20th Annual Penn State Track and Field/XC Reunion

And SAVE THE DATE! The Executive Committee meeting of the Officers of the Group convened and chose the dates for the 2022 Reunion and Coach Groves Golf Tournament. This will be the 20th anniversary of the formulation of this whole shebang, and you better SAVE THE DATE!! So set aside May 13th and 14th, 2022. (Each year will alternate between May and August) We will be going all out for this event and you won't want to miss it. Adult beverages, camaraderie with old and new friends, mediocre golf, AND LIVE MUSIC FROM PROFESSIONALS! Stay tuned...

Monday, April 30, 2012

"The Check Is In The Mail"

The true way to know you are dealing with a die-hard Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golfer (and now Reunion Goer!)is to hear them say that distinctive phrase.  The "confirmed" list is just a small fraction of those who are going to be at the hootenanny on May 18 and May 19.  In an effort to give Group Idiot Officers and now Track Program Organizers heart attacks, attendees wait to send in their money in an effort to make sure they receive the 0.000006% interest they are entitled to in their checking accounts.

In reality, the attendance will be great, and from 8 decades worth of PSU Track History.  I'm not making that up.  It has never happened before.  I'm hoping to get reminisces from everybody on video during the reunion and other activities.

Don't miss out.  There are only a few days left to get your RSVP in.  The reality of an actual deadline is new to our event.

Monday Blues

"I don't want to work, I just want to bang on the drum all day..."

The Penn Relays are over and I must return to work again.  So a little mirth is required.  So I bring back "The Bear Story", which is a true account of my encounter just off the Blue Golf Course in the summer of 1980.  Let's pretend this recent photo and video are from my bear.  It's not stretching it a bit either; it looks almost exactly as it did that day in front of Old Main!Even the trees look similar.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

PSU Alums at Penn Relays

There were many Alums competing at the Penn Relays, and also in the stands.  Soon we will outnumber the Jamaicans!

Blake Eaton won the Olympic Development Shot Put, Allen Pettner won the Olympic Development Javelin, Matt Lincoln was fourth for Canada in the USA vs. the World Distance Medlay and Shana Cox was fourth in the USA vs. the World 4 x 400 for Great Britain.

The Fullers were there (they seem to be everywhere!) both in the stands and on the track.  Also spotted on the track was Sam Borchers.  Our Chief Morale Officer (and doing a fine job BTW!) Larry Mangan was hanging out in the Jamaican section for the Saturday events, as was past winner of The Best Shot Kelley O'Brien.  Both sent me reports of the thrilling events via today's internetty thingie.  Thanks.

Here's a few of the alums out on the town in my beloved Philadelphia.  I used to own those streets myself.  I know, kinda hard to believe!

That's Christian Eck, Will Nowicki, Scott Sherwood, Dennis Pollow, Brian Fuller, John Maloney, Ryan Foster, Chris Ferry and Tim Johnson burning the town down.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Almost a Tricycle!!! PSU is 800 U

It's been a marvelous Penn Relays this year even though I couldn't be there live.  Penn State had arguably the best weekend of all teams there, winning two "Wheels" and just missing on the third.  The individual performances in the field and on the track were nearly as good.  There is a lot happening in Happy Valley!  It will be a hootenanny at the Reunion this year.

Here's the Update:

  1. Mens Championship of America Sprint Medley Relay - Returning Champions! Update: 2 in a Row!  3:18.47 Aaron Nadolsky, Brandon Bennett-Green, Brady Gehret (45.6), Casimir Loxsom (1:50.0)
  2. Mens Championship of America 4 x 800 - My favorite event  (Longest standing Event Record at Penn)   A Wheel for the Win!! 

    7:19.76 Owen Dawson (1:50.8), Ryan Brennan (1:50.8), Casimir Loxsom (1:49.3), Robby Creese (1:48.9)
  3. Mens Championship of America 4 x 400 - The Quintessential Track Event. Update: Qualified for today's championship of America!  Second Place 

    3:04.78 Aaron Nadolsky, Matt Gilmore, Brady Gehret (45.0), Bernard Bennett-Green (45.3)
  4. Womens Championship of America Distance Medley Relay - A School Record Coming? Update:  3rd Place and a School Record! 

    11:08.41 Rebekka Simko (3:23.0), Ijeoma Iheoma (52.8), Marta Klebe (2:09.8), Kara Millhouse (4:42.8)
  5. Womens Championship Javelin - PSU is Javelin U. Update: Lauren Kenney First Place

    48.99m (160-8)  And a Watch!  Laura Loht  3rd 46.09m (151-2)
  6. Women's Championship Hammer - Leading Thrower in the Big Ten!  Update:  Melissa Kurzdorfer  for the Win! And a Watch!

