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...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

They Were Thwarted In Their Effort To Be Last

9)   Larry Mangan, Tim Backenstose, Hunter Backenstose, Mark Hawkins (+10)

Ten-over par should normally accomplish the goal of being last in the tournament, but the inability of the favorites to finish the round gave ninth place to this hopeful quartet.

Tim Backenstose brought his son Hunter Backenstose along to increase the average height of the golfers present.  It's good to have second generation Yanomamo present!

Mark Hawkins wowed the crowd before the start with his putting prowess, but apparently that didn't translate into the actual 18-hole round.

Group Officer Larry Mangan also braved the ideal golfing conditions to see if he could somehow finish in the back of the pack.  In our running days, Larry was never in the back of the pack at the end of a workout.  There were many duels on the last of 12 quarters between him and Gary Black. I got to watch a lot of them from near the rear!

Why Javelin Throwers Aren't Killing the Steeplechasers

In the olden days, like when I could actually run, the javelin throwers were getting so good that something had to be done to prevent a catastrophe.  The throws were getting perilously close to landing on the far turn when the javelin throwing area was in the infield.  The world record throws would actually have killed a poor steeplechaser on our track, assuming the dark, cold water didn't get them first.

Here is an article on the Physics involved in the throws that answers how Officials are keeping our steeplers safe.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Many (Most?) PSU Track Alums Are Smarter Than I

That's Bill Kvashay and his 2012 High School Calculus Class.  If I had only known, I would have asked Bill for help with the worst of my college classes!  (But what I lacked in mathematical intellectual prowess I more than made up for in my Human Sexuality Class.  That's the one where there were 200 actual students in the class but they had to hold it in an auditorium seating 400!)

For the male youngsters out there, the secret to attracting  cheerleaders and sorority sisters is PUPPIES!  It took until 20 years after college to figure that one out.

I've Been Next to Last Many Times

8)   Ken Brinker, Paul McLaughlin, Fritz Spence, Robert Szeyller (+8)

A day on the golf course is better than any day at work, as far as I can tell!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Seven is a Lucky Number

Especially when it's really a tie for Sixth!
6)   Andy Banse, Charlie Hull, Tom Shiffer, Albert Porto (+4)

It was a pleasure meeting  Albert Porto at the alumni Reunion evening at The Lion's Den.  We talked a little about the track at Beaver Field, where Kern Commons and the parking lot for the Nittany Lion Inn is now.  We also talked about the training back in the day, which consisted of almost all serious "quality" work-outs.  Having several of the NCAA Champion runners from 1950 (and before!) was a dream come true for this Herder of Cats.

Andy Banse is the new Throws Coach, and must be doing one heck of a job!  My lack of knowledge of the event is counter-balanced by the enthusiasm for their accomplishments. 

I got to talk to Charlie Hull because we both stayed at the Hampton Inn, the Official Hotel of PSU Track Alumni Golfers.  Apparently we both are fans of the breakfasts.  I'll have to arrange to golf with him next year.  That is, if he wants to finish second anyway.  That's where I always am!

Tom Shiffer took some time off from hob-nobbing with celebrities to golf with us mortals. Maybe he could drag someone famous along with him next year.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day

A great Day all around. Here's how I started the day.  With Spott Moscowitz and a nap!

Then a cowardly single mile on the treadmill to keep the streak alive.

Then a 16th Birthday trip to Baltimore's Inner Harbor for my daughter.

And then finishing it off with a TOGO meal of Kung Pao Chicken and Shrimp from P. F. Chang's.

Speaking of P. F. Chang's, who's up for a PSU Track Alumni Outreach at P.F. Chang's at the Plymouth Meeting Mall this summer?  Drop me a line by email or in the comments for me to gauge interest.  The last attempt garnered 15 attendees.  I bet we can do better!

Sixth Place Leads the Second Half!

6)     Brian Fuller, Kevin Fuller, Blake Eaton, Ryan Foster (+4)

There's nothing better than trailing a colorful foursome in a best ball format tournament.  Occasionally meeting up with them on a tee when play slows ahead of them is usually a treat.  Also hearing from afar the joy of a good shot or the agony of defeat after a bad one brings a smile to my lips.  Especially when the exclamations of foul language are delivered in the "Queen's English" as Ryan Foster so aptly puts it.

The Fullers, part of the group who introduced the Alumni Singlets showed up in force, Brian Fuller and Kevin Fuller and were joined by a big-hitter in Blake Eaton.

Let's not forget, Brian and Ryan are in training for the 1,000 Mile Relay to honor Kevin Dare. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fifth Place is Still in the Top Half! (And Don't Forget to Order a Singlet!)

5)     Bob Hudson, Nick K., Mike McCahill, Beth Shisler (+3)

This crew represents 4 of the original members of our humble group.  Mike McCahill has been  to every one of our tourneys except last year.  One of these year's he'll get his name on The Cup I am sure!

Bob Hudson traveled back home from Buffalo NY with a golf game which is much improved.

