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...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Almost Heaven

The vacation continues with spotty internet access at best.  If West Virginia is "Almost Heaven", then I am certain that Heaven has no internet at all.  Which is probably a great thing.

The challenges have continued, with 60 mph winds and torrential rains thrashing our 2-tent camp site.  A wasp stung my wife between the eyes, giving her a look not unlike Nancy Pelosi after those mysterious 2 week absences she has twice yearly.  Trees down in town have Harper's Ferry without electricity on a day slated to reach 110 degrees.

And I barely got the news that Bridget Franek is an Olympian!  Matt Lincoln and Fawn Dorr both have made the finals in Canada.  Karlee McQuillen made the finals of the Javelin and there are others on the teams scattered around the globe.  Our efforts to popularize and promote PSU Track will thus continue.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Trapped Like a Rat in West Virginia

A whole week of vacation was put in jeopardy when the minivan hauling my teardrop trailer decided to blow up.   Thankfully it was only 1/2 mile from our destination, and the wonderful people of West Virginia came through for us in a big way.  No questions asked, they helped us unhook and then hauled our trailer to the campsite, thus restoring my faith in humanity.  I can't say enough good things to the good Samaritans in this limited-internet bubble along the Potomac River. The money I would have tipped them, which they steadfastly denied, will be used to further the cause of the 1,000 Mile Relay for the Kevin Dare Foundation.

My wedging of the campfire ring onto the back tire of our trail vehicle further threatened the beginning of "a week of leisure" I have worked more than 6 months for.  Luckily Uncle Gary was there to figure out a way out of the mess.  Now, just a new transmission and a new rear tire will put me back in action, although my blood pressure is sky-high and "leisure" is illusory at best.

A week at Gold's Gym on the treadmill for $35 is a bargain, as my hamstring still isn't able to handle the hills of West Virginia.  Hopefully, internet access with shortly improve so I can figure out what is going on in "the real world" soon. Good luck to the Nittany Lions at the Olympic Trials, Bridget Franek and the Javelin Throwers(?).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's Decision Day!

I'm not talking about 1/6th of the US Economy, and I'm not talking about walking guns.  I'm talking about those running shoes you are about to buy.

Like many, you are thinking of jumping on the minimalism band-wagon because you have been inundated with the coolness of shoes with toes and promises of never being injured again.  But how many of you spent $10 back in the day for a Pet Rock, or even more for a mail-order pair of x-ray specs from that comic book you liked?  Barefoot shoes are the Earth Shoes of the 10's!  Don't be suckered in by the hype.

I have a little experience with the function of, and injuries to the foot.  Like with anything else, some people can get by quite well with anything.  The vast majority of us can't however.  Where Abebe Bikila can get away with running a marathon barefoot (quite well may I add), most of us would be doing ourselves a big disfavor.

People who would love to sell you shoes with less (for more money!) will tell you that by shunning support, you'll strengthen your feet and leave injuries behind.  But my 25 years of experience and my rudimentary knowledge of Physics tell me otherwise.  You could become the History of the World's person with the strongest feet ever, and you could still come down with a severe case of Plantar Fascitis that will leave you unable to run.  Don't fall for the hype.  Actually, the hype on both ends of the spectrum of Running Shoes is just that, hype.

The best running shoes I have come across have always been the Nike's I ran with in the early 80's.  I could still run in several pairs of them I saved, even after all those miles and all these years.  There really wasn't much special about them except that all the manufacturing problems had been ironed out by then and the new-fangled materials that limit their life were not yet concocted.  That means they had a midsole of some shock absorbing material that didn't bottom out after 500 miles and an outsole that actually was more resistant to abrasion than today's materials.

As one of my more knowledgeable professors once told me, "A little heel height never hurt anyone."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Happy Anniversary and Happy Birthday

First up is Happy Birthday to my youngest daughter, Anne!

Last, but not least, is Happy 24th Anniversary to Barb!

And help me out on the poll question on the left sidebar.  "What would be the best way to celebrate our 25th Anniversary next year?"

Williky/Whiting Lincoln/Kennedy?

In 1977, one of the most highly recruited shot-putters was Gary Williky, a resident of New Jersey, ON THE EAST COAST.

In 2007*, one of the most highly recruited shot-putters was Ryan Whiting, a resident of Pennsylvania, which is next to New Jersey, ON THE EAST COAST. Unbelievable.

Both Ryan and Gary have last names beginning with "W".  Eerie.

Both Ryan and Gary have first names which are 4 letters long.  Can you believe it?

Both Ryan and Gary have last names which are 7 letters long.  It doesn't stop.

Both Ryan and Gary have been known to wear Nikes.* Astounding.

Gary started his Shot Put career at Penn State and then traveled to Arizona State.  Ryan started his Shot Put career at Arizona State and traveled to Penn State.  Unprecedented.

Both Ryan and Gary are 6' 3" tall.*  Uncanny.