    62.53m (205-1)

  7. Mens Champiopnship Shot Put - A strong duo. Update: Joe Kovacs Champion 19.94m (65-5) Logan Caldwell 11th 17.22m (56-6)    
  8. Womens Championship of America Sprint Medley Relay - 8th

    3:55.19 Dynasty McGee, Kirsten Nieuwendam, Ijeoma Iheoma, Marta Klebe (2:11.0) 

"A Very Good First (2) Day(s): Wheels and Watches

An Update on the Penn Relays Quest for hardware:

  1. Mens Championship of America Sprint Medley Relay - Returning Champions! Update: 2 in a Row!  3:18.47 Aaron Nadolsky, Brandon Bennett-Green, Brady Gehret (45.6), Casimir Loxsom (1:50.0)
  2. Mens Championship of America 4 x 800 - My favorite event  (Longest standing Event Record at Penn)
  3. Mens Championship of America 4 x 400 - The Quintessential Track Event. Update: Qualified for today's championship of America!
  4. Womens Championship of America Distance Medley Relay - A School Record Coming? Update:  3rd Place and a School Record! 

    11:08.41 Rebekka Simko (3:23.0), Ijeoma Iheoma (52.8), Marta Klebe (2:09.8), Kara Millhouse (4:42.8)
  5. Womens Championship Javelin - PSU is Javelin U. Update: Lauren Kenney First Place

    48.99m (160-8)  And a Watch!  Laura Loht  3rd 46.09m (151-2)
  6. Women's Championship Hammer - Leading Thrower in the Big Ten!  Update:  Melissa Kurzdorfer  for the Win! And a Watch!

    62.53m (205-1)

  7. Mens Champiopnship Shot Put - A strong duo. Update: Joe Kovacs Champion 19.94m (65-5) Logan Caldwell 11th 17.22m (56-6)    
  8. Womens Championship of America Sprint Medley Relay - 8th 

    3:55.19 Dynasty McGee, Kirsten Nieuwendam, Ijeoma Iheoma, Marta Klebe (2:11.0)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Time Is Running Out: Golf With Us

There is still time to get it together and send in your Invitation to the First Annual Penn State Track and Field Alumni Reunion and even the ultimate activity, The 11th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament!

The Reunion will be a very fine event with activities for everyone from 1 to 99 years old.*  A reception at the Lion's Den downtown will begin the festivities on Friday May 18 at 7:00.  On Saturday Morning, enjoy a grilled stickie and coffee and maybe even take a one-lap stroll at the PSU Track at our Alumni "Run".  Those willing to do more can take off for a campus loop while those not so adventurous can hang around the track listening to tall tales of past glory from alums and maybe even Coach Groves!  special Events and Contests are planned with prizes and frivolity.  These contests have been a tightly held surprise by the Track Office.  Some may then elect to Climb Mt. Nittany, and annual event for the past 4 years, firmly planting PSU Track "on top of the world".  There are also tours of the All-Sports Museum being arranged.  Both the climb of Mt. Nittany and Museum tour will be with current student-athletes, which will give all the alums a view of the good things our group fosters. Their practice occurs right after our Alumni "Run".

The golf tournament, despite being the only way to get your name on the Coach Groves Memorial Cup, is open to everyone, and an event that every skill level from none to Tiger can participate in. The best ball/scramble format makes it the only chance I have ever had to break 100 in the most frustrating game on Earth.  Just look at the 2006 engraving to see my name displayed with all the other real golfers!  I have counted 4 non-golfers already on the Cup, and that's counting my once yearly participation in this event as being a golfer. Anyone on the fence as to whether they will golf or not can contact me and I'll have you as my cart-mate, which will make you the best golfer in your cart!  Even if you only putt, and everyone can putt, you would be a welcome addition to my cart.  Let me know.  I guarantee a good time.  If the golf doesn't do it for you, there is always the drink cart and joke telling.

This year's Award Dinner on Saturday evening will be a great affair, as my hard work for the past 4 year's has finally paid off and we have a special guest speaker other than Clark or Coach Groves!  PSU's Greatest Track Alum Horace Ashenfelter III will thrill the crowd with his appearance.  Actually, I had the idea of inviting him for 4 years, but only the Track Office, Coach Sullivan and Jess Riden could make the dream become reality.  My thanks to them for all their help in arranging the whole weekend and taking some of the heat off of Founder Clark Haley and Keeper of the Cup Harry Smith.

Representatives from 8 decades of PSU Track History, from the 40's to the 10's,  will be in attendance for the first time in history! But the most important member of the whole affair has not responded yet, and that is you.  Don't make me get the Hammer Throwers after you!