Nick K. stayed near home in State College for his 8th appearance in the tourney (I think).  My daughters are still talking about our visit with Nick when he lived in Manhattan.  I need to start those Group Outreaches again!

Beth Shisler must have missed the fairway on Hole 3 or she would again have won the longest drive contest.  Her foundational womens alumni singlet must be easing the pain of letting Gary steal the award from her.

Speaking of Alumni Singlets, orders are now being taken.  Click on the link on the right sidebar to order your very own.  Help spread the word of the world's best Track Alumni Group. The women's version is blue with white lettering, the men's are the classic white with blue lettering.  Your graduation year (or any other year you want!) appears on the right shoulder.  There is also a retro "S" on the back collar.


NCAA Bound

It was a fine Regional Qualifying Meet for PSU Athletes on both the track and the field.

  1. Joe Kovacs - Shot Put                                                                                                            
  2. Lauren Kenney - Javelin
  3. Laura Loht - Javelin
  4. Will Barr - Discus
  5. Brady Gehret - 400 M
  6. Casimir Loxsom - 800 M
  7. Rebecca Simko - 800 M
  8. Melissa Kurzdorfer - Hammer
  9. Aaron Nodolsky, Brandon Bennett-Green, Casimir Loxsom, Brady Gehret - 1600 M Relay (3:03.57 School Record)
  10. Doris Anyanwu, Dynasty McGee, Ijeoma Iheoma, Kristin Nieuwemdam - 1600 M Relay

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fourth Place Still Impresses Coach Groves

4)     Mark Horton, Richard Gross, Omar Easy, Chris Johnson (+1)

Yeah, that's Omar Easy, former PSU star running back hobnobbing with the elite tracksters!  As a native Jamaican, I would bet Mr. Easy knows his way around a track as well as a football gridiron. The former Kansas City Chief  and Oakland Raiser can also hit a golf ball a long way!  When I say that our tournament is open to anyone, I mean it.  Welcome, Omar, I hope you return again next year.  I didn't get a chance to speak with you.

Mark Horton traveled from the friendly New Jersey suburbs of NYC and looks at home on the golf course.  I think we'll have him hooked to return every year now!

Richard Gross was a delight to speak to at the Reunion Evening on Friday night.  We talked about how much the pole vault has changed since he first used a wooden pole to jump into a sand pit back in the day.  He also heard my familiar story about not being able to carry Don Skerpon's 16-foot pole down the runway in the late 70's.  My decathlon career ended before it began.

Coach Chris Johnson is my daughter's favorite coach, ever since he taught her hurdling technique at a day camp last year.  Whenever I give her the camera to take pictures at a track meet she invariably finds him in the crowd and snaps away.  His golf game must be better than he let's on too!

And here's a Slide Show of the Event with photos from our Digital Archive goddesses Jeri Elder and Kay Warfel as well as John McGraw, my daughter and some others.


PSU is 800 U: 2012 NCAA Edition

Casimir Loxsom moves on to the NCAA Finals with his victory in his heat at the Regionals. (1:47.69)

Bekka Simko also moves on to the Finals with her 2:05.81 effort!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Third Place Ain't Bad

Dennis Hendershot, Kevin O’Brien, John McGraw, Bob Gabel (-2)

In third place in our wonderful tournament came this rather game foursome.  Two of them won awards in the skills contest.  And with Kelly's history, maybe "the shot of the day" came from their group as well.  We're still trying to figure that one out.  

Dennis Hendershot braved the rigors of the Elks Club Course for the first time and came away with "Horace" The Golden Putter!  He even received the item and will keep it til next year when he promises to return.  As a lefty, he can't use it, but we should see updates from him as he travels around in the next year.  Dennis is the father of Jon Hendershot of vertical leaping fame.

Bob Gabel, former winner of the Golden Putter, put a tee shot on the green and won the Closest to the Pin Award this year.  The prize is being readied as we speak.

John McGraw relates he had a hot and cold tourney (which beats my frigid round) and as a State College local now, just may be able to hone his skills enough to challenge for the Cup next year.

Kelly O'Brien's game has already improved from when he golfed with me a couple of years ago, and there were no near misses this year that I have been made aware of.  He also attempted to garner attention with some sharp duds, only to be thwarted by the purple/orange pants from Paul MundyBetter luck next year!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Varsity "S" Club Thanks All Attendees

I told you there was a B1G turn-out for the event.  We got together (sorta, kinda) for a group picture for the Varsity "S" Club.  Well, all of us except Clark Haley and a few others, anyway.  That's Horace Ashenfelter second from the left and Coach Groves right in the thick of it next to the banner.  There was twice as many family and friends not in the photo also.

We've outgrown two venues so far in the history of our event.  I won't be satisfied until we outgrow this one.

Bridget Franek: Olympic Dreams

Bridget Franek is No. 2 on the Track and Field News form chart in the Womens 3000 M Steeplechase. Here's hoping that in the year of the 50th Anniversary of Horace Ashenfelter's stunning victory, Bridget has similar Nittany Lion Providence.