Both Ryan and Gary like puppies.**  (and possibly kittens.)

Neither Ryan nor Gary are Vegans.* Certainly.

Both Ryan and Gary are married. I'm stretching it, aren't I?

ASU/PSU have 3 letters each. (hat-tip to Gary!)

Tempe and State College each have 5 numbers in its zip code. (another tip-o-the-cap to Gary!)

Both Ryan and Gary have Facial hair. (one last huzzah to Gary for this one!)

Gary held the ASU Shot Put record from 1981 until 2010, when RYAN WHITING surpassed it. (Records were made to be broken.)

* Facts may have been altered to fit the narrative. So shut up already.
** Everybody likes puppies, right?

Here's a fine rendition of the Lincoln/Kennedy coincidences.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I've Always Loved the Decathlon

Can't do it, but I do enjoy watching it.  It's also the greatest event for geeks and statistic junkies, which is exactly how Frank Zarnowski originally got interested in it.  I had the pleasure of meeting Professor Zarnowski while in high school and visiting his Cross Country Camp he ran with Navy's Al Cantello at Mount Saint Mary's College in Maryland.  It turns out he grew up just a stone's throw away from my homestead in Weiglestown, PA. He is from Shiloh, PA just across the raging Little Conawago Creek from the town of Weigle. He invited a very good runner from Massachusetts to the camp after watching him annihilate the Soviets in a Junior race in 1975, which is how I got to take a few runs with Alberto Salazar, well before anyone else had heard much about him.

Professor Zarnowski is a professor of economics at Mount Saint Marys and now Dartmouth, so his geek status was well entrenched before he ever contemplated the decathlon.  The rest is history, and is best learned from sources other than my own!  Here is his Decathlon Blog, which I'll also add the the right sidebar.

Another Nittany Lion to the Finals!

Bridget Franek secured her place in the Olympic Trials 3000 M Steeplechase Finals yesterday with the day's second best time.  Go Bridget!

(Photo from Mark Whitman.  Thanks, whoever you are!)

Monday, June 25, 2012

PSU is Shot Put U

Blake Eaton, Ryan Whiting and Joe Kovacs following the Finals of the Shot Put at the USATF Championships and Olympic Trials.

The Happy Valley trio did some extraordinary work over the two-day competition.  Blake ended up in 11th place3 (61' 8 1/2").  Joe set the new PSU record with a 4th place finish (69' 2") and Ryan made the Olympic team with his second place toss (71' 1/4").

And don't let me forget that Altoona's own PSU Sophomore Brady Gehret made the finals in the 400 M, where he ran the fastest 300 M of his life.  As he said after, "Too bad the race is 400 M!" .  I cannot wait to see what the next two years will bring him!

Watch more video of 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Track & Field on flotrack.org

Next up for PSU is Bridget Franek in the Steeplechase Prelims.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Four With Nittany Lion Ties In Finals Today

Brady Gehret will be smack dab in the middle of today's 400 M Finals at the Olympic Trials after he again tied his PR with a 45.22 tin the semi-finals.  Good Luck Brady!

And all 3 Shot Putters from Happy Valley will appear in today's Finals!  Assistant Coach Ryan Whiting is currently in third place while Blake Eaton and Joe Kovacs are in 5th and 10th place with the final 3 throws to come. Even I have caught Shot Put Fever lately with Blake and Joe checking out my form at the Alumni "Run" in May.

Thanks to Larry Mangan for the article and my daughter Anne for the photo!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chris Cralle Earns an Honorary Group Membership

Who says we don't like the Hammer here?  Especially when it comes with a soft-spoken Texan with a plain green t-shirt coming in second at the American National Championships!  I salute you Chris!

"Iron Butt" is Logging a Lot of Miles

Paul Mundy is on another Cross-Country trip on his motorcycle (made in York, PA if anyone is interested!).  You can follow his exploits on his daughter's blog, who joins him on large portions of his excursions.  Since I can't possibly do what he does, I'm certainly glad someone is there to help me pretend. May the roads be smooth, and the seats be soft!

Gehret Moves On!

Brady Gehret was third in his heat of the opening round of the Olympic Trials 400 M, securing a place in the semi-finals.  His overall place was 11th with a 45.80 in the cold,cold Oregon rain.

Here's an article in the CDT on Brady sent by our intrepid and ever-vigilant Datum Procurement Specialist.  The photo was secured from Rebekka Simko, who placed 27th in the 800 M with a 2:07.33. Casimir Loxsom placed 26th in the 800 M with a 1:49.25.

Rebecca Donaghue ran a game 10000 M through the puddles,  placing 13th in 32:37.39.