"A Very Good First Day"

Here's some updates on the Watch List of PSU entries in the Penn Relays:

  1. Mens Championship of America Sprint Medley Relay - Returning Champions!
  2. Mens Championship of America 4 x 800 - My favorite event  (Longest standing Event Record at Penn)
  3. Mens Championship of America 4 x 400 - The Quintessential Track Event.
  4. Womens Championship of America Distance Medley Relay - A School Record Coming? Update:  3rd Place and a School Record! 
    11:08.41 Rebekka Simko (3:23.0), Ijeoma Iheoma (52.8), Marta Klebe (2:09.8), Kara Millhouse (4:42.8)
  5. Womens Championship Javelin - PSU is Javelin U. Update: Lauren Kenney First Place
    48.99m (160-8)  And a Watch!  Laura Loht  3rd 46.09m (151-2)
  6. Women's Championship Hammer - Leading Thrower in the Big Ten!  Update:  Melissa Kurzdorfer  for the Win! And a Watch!

    62.53m (205-1)
  7. Mens Champiopnship Shot Put - A strong duo.
And in addition there were plenty of PR's on the track at distance night!

  • Womens 3000M SC  -   Emily Giannotti 2nd Place College Division 10:28.82,   Abbie Benson 5th Place College Division 10:35.5 Natalie Bower 2nd in Championship Heat 10:14.27, Lindsey Graybill 7th in Championship Division 10:29.97.
  • Mens 5000M  Kyle Dawson 6th in Championship Division 14:04.36, Vince McNally 8th in Championship Division 14:06.94, Chris Cipro 19th in Championship Division 14:30.43, Matt Fischer 24th in Champuionship Division 14:38.42,  Alums: Dennis Pollow Jr 6th in Olympic Development Division 14.26.68.
  • Mens 10000M  -  Tom Luff 18th in Championship Division 30:36.77 Alums: Tyler McCandless 10th in Olympic Development Division 30:33.64.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hoist a Cold Molson in Honor of the Penn Relays Distance Night

I spent a few Thursday nights watching the distance races at the Penn Relays over the years, sometimes followed with a marvelous Cold Molsons Party late into the evening.  Penn State will be well represented this year in the Penn Relays, including some strong quartets in the Championships of America Races.

  1. Mens Championship of America Sprint Medley Relay - Returning Champions!
  2. Mens Championship of America 4 x 800 - My favorite event  (Longest standing Event Record at Penn)
  3. Mens Championship of America 4 x 400 - The Quintessential Track Event.
  4. Womens Championship of America Distance Medley Relay - A School Record Coming?
  5. Womens Championship Javelin - PSU is Javelin U.
  6. Women's Championship Hammer - Leading Thrower in the Big Ten!
  7. Mens Champiopnship Shot Put - A strong duo.
May you all win Wheels and Watches!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I'm so old that...

  1. I never ran a 1600M or 3200M in a high school race.  Or any since.
  2. Running watches weren't invented when I started. I timed many runs by the clock in our kitchen.
  3. Gore-Tex was not invented when I started running.
  4. Gatorade had one flavor when I started running.
  5. My first cross country running shoes were solid soled "El Lobos", whatever they were.  They hurt and resembled bowling shoes more than running shoes.
  6. Stopwatches had only one button when I started running.
  7. Americans were a major force in distance running when I started.
  8. Every track in York County was cinder except one (which was grass) when I started running.
  9. New Zealand Splits had not come out when I started running.
  10. Ron Hill had run every day for 11 years when I started running,(and every day since!).
  11. National Bohemian beer cans still required pointy openers when I started running.
  12. I ran three marathons before anyone offered me a drink during one.
  13. Some road races were free when I started running.
  14. The last road race I really ran was the first one I would have won money.  I turned it down.
  15. I was once followed by a goat for 3 miles and turned around to take it back, adding 6 miles to my 10 mile run.  Without a second thought.  If only... 
  16. I'm one of only 3 people who have been to every single Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament.  Get your entry in NOW.  They seem serious about the cut-off date and Clark Haley and Harry Smith may not be able to help you when you miss it!!!

Penn Relays Reminds Me of Food

Too bad everything does!

The Penn Relays started in earnest yesterday with the first day of the Decathlon.  Nittany Lion Anya Uzoh got off to a good start in the first three events and was in second place at the time, but I lost track after that...   Now I found it!  He had the best 400M of the day and is in second place after the first day with 3615 points.

There's nothing better than gambling your insides on all the food carts outside Franklin Field during the Carnival.  Which brings me to this great listing of the best hot dogs near Minor League Baseball Parks (and the best hot dogs near Major League Baseball Parks.)  Just for fun!

Although my 2 favorite hot dogs of all time are from Jimmy's in Easton Pa, and The Original (the Dirty O!) in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Coach Harry Groves!