Here's Bridget's very own blog about her experiences and quest.  Check it out.

Second Place, Again,,,

Nobody has been runner-up more times than I have been in the Coach Groves Golf Tournament.  That's me again, this time with a group where everybody but Artie Gilkes is scratched onto the surface of The Coach Groves Memorial CupBrian Boyer was in our "foursome" also, but showed up late and left early, much like all the Yankee fans I know!  All 5 of us helped out, as at least one shot from all of us were "best ball".  It was good to have our Official Physicist there, even if it was part-time!

Don Ziter's game has improved over the year's while mine has slid precariously on the edge of a huge cliff.  It's great to see Don still pumping out 19:00 5K's and 270 yard drives.  Golfing with him after all these years was a big thrill, making the memories of hanging out at his Fraternity (Sigma Pi!) seem like eons ago.

Gary Black was our keystone, which is kind of pitiful considering his 2 repaired shoulders and 2 artificial hips.  On his first shot of the day, Gary won the Longest Drive Contest on the 3rd hole.

We didn't have the stamina, as we were 3-under par after our first three holes and ended up at 3-under par.  Much like all of my marathons, we just couldn't finish.  Next year we'll carbo-load.

Artie Gilkes golfed for the very first time, and I think we'll have him hooked into returning every year now.  He has a naturally nice swing, probably honed from his hockey experience.  He spent a lot of his time coaching Rebecca from afar, helping her "put on the foil" before her big race somewhere other than Happy Valley.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It Wasn't Us This Time, I Swear!

Paul Mundy once hit a tractor-trailer on 322 from the 4th tee, but as far as I know, none of us have ever hit a motorcyclist.  We have also hit the clubhouse, several houses along the course and the parking lot numerous times.  Makes me wonder if we need additional insurance?

(Artist's interpretation of motorcyclist's last visual image.)

And here's a 91 year-old Briton still long jumping, and Throwing!


Horace is in the House!

The highlight of the 11th Annual Coach Groves Golf tournament and the First Annual Penn State Track and Field Alumni Reunion was the appearance of our very own Horace Ashenfelter III.  During the golf, over 40 people toured the All-Sports Museum at Beaver Stadium and saw the display of his 1952 Golf Medal for the 3000 M Steeplechase.  He set the world record that day, but there is so much more about the man that is worth even more than gold.

Most of you know my admiration for Greg Fredericks, who inspired me to run twice daily to try to be good enough to become a Nittany Lion.  When I arrived in State College, the mystique of Mr. Ashenfelter also became a passion of mine.  Finally getting him to come to our event was a dream come true.  This was facilitated by Coach Sullivan, and I'll be forever in her debt for helping me meet him for the first time.

While speaking to him on Saturday at the Alumni "Run", he even upped the admiration I have for him.  The very first thing he talked about was the reverence and love he had for his wife Lillian.  He relayed, in no uncertain terms, that he wouldn't have achieved what he did without her. He is someone to look up to on the track and in the neighborhood.  A true Nittany Lion Great.

Now, The National Distance Running Hall of Fame has announced that he will be inducted into its Hall of Fame on July 7th.  He will join Glenn Cunningham and Jacqueline Hansen in this years class. (thanks to Morale Officer Larry Mangan)

Even more Horace goodness via Rebecca Donaghue on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Winners of the 2012 (11th Annual) Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament

The winning foursome of Brian Laird, Drew Hardyk, Steve Brown and Bill Malchano blistered the Elks Club Course for a fine 5-Under Par, especially considering the fast putting conditions.  This is Bill's first engraving on the Coach Harry Groves Cup.  As one of the original 2002 golfers, he has waited too long!  Drew Hardyk got his name on the Cup for the second time, thus enshrining himself in the Hall of Honor I created some time ago and have yet to fully figure out.  Brian Laird, has graced The Cup numerous times and is already a Hall member.  Steve Brown must have figured a way to channel all of the energy of this eclectic group into a force for good, so hats off to him!

More Good Things From the Reunion Weekend

There was so much going on, there is no way I'll be able to remember 1/4 of it.  Here's some more happenings that happened to stick in my mind for the moment.

