

At the top of the heap is Bridget Franek with her second place showing, the highest ranking ever by a Nittany Lady Lion in the Steeplechase.

Next is Casimir Loxsom's #6 appearance in the 800 M.  "PSU is 800U"

Karlee McQuillen makes the list at #10 in the javelin, another Nittany Lion strong point.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Top Honors Go To Caitlin Lane

That's Caitlin Lane following her All-American performance at the recent NCAA Cross-Country Championships.  She follows that up with top honors in the very first-ever PSU Track and Field Alumni Golf Performance of the Year voting.

Caitlin wins for her first place finish at the Big Ten Cross Country Championships, edging out fellow Lady Lion Doreen McCoubrie's (Startare) for her 2:50 Marathon performance at the Philly Marathon right around the same time as Caitlin's XC exploits.

Thanks to all who voted in the largest poll ever among this crowd of moronic juveniles! Remember, performance of the year can mean anything among the human experience, not just athletic exploits, so even old, out-of-shape alums like me can compete for next year's prize. (So get to work being awesome.)  Nominations will be continuously taken on the right sidebar for next year's award. 
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