We don't need to get him anything because all he wants is to hang out along the bricks at another Penn Relays, and they start tomorrow! Happy Birthday, Coach.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Old Friends

I don't really mean a friend who is old!  I mean someone who has been a friend for quite a while, which probably means the same thing anyway.  Sorry Greg!

That's Greg Cauller, a friend from waaaaay back in high school, who now coaches Northeastern York cross country and track. I happened to run into him at the Herb Schmidt Relays this past weekend. We had some spirited races back in the day, and I probably never won any of them.  I do wish he had been in the same division as me in high school.  Even if I hadn't beaten him, I would have had a lot of better PR's to talk about.  Our best ever race was a Turkey Trot 10-miler in 1976 where I ran probably my best race ever.  He was also just ahead of me in that one.  I also won a turkey that day!

Greg went on the run for Penn and Millersville but would have made an excellent Nittany Lion, I have no doubt.  He never stopped his career after college, and has been on the top of his age group regionally ever since.  I would love to know his career mileage, but he relates he hasn't kept track like us obsessive types.

Wouldn't it  be nice if you could randomly run into a bunch of  old friends all in one place?

Well, sign up for the 1st Annual Penn State Track and Field Alumni Reunion and the 11th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament right now.

Time is running out.  I think they are serious about the cut-off date, so don't lollygag.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Coach Harry Groves' 67th Penn Relays (with Singlets!)

This is Coach Harry Groves' 67th out of 68 Penn Relays with today's 20K Championships.  The Spiked Shoe Club coached by him won the overall Mens title with director of Youth Development Artie Gilkes and Le faucon d'orange Mark Hawkins performing well.  The Women were represented by Beth Shisler and  Sonja Hinish. (Who both look splendid in the Women's Singlet designed by our crack crew!)

Anyone supplying all the rest of the names is in the running for a prize package unrivaled in  its scope and value!   Update:  Welcome to the group, Patrick Singletary, Matt Petrarca, David Moore and Kelly Duarte!  And thanks to the Anonymous contributor!

Your chance to get your very own Alumni Singlet and possibly a similar dri-fit work-out shirt emblazoned with dear ole State's emblem is coming at the Reunion in June!

Here's more of the event in pictures rather than my lowly prose:


Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Busy Time of Year

We're in the middle of the Outdoor Track season, which is the busiest time of year for results and overall happenings. I'm not able to keep up with my day job always interfering!

I'm  always looking for a little help, and I certainly appreciate all I get from my dozens of readers!  I'm also hoping Pastor Campbell Lovett will say a word or two on my behalf!

Big, big kudos go out to Kara Millhouse for her victory at the Mt. Sac Relays 10000M run on Thursday!  Her 33:31.37 is a PR and another school record.  She unveiled her devastating kick with 800 M to go and beat a former Olympian in the process!  (I'm making her an honorary member of PSU is 800U just for that!)  She received an entry in the Performance of the Year Nominations also.  Don't forget the Nominations on the right sidebar.  They are for absolutely anything at all, not just track or XC performances.  I'm thankful at least someone remembered it was there.

Watch more video of 2012 Mt. SAC Relays on flotrack.org

There were also a trio of good performances in the 1500M at the same meet.  Alum Matt Lincoln has overcome injuries and recovered from surgery to post a great 3:43.88 as a tune-up for today's 800M.  Owen Dawson posted the best PSU related time with a splendid 3:42.54 with Robbie Creese coming in just behind in 3:46.38.

Friday, April 20, 2012

In Praise of Food Service and the Picking of Foursomes

I've never hid my love of "institutional" food.  I loved the Dining Halls back in the day except for the inevitable fried perch we had every day following a late practice when they ran out of the daily entree. The changes that Penn State Dining has undergone since the day of the Chicken Cosmo  (and Here) and the Egg Cutlet have been extraordinary.  The range of selections for every possible dietary restriction and choice is really indredible.  I'll bet there are still the same number of complaints that there used to be, but I'll also bet almost all of them are unwarranted.  And then there is this praise from a student with celiac disease who says Penn State's Food Service changed her life.

And I have received several questions about foursomes for the 11th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament.  Each year, the assignment of foursomes has changed, and this year will apparently be no different.  The final decision has not been made, but it may be a combination of the old method and last year's method.  That is, a combination of selecting the foursomes according to ability to even the field, and allowing people to purchase the opportunity to choose their own foursome.  Possibly my idea of the ability to purchase the opportunity to select your cart-mate and then randomly assigning two carts to each foursome will be utilized.  I feel this would allow people to be comfortable with a friend yet allow for the ability top meet someone new and even the chances of having your name engraved on the Coach Harry Groves Memorial Cup.