  1. I had the pleasure of meeting many alums from the years prior to my matriculation.  Bob Osterhoudt amazes me with his fitness at age (redacted) Richard Gross, Charlie Hull, Al Shaeffer, Robert Szeyller. Bob Parsons, All Porto, Carl Tewold, Dick Geiger and Joe DeStefano all seemed to be having a great time.  All of them are on board with spreading the news to their teammates to come next year.
  2. The Group's Digital Archive Goddesses Jeri Elder and Kay Warfel volunteered 5 hours of their time to take photos of all the foursomes for me.  They will now be enshrined on our Officers Annals!
  3. I got to talk to many of the current athletes and the new Throws Coach Andy Banse, a great addition to an already overwhelmingly excellent staff.  I instilled in Andy my total ignorance of the throws, but also my intense fandom.  I impressed no one with my abilities, but I dare anyone to match my support of their accomplishments.
  4. Did I mention that our Le faucon d'orange Mark Hawkins sank two 40-foot putts out of three?
  5. I got to talk to James "Frit" Cooper after more than 30 years. He still looks to be in the same shape as when I saw him run a sub-9-minute two-mile indoors at Cornell with Charlie Maguire. Frit was in the small group when I took my very first run after arriving in Happy Valley.  A ten-miler that somehow became 12!
  6. Horace Ashenfelter III told me the story of how he learned he would be a father for the third time from his wife while in Helsinki just prior to the Olympic Games.  His praise and devotion to his wife should set an example for all of us.
  7. Jess Riden continues to set world records for tasks completed.  I didn't get to talk to her much, but we all owe her major kudos for the whole weekend. She will also become an Officer of our Group.  I have not come up with a suitable name yet.
  8. Gary Black won the Longest Drive contest on his very first shot of the day.  Bob Gabel followed up his previous Golden Putter exploits with a Closest-to-the-Pin victory on that very difficult par 3 hole with the elevated tees.

Next up will be a listing of the Standings, conveniently supplied by Coach Gondak.

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Readers Are Here: A Primer on Our Group

First off, welcome everyone.  This blog is for you.  "You" being anyone interested in Penn State Track and Field or Cross Country in addition to pedestrian Physics topics, ridiculous stories, videos and generally worthless shenanigans.  It's all here, rolled up into an incomprehensible blob, er blog. Come back every day, click on some ads once in a while (we'll make some money for the group some day!), tell your friends, submit some stories, photos, videos or critiques, vote in our polls, order an alumni singlet, browse our own group store (again eventually we'll make a few bucks for the group!), and have some fun looking back in the archives.

The "Golf" part is always optional and anyone associated with us in any way is a "golfer" like us.  The Golf means we are a group that sprang from the mind of Clark Haley in 2002 as a way of honoring Coach Groves and thanking him for all he did for many of us.  It started as a little golf tournament on the Blue Course among friends of his who all ran for Coach Groves back in the 80's.  I was dragged along by my brother-in-law Gary Black, kicking and screaming, if I remember right (which I often don't do!).  I had absolutely nothing to do with the event for the first 6 years or so, but I showed up and created divots and apologies for my horrid skills once a year anyway.  I was always in second place, ever hopeful of getting my name etched on the Harry Groves Cup.

We had a big year in 2006 when Coach Groves retired, 11 foursomes (again, if I remember correctly!). But then the very next year we couldn't fill out 3 foursomes and our mood was diminished.  We still had fun and told jokes,tall tales and Coach Groves was tickled anyway.  There was talk of having the event every other year or every four years.  I didn't want that to happen.  All once-a-year golfers know what I'm talking about.  What would happen to my golf bag in the back of the garage after 4 years, when it's virtually unrecognizable after just 1?

I was toying with starting a blog anyway; I needed to get some of the thoughts and musings out of my head, as I had filled it up and was stagnating in both thought and deed.  So I made the blog up one day a month or two prior to the 2008 Tournament and have been at it ever since.  I added the "Golf" at the end so as to not confuse anyone who would think I'm anything Official in any way. I'm just a second-string ex-runner who had the time of my life at PSU competing and training under Coach Groves.  I'm delighted at the reception I have been given by the Track Program and strive every day to make them the most desired destination for any talented High School Track and Field Athlete out there.  I hope that someday, the parents of the next Jesse Owens, or Carl Lewis (or Horace Ashenfelter or Greg Fredericks!) will look at our blog and our Alumni Group as the final piece of the puzzle in choosing PSU over everyone else.  Anyone paying attention will realize I'm deadly serious about that, patient and unrelenting in the pursuit.  I'm just doing a small part of it.  If each of us does a little part, we will become the most active and largest Track Alumni Group in the World.  I have no doubt.

I lost the mirth there for a moment (The Mirth is Required!), so here's a video of the succinct and ever-teaching Coach Groves addressing the crowd at the Saturday Dinner.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Another Highlight of the Reunion Weekend

Bob Osterhoudt still competes in multiple events.  He is a State College and PSU alum and flashed his spikes at our Alumni "Run" on Saturday morning.  Good stuff.

Things That Happened at The Track Alumni Weekend

  1. More than 40 Golfers barely trashed the Elks Club Course.
  2. More than 40 Hikers reached the top of Mt. Nittany during the golf outing.
  3. More than 40 enthusiastic attendees checked out Horace Ashenfelter's  gold medal at the sports Museum during the golf outing.
  4. More than 40 runners took a campus run during the saturday morning festivities.
  5. More than 100 people came to the Friday night reception at The Lion's Den and Saturday night's dinner at the Ashenfelter Indoor Track.
  6. Paul Mundy wore the most hideous or most glorious pants during the golf outing, depending on your state of mind.
  7. I glanced across the room during the Friday reception and saw 3 members of the 1950  NCAA Cross Country Champions talking.
  8. I met dozens of new friends, some of whom actually read this tripe on nearly a daily basis!  I express my thanks or my regrets, depending on your state of mind.
  9. Our Official Physicist Brian Boyer wore a special Richard Feynman shirt to the event just for my benefit.
  10. Director of Youth Development Artie Gilkes golfed the first round of his career with me on Saturday.  Next time out, he'll surpass my talents by leaps and bounds.
  11. My wife got a prize at the Saturday Dinner that she will keep for herself and not give to the kids for the first time I have ever seen.  The PSU Track backpack is now a prized possession in our home, with two daughters angling for the item when backs are turned.  I may take it from them all soon.
  12. Le faucon d'orange Mark Hawkins sank 2 out of three 40 foot putts to win the pre-round putting contest.  That was without any windmills or ceramic dinosaurs in the way, however.  He thus saved me $10, as I didn't need to enter.
  13. Coach Groves told me a joke with a great putting tip in it that I cannot repeat EVER.  But I will remember it forEVER.
  14. PSU Football Coach Bill O'Brien addressed the crowd before Coach Groves and Mr. Ashenfelter spoke at the Saturday Dinner.
  15. Coach Hardyk and Ryan Foster became members of our Hall of Honor.  There are others, but I'm working on that.  I messed up and alienated a few before by overlooking them.  It was never my intention, so I'll try to research things and finalize it in the next few days.  Leave it to me to create a group with qualifications I can't keep track of...
  16. That's a start, I'll keep bringing more...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Alumni "Run" Overwhelming Triumph

I know, I'm running out of accolades.  But it really was.  There were twice as many participants as ever before not even counting the 40 NCAA qualified team members.  College Diner Stickies and Dunkin Donut coffee and donuts were available for everyone.

A huge crowd headed out for the 3 mile campus loop with the distance runners while the rest of us hung around and told stories and probably some tall tales.  There was some fun and games available as well as an incredible 60M hurdle demonstration (It will take me a while to download that video!)

The conversations were tremendous and those who didn't make it should realize that we probably talked about you because you weren't here!  I'll start herding cats again tomorrow, however.

Reunion Evening a Success

The Lion's Den was the scene of shenanigans for many a PSU Track Alum for decades now.  So it is fitting that it was the scene of 8 decades of PSU Track Alums meeting at the First Annual Penn State Track and Field Alumni Reunion.  The Track Program and the Varsity "S" Club were the host of a spread of food and drink of epic proportion that greeted nearly 100 athletes of just about every variety. I decided not to take pictures because I wanted to talk to as many people as possible. (Not easy for a wannabe hermit!)

My favorite parts were:

  1. Meeting so many of my former teammates again from the late 70's and early 80's.
  2. Meeting some of the current team including the incredible Throwers, who marveled at my PR Shot Put of 11 feet.
  3. Meeting a pole vaulter from 1960 who marveled at my inability to carry a 16 foot pole down the runway.
  4. Seeing 3 members of the 1950 NCAA Championship Cross Country team greeting their former teammate.
  5. Finding out that Paul Mundy's grandfather ran in the 1932 10000M and the 1936 5000M Olympic Trials.
  6. Seeing Coach Sullivan and all of the Assistant Coaches beaming proudly at the turn-out.
  7. Meeting Horace Ashenfelter III for the very first time.
  8. Seeing Keeper of the Beer Clark Haley drinking Diet Coke.  I warned him that it's poison to no avail!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Better Late Than Never

The 2011 winner of Horace The Golden Putter for the longest putt on Hole 18 at last year's tournament finally got to hold the beauty I promised him 364 days ago.  As an apology, he received a Bag of Holding from the Group Store .  And my apologies, of course...

Here's The Group's Exalted IT Czar, Jeff Sanden with Horace this very AM!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Little Humor Prior to the Reunion Weekend

It's not always as it first appears!

Here's a drawing from a young student after they were prompted to make a drawing of their mom for Mother's Day.  The teacher sent a note home to mom with the photo.

Mom felt obliged to send a note back to the teacher!

See you all at the Lion's Den on Friday for the Reunion Evening and on the Links on Saturday!

For anyone who can't be there, just tip a glass of any beverage at 8:00PM (Eastern Time) on Saturday night to Coach Groves, Coach Sullivan (and the current team) and Horace Ashenfelter III.  It will be as if you are right there with us.  

You can also donate any amount of money to be used solely for the Coach Groves Scholarship Endowment by using the link on the right sidebar.  I personally guarantee strict adherence to Clark Haley's wishes on this matter unless you specifically identify the funds for use for blog expenses or other group activities.  Any amount is appreciated beyond anything you can imagine.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

American Excellence: (A Post Just For Paul Mundy)

Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, many manufactured in humble little York, PA, are craved around the world.  And no wonder.  Here's one that happened to make a trip from north of Tokyo, Japan to the shores of Canada.  The owner was tracked down from the serial numbers and it turns out it was lost following the earthquake and tsunami disaster that preceded the second worst nuclear disaster in the world's history. (Although the locals here still have pride in Three-Mile Island.  "We're number 3, We're number 3!) The company is stepping up and fully restoring the bike before the owner gets it back.  I wonder if the owner will have to report that "extra mileage" if he wants to resell it?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Penn State Track and Field Alumni in Africa

I know of two Penn State Track Alums doing good works in Africa.  I have nothing but respect and admiration for both of them.