But remember, I have only made the suggestion and will not be involved in the final choice.  I'm all about plausible deniability.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's Time to Make the Donuts: Sign Up Now,You Procrastinators

Download the form, fill out the check, send them in and join Coach Groves, Horace Ashenfelter III and the rest of Penn State Track's greatest at this year's Reunion and Golf Tourney.  There are no excuses.  The alarm has sounded.

Einstein's Desk Was Worse Than His Hair

This was Albert Einstein's desk at The Princeton Institute when he died in Princeton on April 18, 1955.  He certainly worked on things right up to that day and there are some pretty hefty math equations on his chalkboard. He lived in Princeton for 20 years, so I'll bet that's 20 years of clutter on his desk.

Here's Blog Muse Rob Whiteside's photo of his home at 112 Mercer Street complete with Wrist Band!

His death occurred 50 years after his 1905 paper on Relativity first appeared in print. There are those who still harbor the belief that his cousin and first wife was a coauthor of that paper.  As Sheldon Cooper would say, "Bazinga."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We All Could Use Another Coach John Lucas

Keeper of the Golden Putter Greg Fredericks has passed on the news that Dr. John Lucas will be leaving State College soon to live with his son in Missouri.  There will be a party in his honor prior to his departure and anyone able should stop by and wish him well.  I have nothing but admiration and respect for what great men like Dr. Lucas have done for Penn State and its Track and Field family. 

What:      John Lucas Farewell Reception
When:     Thursday, April 26, 1PM-3PM
Where:      Brookline
Windsong Dining Room
1930 Cliffside Drive

Greg also included a short biography of Dr. Lucas's accomplishments, some of which I knew, but others I did not.  It is important to note that these represent an incomplete listing!

Dr. John A. Lucas

* Dr Lucas was the third of four brothers; was born December 24, 1927.
* His father, Apostal Llukka, came to America 1909 to join an older brother already in Hudson, Massachusetts.
* His mother Antigone Mihaledes Zhitomi came to America in 1917.
* His parents were of Albanian descent.
* He joined the United States Army in 1946, spending thirteen months as a private, then corporal, in the Army of  Occupation in South Korea, a bitter cold isolation at the former Japanese air and sea base in Yosu, Korea, on the Yellow Sea.
* Upon leaving the Army, he entered the Boston University School of Physical Education for Men with government support provided through the G. I. Bill of Rights and graduated first in his class.
* Participated as “middle leg” on the 1950 Boston University distance medley relay.
* Received his Master's degree
from the University of Southern California, where he was rewarded with an academic scholarship in the School of Physical Education.
* To help finance his degree at USC, he was fortunate to earn $100 for half days of work at the Metro-Goldyn Mayer Motion Picture Studios performing as a stunt man and extra. He played tiny roles in four films: Mario Lanza in “Because You’re Mine”; Burt Lancaster in “Jim Thorpe—All-American”; Robert Taylor in “Quo Vadis”; and with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in “Pat and Mike.”
* Dr Lucas qualified for the 10k USA Olympic trials in 1952, finishing in 33 minutes, 30 seconds; the first three men destined for the Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland were Curtis Stone and Horace Ashenfelter (first and third) from Penn State University, and Fred Wilt, from Indiana University, in second place.
* In August of 1952, he received a teaching position in Natick, Massachusetts. During his six years there, he coached track and field at the Huntington (Boston) Preparatory School for Boys, winning all 77 competitions, including the National Indoor Championships in New York City’s Madison Square Garden in the winter of 1957.
* During this time of teaching and coaching he met Joyce Vaughan who was enrolled at Boston University.
* John and Joyce married in July of 1955 in the old 1696 Congregational Church in Boston’s Copley Square.
* 1958 Dr Lucas decided to seek a doctoral program with an opportunity to coach at the college level and accepted a graduate degree opportunity at the University of Maryland and
served as assistant coach at the University of Maryland from 1958 to 1962.
*1959 the Lucas' traveled to Turkey as an American State Department assignment, for a challenging four-month stint helping the Turkish Olympic team to prepare for the Rome Olympic Games of 1960.
* Son, Mark Langley Lucas was born in the summer of 1960.
* In 1962 he completed his doctoral dissertation, “Baron de Coubertin and the Formative Years of the Modern International Olympic Movement, 1883-1896.”
* 1962 Ernest B. McCoy, athletic director and Dean of the College of Health and Physical Education of Penn State University, invited Dr Lucas for an interview with him, President Eric Walker, and members of the Board of Trustees. After only a few hours, Dean McCoy offered him the position of coaching three sports: cross-country, indoor, and outdoor track and field, which he did
from 1962-1968.
* At the end of the academic year 1968, Dr Lucas requested and received permission to enter the challenging, uncertain world of the non-tenured associate professor.  Dr Lucas taught various courses, exercise classes, history of world physical education, American sport history, and a graduate course on sport philosophy.
In addition, he taught a course open to graduate and undergraduate students, the “History, Philosophy, and Politics of the Modern Olympic Games” for thirty years before retirement. He was invited to continue teaching the Kinesiology 443 course for many more years and beyond his eightieth birthday. He estimates that some 1,700 students have taken the Olympic Games course.
* In 1989 he was awarded  the
Pauline Schmitt Russell Distinguished Research Career Award
* In 1992, IOC president, Juan Antonio Samaranch (1920-), awarded Dr Lucas the title of “Official IOC Lecturer.”
In 1994 he was awarded the College of Health and Human Development "The Evelyn R. Saubel Faculty Award Teacher of the Year”.
* 1996, at the Atlanta Olympic Games, he was invited into the private IOC meeting, where President Samaranch awarded him the honor of “Olympic Order”
gold medal.
* Retired from Penn State in 1996 but continued to teach and was awarded Professor Emeritus of Kinesiology, from The Pennsylvania State University
* John is especially proud of his son Mark who received his doctorate in Higher Education from Rutgers University and moved to the Columbia campus of the University of Missouri as the Director of Student Life. He and his wife, Pamela, have two children, Katherine Gail and Matthew John.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