We all remember how gamely Munya Maraire handled a golf club for the very first time in our tournament.  He is now coordinating Track athletes in his native Zimbabwe. With great success, may I add.

Janet Norem is also on the big Continent, doing great Missionary works since 2002.  I posted her blog on the right sidebar which explains more than I can, but I recently put her to the test with a number of questions.  She has kindly responded:

Ok, here goes.  Since 2002 I’ve been part of a mission outreach team based first in Malawi (until 2008) and then Mozambique. The place where the team lives and works is your basic rural African village setting.  Among other things I’ve used my training in ag to try to help people eat more throughout the year and increase their incomes.  Midway into 2009 I had to return to the U.S. to help out my mom, and now I live in California and work for the team remotely.  I am able to make short trips (1-2 months) back to Mozambique; my next one is scheduled for  the last week in June.

  1. What have been your most rewarding experiences?

 When we moved to Mozambique I was able to rent a place in a village, while the 2 families on our team rented houses in town and spent a year finding villages to move to and building houses there.  I spent much of that time with a mountain bike and a gps, traveling from village to village and mapping roads, trails and village locations and names (“Good morning! What is the name of this village?”).  That was a time when I often thought to myself, “I love my job!”  Beyond that it has been rewarding making friends with people in my village as well as neighboring villages.

2. What has been your most exciting experiences?

I’m not much of an adrenaline junkie, but most of my heart-pumping episodes have involved transportation, whether trying to keep my truck tracking straight over a log bridge, careening down a hill on the back of a bicycle taxi with the wind blowing alcohol fumes into my face, or nearly any trip involving a minibus.

3. The place you enjoyed the most?

One of my most miserable races and enjoyable vacations took place at the same place: Mount Mulanje in Malawi.

4. Did PSU Track/XC prepare you for any of your work?

Definitely.   Aside from learning how to handle chaos and dysfunction, I sponsored a running club in Malawi for about 3 years. 

5. Do you still run? 

Yup.  I’ve been a member of the San Luis Distance Club (San Luis Obispo, CA) for the past 20 years,   But I love running in Mozambique when I’m there: endless trails to run (and get lost) on.

6. Any thing you care to add. The canvas is blank (as is my mind!).

Everyone on our mission team runs, and this has not gone unnoticed by the locals.   Once the lady who washes my clothes was asked what the job of the white people was, and she answered quite seriously: “To run.”   
That's Janet on the bottom right at a 2008 Reunion of the Women's team.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The B1G Championships Were Loaded

In probably the deepest Big Ten Championships in years, PSU garnered some impressive victories.  Some Olympic "A" standards, Olympic Trials qualifiers and some top ten US times/distances were on view.  The Lions get a week off to strut their stuff in front of alums at next week's Reunion and Harry Groves Golf Tournament. You probably can still show up for the Reunion or Golf Tournament and be accommodated, as long as you are humble enough and show enough enthusiasm!

Big Ten Champions:

  1. Laura Loht - Javelin  PSU is Javelin U
  2. Kara Millhouse - 10000M  2 in a row
  3. Mens 4 x 400M Relay  Dominated
  4. Brady Gehret - 400M  Big PR, Olympic Trials Qualifier
  5. Casimir Loxsom - 800M  3 in a row
  6. Joe Kovacs - Shot Put  #1 College and #8 in the World
In honor of the Champions, here's a video of a laser setting a World Record.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Javelin Domination and Applied Physics

Laura Loht and Lauren Kenney placed 1 and 2 in the Womens Javelin for another 18 points to end the second day of the B1G Championships.  Laura's throw of 160' 11" on her final attempt surpassed Lauren's 159' 04".

And somehow it took Physicists to figure out the proper way to walk with a cup of coffee and not spill it. ( Hint: walk slower and don't fill it to the rim. )
Not quite Nobel quality stuff, I know.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Repeat B1G Champion Kara Millhouse!

Kara Millhouse won the Big Ten 10000M Championship for the second straight year on the first day of the Meet. Her 34:25.78 topped the field for PSU's first Champion of the weekend.

Melissa Kurzdorfer just missed the top of the podium after uncorking a PR throw on her last effort in the Hammer with 207' 5" for second place.

The Mens Hammer also saw a PR by Will Barr with a 198' 7", which was good for seventh place.

Kyle Dawson ran a game 10000 M for his highest ever 4th place in 29:16.65.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Ten Commandments of the Coach Groves Golf Tournament

  1. Thou shalt have no other Tournament but this one.  
  2. Thou shalt ignore texts and emails and instant messages except in grave situations.
  3. Thou shalt not covet Paul Mundy's driver, "The Beast".
  4. Thou shalt not stretch the rules (too much) and shall abide by Coach Groves' modified Queensbury Rules.
  5. Thou shalt never complain except to one's cart-mate.
  6. Thou shalt not allow ball marks to remain, if you even can create one.
  7. Thou golf shoe spikes shall be soft in nature.
  8. Thou mulligans shall be used in only the neediest of situations.
  9. Thou strings shall not be stretched beyond 12 inches.
  10. Thou shalt return again next year to get thy name on thy Cup.

One Week Until the Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament: Time For a Golf Tip

The 11th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament is just a week away and you have not even retrieved your golf bag from the garage, where you'll discover it has been used as a squirrel's nest some time in the last year, and is filled with stink bugs again! (as Dave Barry used to say,  "I'm not making that up.")

You are in need of some golf tips, so let's get right to it with noted links expert, Dorf.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Time to Relax!

The hard work is done, and I have herded as many cats as I possibly could to the reunion this year.  Clark has me lined up to do a little work at the event, but I may have to sublet it all to my children.  This unrelenting blogging is tiring work!  I deserve a little rest...

Photo Caption Contest

What in the World is Jon Hendershot doing in this photo from the Penn Relays?  A secret agent supplied us with this photo, but even he doesn't know.  Give us your best shot in the comments.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Barometric Pressure is Rising

Penn State has the finest School of Meteorology in the nation.  So I'm putting one of its graduates to the test this year for the forecast for the First Annual Penn State Track Alumni Reunion.  Since he couldn't make it due to the rigors of his current training, and possibly that he lives in Colorado now, Tyler McCandless has been made the Official Weather Prognosticator for our event.  He will get paid no matter how good or bad his predictions are, and that will be the same as the rest of the rabble we call our Idiot Officers.  (Pay Scale available upon request!)

So let's welcome him to our group, despite the fact that he'll be 2,000 miles away while we're thrashing about  in Happy Valley on the 19th of May.  Try not to put too much pressure on him.  I know another weather prognosticator who lashes out once yearly when asked to do the same task.  He even bit Bill Murray one time.  Bill Murray! We'll get his Official Forecast just before the Reunion weekend.

100's To Attend Reunion*

The largest crowd ever will travel to Happy Valley this year for the First Annual Penn State Track and Field Alumni Reunion.  A healthy portion of them will join me on the links at The Elks Club on Saturday at the 11th Annual Coach Groves Golf Tournament. The greenery and neighbors have already been forewarned.  Begging and bribes** probably can still get you involved even though you have missed the deadline.

 author's interpretation of the crowd expected.
Final preparations are being made even as the team prepares for the Big Ten Championships this weekend.  The Reunion and Tourney are being held during an off weekend prior to the start of the NCAA Championship season.  You'll get a chance to meet the coaches and athletes and see what your support of the Program brings. 

A final phone consultation among the knowledgeable organizers (and me!) will be held today at Noon, and I will bring you any important updates then.  My advice is to check your golf bags for stink bugs if you happen to golf as often as I do.  For some reason stink bugs love my bag. 

More than 100 anyway.  And that counts as 100's in my book.
** Merely asking and the normal fees will probably be enough. Get in touch with the Track Office.  As long as you don't bring up hotels or parking for the Penn Relays, they will probably listen.  No bribes or begging will be necessary. What are we, Eastern Europe?  The more the merrier.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Supermoon! B1G Championships!

Photo by Steve Rechtor.

Just because.  Let's see if anyone can predict the correct number of Nittany Lion B1G Champions at this weeks meet.  That includes both Men and Women.  Put your prediction in the comment section below.  The winner will receive a gift pack of notably worthless items and the satisfaction of knowing that others are jealous for no good reason.  My prediction is 8, and I'm sticking with it.  You can also put your approximate guess on the poll on the left sidebar.  It gives you some leeway.

Now with more Supermoon!  (Christ the Redeemer in Brazil and with a certain American Lady of French origin.)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Women's 3000M Steeplechase Videos: Bridget Franek's First 2012 Effort No. 1 in the World

Bridget Franek's 2012 Steeplechase Season got underway in Oregon yesterday at the Oregon Twilight Meet with a rather good 9:39.77 at Hayward Field, which will be the scene of the Olympic Trials.

And here's a BYU athlete who has a sense of humor way beyond what one would expect.  Not one, but 2 cameras caught her epic wipe-out AND her laugh at her own expense as she exits the pit.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Don't Forget the 1,000 Mile Relay

Four days of running should just about do it!  That is 10 guys alternating 5 miles at a time for 4 days!  And they have to average under 6 minutes/mile to beat the record they are after.

It's all to honor Kevin Dare on the 10th anniversary of his tragic accident.  The Kevin Dare Foundation will be the beneficiary of the attempt, as well as its inspiration.  The route will take the runners from the actual scene of the accident home to State College. Ryan Foster is the architect of the effort.

The runners are a who's who of recent PSU grads with a few notable additions.  PSU grad student and former Notre Dame great Luke Watson will join former Olympian Brian Sell and the PSU boys for a hundred miles in 4 days.