We All Could Use Another Horace Ashenfelter III

Penn State's Only Steeplechase Olympic Gold Medalist Horace Ashenfelter III will be making a keynote address at the building named after him at the Saturday Dinner celebrating the First Annual Penn State Track and Field Alumni Reunion in conjunction with the 11th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Outing.  Take some time to sign up for the event to hear both Mr. Ashenfelter and Coach Groves speak at the same event.  While you are at it, come golf with us also!

America is in need of some improvement in the Steeple area, and there is some hope of an avenue of training not usually seen.  Indoor Steeplechasing is coming to the Armory in New York!

Progeny Soars to New Heights

Kathryn Haywood won the Pole Vault at the Arctic Blast Track Meet at Northern York last weekend.  I was originally going to make fun of Mark Haywood while doing this post until I realized that his daughter can pole vault higher than I ever could.  I actually was unable to carry a 16 foot pole down the runway back in the day, so that pretty much ruled out any vertical lift!

So you are off the hook Mark.  I'll try again some other time.  Way to go Katy! (Photo from Samuel Getty)

The Rules of Our Golf Tourney

There is still time to take the leap and join us in defoliating The Elks Club Course on May 19!  Sign Up Today

Coach Groves once opined "You must do something about the cheating." after golfing 2 holes with each of our foursomes in 2009.  He was joking, of course, as there is no cheating in our tourney.*  But there are some accommodations for the lesser talents among us.

The tournament is a best-ball scramble, which means that each foursome hits four shots from each position, always getting their choice of the next shot.  This means that even your luckiest shot ever can be a big boon to the squad even if you never hit another good one all day.  And everyone can putt as evidenced by this incredible video of me sinking a 20 footer after Coach Groves showed me the line!

Further making your horrible game productive is the ability to augment your scoring ability AND the coffers of the Track Scholarships by purchasing Mulligans and putting strings.  A Mulligan allows you to take a shot over just like President Clinton, and the string allows you to count a putt that is within a foot of the cup.  This could be just the difference needed to get your name on the Coach Groves Memorial Cup!

*I readily admit to using "cheater" golf balls frequently.  These balls are slightly smaller and have extra dimples to add 5 to 10 yards to my whooping 150 yard drives.  No one seems to care, as the number of my drives counted in 10 years of consecutive appearances is still contained within one hand of a Simpson's character (even Stephen Hawking only has 4!).

Monday, April 16, 2012

How to Save $400 With Applied Physics

Only a brave Physicist would attempt to convince a judge that what a policeman plainly saw was only a figment of his imagination.  That he used a 4 page thesis with cool graphs to bamboozle him was only icing on the cake. But he did save $400!  (another Article here.)  (The actual 4 page paper here.)

Thanks to Elaine LaFramboise Pino for the heads-up on this one.

PSU Track Alumni HS Coaches (with more Progeny!)

Steve Shisler and David Zeiters have taken their Penn State experiences to the next level, coaching the younger set including their own speedsters.  Dave coaches in sunny Florida, while Steve ended up coaching the Little Lions in State College.  That's Dave on the left side with his son Michael, and at various stages of his PSU career and with Coach Groves.  Steve's 4 x 800 will be headed to Penn. The team is on the right, along with a fairly good squad to emulate and Steve's father Earl at Penn Relays!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Some Fine First Day Performances

Rebekka Simko stepped up from her usual distance and impressed with a victory in the 1500 M at the Bison Outdoor Classic at Bucknell on Saturday.  Her 4:20.11 is in the top 10 PSU performances all-time.
Robbie Creese continued his impressive Freshman exploits with  his 1500 M in a facility record 3:43.79.