This will all occur on August 26th, so there is still time to donate to the cause.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Penn State Track: Before and After

By Before, of course, I mean High School.  Here's an article from Lancaster Ohio and recruit Brannon Kidder.  Which makes 3 milers to have come from that school over the years. Clark Haley followed John Zishka way back in the late 70's and early 80's. 

By After, of course, I mean Olympics.  Here's an article about Bridget Franek's pursuit of the dream.  I am one that would never bet against her.

This Year's Rules Straight From the Founder!

Final Preparations are underway, and the hard decisions have been made.  Thankfully, not by me, but by the Founder himself, Clark Haley.  Taking all factors into account, he made the tough call to continue last year's format of allowing the "extra" games and additions.  He really doesn't take this lightly and regrets that the tourney can't be a straight golf tourney. Let's all support him in this decision and have a grand ole time at this year's thrashing of the Elks Club Course!

Had a brief phone conversation last week with John Gondak (who also spoke on behalf of the NLC) about the golf outing and here's what we're planning to do this year (If you're on this distribution list and are not golfing please disregard) in hopes of optimizing donor contributions:  
     - Want to "buy" your team - $20 per head ($80 per team), if not the random draw
                     will continue to take place on Friday night (please contact John or myself
                     prior to arriving Friday night with your intentions so we can create balanced
                     teams (with A, B-D players).
     - Each team can buy four, "foot long" strings to be used on the green - cost will be
                     $10 per string
     - Each team can buy four Mulligans at $10 per Mulligan BUT the same player can not
                     use more than one Mulligan (they can be used anywhere on the course
                     and they are not team Mulligans - again, one per player)
     - Putting contest starts at 12:15 on the putting green - 3 putts, $10 (winner receives 
                     $100 gift certificate at the clubhouse - there will only be one winner, if more
                     than one person makes a putt, there will be a "putt-off" - if no one sinks it 
                     the Endowment fund wins...)
     - Chipping contest starts at 12:30 at the driving range - 3 chips, $10 (winner receives
                     $100 gift certificate at the clubhouse - there will only be one winner, if more
                     than one person chips in the beer bucket, there will be a "chip off" - if no
                     one chips it in the bucket, the Endowment fund wins - if it actually lands in
                     the bucket and bounces out, it will be considered good!
     - We will attempt a skins game (sorry Scats game to be correct, according to Black)
                     $40 per team, where if your team has the best score on a hole, you win a
                     scat (sp?-who really cares!).  At the end of the round after half of the pot is
                     donated to the fund, the remaining winnings will be divided by the number
                     of scats and distributed to the teams who actually won the scats. 
     -  "Buy up to the red tees" on hole number 5 - $40 per team
     - Skill awards (closest to the pin, Longest Drive, Longest Putt) will continue to be
                     given (at no additional charge!)
     - The "CUP" will live on, even with the asterisks....

Thursday, May 3, 2012

YOU Can Be a Champion!

And be remembered for all time in the History of Penn State Track and Field.

And since your jumping, running and throwing abilities have deteriorated since that graduation day, the easiest way to do it is by getting your name engraved on the Coach Harry Groves Memorial Cup.  There's still 1 day to let the organizers know you are coming, so don't hesitate.

And here's some video of another group of Champions, the 2012 Penn Relays Sprint Medley Champions of America! 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Just How Good Are Doritos, (and Hence Taco Bell Doritos Tacos)

Doritos are so good that it would make a cat stick its head in a bag and then stand atop a 20 foot tall telephone pole. Don't worry, the cat gets away cleanly when the nice Fireman scares the begeebus out of him.  I'm assuming him as no female I know would stick their head in a bag of Doritos.  There are several males I know that have already done it.  Gone are the days of having 2 large bags of Doritos and a six-pack of Mountain Dew for dinner. (Not me....  a Friend, I swear.)

A Little Learning Never Hurt Anyone

I remember being in college after June 1 every year, but nowadays they barely make it into May.  So before everyone shuts their brain down for the Summer, here's a little tutorial on the soon-to-be-discovered Higg's Boson.  Despite it being a sub-atomic particle, its discovery will have a fundamental impact on the world we think we know.  You might as well know just a little bit about it.

And no one should forget the most important rule of The Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament, so I'll repeat it again.
* Rule #13 -- Any disputes of the rules shall be judged by Coach Groves or a representative of the group appointed by Coach Groves. Those disputing the rules shall be belittled and impugned by the whole group and shall forfeit all rights and privileges bestowed by The Keeper of the Beer.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Assorted Goodness

First, let's just watch the finish of the Penn Relays 4 x 800 finish with Freshman Robbie Creese anchoring...

Watch more video of 2012 Penn Relays on flotrack.org

And last, let's celebrate the craziness that is Streaking with the Father of the Craze Ron Hill and Friend of the Group and native Philadelphian Michael Fanelli.  Michael will be running his 100,000th mile at this year's Philadelphia Marathon.
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