The Lady Lions took the top 4 positions in the 3000 M Steeplechase with Natalie Bower leading them with a 10:25.46.  In the 10,000 M run, Chris Cipro PR'ed with a fine 29:53.07.

The Throwers continued their fine early season with Joe Kovacs and Will Barr going 1-2 in the Discus with throws of 176' 9" and 174' 8".

Events continue today in Lewisburg, PA.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A PSU Track Alumni Singlet Could Change Your Life

There is a bevy of alumni scattered across the nation sporting their very own Penn State Track and Field Alumni Singlets.  Each and every one queried (4/4!)  has stated to me that the apparel has improved their life.  That's better than 3 out of 4 dentists recommending toothpaste.

The next chance to arrange for your very own Singlet will be at the 1st Annual Penn State Track and Field Alumni Reunion and the 11th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament.  Group Officers will be available all weekend to take orders on your personalized version from size Small to XXX-Large*

We have had testimonials from many who already sport their singlets for any athletic endevour, but K. Kelly O'Brien has given us possible visual proof of  what his has done for him. Here's a before photo showing him with his Interboro High School Singlet competing in the long jump at the Delaware County Senior Games in 2010, possibly not his best event!

One can only imagine that his form and distance can only improve with his size extra-medium Penn State Track Alumni Singlet!  The after photo will be taken at the Alumni "Run" on Saturday during the Alumni Reunion Weekend. Various competitions will be available to test out everyone's Singlets, although these are a closely held secret of the PSU Coaching Staff.

*  Anyone needing a XXXX-Large will seriously be accommodated.  We aim to please.

Friday, April 13, 2012

PSU is Javelin U

Penn State has had a strong tradition in the Women's Javelin and this early season has seen some good performances to keep the tradition alive. Last week at the LSU Invitational, Penn State again dominated the event:

1 Laura Loht                SO Penn State              49.91mM    163-09 
      44.91m  49.91m  49.48m  49.06m  46.08m  49.53m
  2 Lauren Kenney             FR Penn State              47.47m     155-09 
      FOUL  47.33m  45.39m  43.94m  46.71m  47.47m

8 Megan Boyer               SO Penn State              40.59m     133-02 
      40.59m  38.86m  FOUL  34.70m  39.57m  38.36m

10 Melanie Leszcynski        FR Penn State              35.49m     116-05 
      35.49m  34.40m  34.35m            
 11 Olivia Mangan             FR Penn State              33.81m     110-11 
      31.59m  31.45m  33.81m 
Speaking of the javelin, here's a neat article about  Dana Zatopkova, Emil Zatopek's widow.  She was once the World Record Holder in the Javelin and the Olympic Gold Medalist in the event.  She made 4 straight Olympic teams starting in 1948.  She still has her wooden javelin used to win the Gold, now the handle of a broom.

And for you javelin aficionados out there, I have a question for you.  What is the optimal release angle for the javelin?  While I'm at it, what is the optimal release angle for the shot put, discuss and hammer too?   And would your answer be the same as what a Physicist would answer?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Obstacles to Great Track Performances

There are many obstacles to great track and field performances.  In addition to my memories of early season lack of fitness, cold weather, rain, wind, strong opponents and large quantities of lactic acid, there was always the large bear that often climbed on my back on the backstretch.  But never did I have to dodge traffic on the track!

On the Hunt for a Few More Golfers

As always, we're still looking for a few more golfers.  All abilities are welcome.  We guarantee a good time.  There is no other way to get your name engraved on the Coach Harry Groves Memorial Cup, which will be on display at the Reunion.  It is a masterpiece of hodge-podge workmanship combining the original design of Clark Haley and the additional fevered dreams of Harry Smith.  The result is a wondrous trophy destined to be looked at by future generations with amusement and wonderment. Wouldn't it be nice to have your name on it?

The first 40 golfers also receive a 1 GB USB Thumb Drive personalized  with our group's name (minus the Golf to save money!) There are a few slots left.  I have donated these to the cause as a thank-you for spending a little time with us, helping cement a better future for PSU Track and Field.

Sign up for the Reunion and the golf tourney HERE There will be a strict cut-off date for entries, so don't dilly-dally.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nittany Lion Progeny in the News

Alex Shisler is certainly the best parts of both of his parents.   He has the good looks and speed of Beth, and the...   Well Steve, you're in there somewhere, I'm sure.  He won two events against powerhouse Altoona, but couldn't quite stop the 100th victory in a row for Altoona Boys Track.  He sticks mostly  to the 200 M and 400 M, events I sure don't know much about.  I was always threatened with running the 4 x 440 y relay in high school as a punishment.  (Yeah, I'm that old!)

Sammie Zishka is another PSU Track Alumni progeny in the news, this time in Lancaster, Ohio.  That's the home of John Zishka, who coaches her and happens to be her dad.  John spent some time at PSU, setting some records and putting in quite a few great performances before transferring to  Oregon.  He's still one of our own though, being a Duck doesn't get rid of all the Nittany Lion in you!  John's exploits led to Clark Haley's matriculation at PSU, and we all know that led to our group.  We owe John some applause for that too.

I would be more than happy to promote the exploits of every Nittany Lion's progeny.  Send stories, links, photos, movies and anything else my way at dfbaskwill-AT-cs-DOTcom

Reminders, Sheldon Devane and Treadmills In the News

Apparently, Sheldon Devane, our intrepid mascot shrimp treadmill artist has become a spokesman of sorts for the Treadmill Industry.  Ever since he was featured in the expose on government waste, we have been bombarded by articles on the subject. He's $682,570 worth of minimalist/barefoot runner!

Despite the erroneous assumptions of a journalist recounting the continued running streak of the man who had an appendectomy, treadmills are permitted and count for the United States Running Streak Association!  The Streak Lives!

  • Here's 3 Tips for a better treadmill workout.

There's still just a few more days to book your room at the Hampton Inn to be the closest to the track for the Saturday morning Alumni "Run".  Give them a call at 814-231-1590 to reserve your reduced rate room.  Be sure to say "PTR"!

And you regulars golfers are starting to scare the organizers by waiting to get your entries in!  ("It's never too late to not start preparing." so to speak.)  Make us all happy and send it in now.  There may end up being a cut-off date for the first time ever, so don't be left out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A World Champion at Our Reunion Would Be Nice!

I'm not sure if his schedule will allow it, but we need to make sure that Ryan Whiting is invited to the festivities at our 1st Annual Track Alumni Reunion and the 11th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tourney.  Let's put the word out, but be sure to let him know that the golf is optional, and only mirth is required.

Here's an article about Ryan from Tracktown, the all-Oregon track site.  It sounds like Ryan and I would get along quite well considering his answer to one of the questions!

Aside from your competition, what are you looking forward to most about the Trials this summer?
Track Town Pizza.
Addendum:  You procrastinators are making me thirsty.  Get your entries in now!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Which is More Likely, Me Breaking 100 at Golf, or Wilt Breaking 100 at Basketball

We all know the Answer! (I've come close, but never finished it off. A bad writer, a worse golfer...)

But Greg Fredericks was there the night that Wilt scored triple digits.  It was at the same venue where I saw my first two Rock Concerts (Grand Funk Railroad and Kiss!).  The HersheyPark Arena, then known as the Hershey Sports Arena was the scene of a Philadelphia Warriors home game, and a ten-year-old Greg got to see all the Magic with his brother.

Here's proof, even with the notation of the time left in the game when he scored the 100th point, hastily scrawled by his brother.

Maybe the coolest thing ever!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

PSU is Throws U

It was a great weekend for the Throwers at LSU.  It may not be as catchy as "800 U" but even washed-up distance runners like me take notice of some fine Field performances.

  1. Javelin - Laura Loht won the event with a toss of 163' 9" and Lauren Kenney was 2nd with a fine 155' 9".
  2. Shot Put - Joe Kovacs for the victory with a PR 62' 11.25" with Logan Caldwell with 2nd place at 58' 9.5".
There were many other great performances, including a School Record in the Mens 4x400 (again!).  Check them all out here. And here's Laura's discussion of her performance:

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"Quite a Boner" -Stephen Hawking

All the Physics on this blog is just superficial gibberish that most can readily grasp. At least until the Track Alumni Physicists among us supply me with some content with heft.

 "I was told there will be no math on this blog."

Good thing too, as even Sheldon Cooper can be tripped up by it.

Some Excellent Early Season Times at Stanford

One of the biggest early season meets each year is the Stanford Invitational.  Several Nittany Lions are there and there were some excellent performances to start out the 2012 campaign.

  1. Matt Fischer placed 14th in Section 3 of the 5000 M with a 14:11.47 effort.
  2. Kyle Dawson placed 16th in Section 1 of the 10000 M with a splendid 28:55.33.
  3. Brooklynne Ridder ran a 16:14.98 in the 5000 M to place 13th in Section 2.
All 3 are PR's, (PB's for the younger set!) Kyle's and Brooklynne's effort place them in the top ten all-time performances by Penn State athletes.
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