Today, 3 with Nittany Lion ties put themselves in the circle in the Mens Shot Put.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Another Reason Aspiring High School Distance Runners Should Choose Penn State

Among the hundreds of reasons why Penn State is a great choice for distance runners is the opportunity to run in some of the most beautiful locations in the country.  Some of my favorite "Mountain" runs are:

  1. Bear Meadows/Switchbacks
  2. Pine Barrens
  3. Colyer Lake
  4. Harry's Valley Road
  5. Deer Pens/Observatory/Game Lands
I rarely complained about the Sunday Mountain Runs and have always considered them one of the highlights of my PSU years.

Here's an article discussing how running in a forest is twice as good as running in a gym. We may have to arrange for the Alumni "Run" to be downhill at one of the Mountain Runs with handy Van transportation to and from.  (Maybe it isn't such a good idea for those of us who have experienced being lost on one of these runs!)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Beauty and The Beasts

In addition to Brady Gehret and Casimir Loxsom, Rebekka Simko will also be on the track Friday at the Olympic Trials.  Her recent 2:03 School Record places her into the top echelon of American "half milers".

The photo shows Nittany Lions Joe Kovacs and Blake Eaton checking out the facilities at Hayward Field.  And don't forget Assistant Coach Ryan Whiting will join them to give the Shot Put a distinctive Blue hue.

Here's a better view of Hayward Field for Joe and Blake to peruse, with the addition of some great golf tips thrown in.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wiki Needs Leaks!

There have been a few anonymous edits of the very new Group Wiki, but much more is needed. Stop by and add a page, amend an error, add a sentence, supply a photo or video or just check it out and pass it along to a friend.  I added the Official Rules of the Coach Groves Golf Tournament recently which could convince a few more of you to join us next year!

First Up at Trials Will Be Gehret and Loxsom

The first PSU Athletes to see action in the Olympic Trials will be Brady Gehret and Casimir Loxsom, pictured here on the right and left with the other members of the Penn Relays Sprint Medley Relay victors.

Brady Gehret will be in the opening round of the 400 M on Friday June 22 at 3:10 PM (Pacific Time).  He has qualified with the 14th fastest time in 45.22.

Casimir Loxsom will lace up his spikes at 5:20 PM (Pacific Time) on the same day in the 800 M.  He has the 8th fastest time in qualifying with his 1:45.28.

Here is a listing of the TV Coverage for the events.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Big Ten Network to Feature Womens Team Victory On 25-Hours of Penn State Celebration

The second of Penn State's Womens Team Indoor Track and Field victories in the B1G conference championships will air on Wednesday June 20th at 10:30AM during the network's 25 hours of Penn State Coverage.

Addendum:  Paul Souza and the Velveteen Playboys will be appearing at the Olympic Trials on  June 29th following the day's events.  Don't forget, he's coming to the main band-stand at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts on Friday evening July 13th!

Thoughts Turn to the Olympic Trials

There are a number of current and former PSU athletes slated to compete at the USATF Olympic Trials starting tomorrow.  Rather than try to go through the list and royally screw things up as always, I'll try to keep up day-by-day.  I'll still screw it up, but what the Heck.

First up may be Hammer Thrower Melissa Kurzdorfer, still listed as Provisional in a field of only 14 Declared athletes.
Addendum: Alas, Melissa was not accepted to the Trials.

The Trials follow the same schedule as the Olympic Games, so they are stretched out quite a bit, so we'll have a little to talk about each day.  Drop me a line if there is something I missed, and if you are there, send me photos, videos, thoughts, stories or general taunting that I have to work and you are hanging out in Oregon.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The First Time I Met Coach Groves

It was June, 1977 and it was just a few weeks after my victory at the 1977 PA Class B Two-Mile State Championship.  I wasn't cocky or anything like that, and I had put in a couple of 100 mile weeks.  I probably averaged 75 or so through the track season, with two-a-days 5 days per week.  I was pretty much self coached and it seemed I was doing way more than many of the runners around me.  Boy, did I have another thing coming?!

I had a couple of friends heading to State College for some fun and I asked to tag along.  I was hoping to see Coach Groves and ask about walking-on and knew absolutely nothing at all about it.  I planned on heading to his office and just introducing myself, and that's just what I did.  Coach Groves' office at that time was in Rec Hall, just above the area where the men's locker rooms were.  I remember Coach Paterno's office was there also, which probably made for some super great times, I have come to learn!

I walked in and there he was, surrounded by photos, papers and memorabilia from a track career that seemed to have gone on forever already, and he was just getting started. I had been warned about Coach by several local high school coaches, who intimated that he was gruff and most-likely worse. I was told to brace for some foul language. I had no idea what I was getting into, and was rather intimidated.  (That's a feeling I still have a small degree of today, each and every time I see him.)

He started in on a conversation as if we knew each other for years, referring to people I had no idea of.  I saw photos of many runners, throwers, jumpers and who knows what else amidst the voluminous piles of papers with his distinctive scrawl on them.  The only person I recognized was Greg Fredericks. I have recently learned he has saved all those "notes" which should be a treasure trove for anyone willing to go through them.  Through the conversation, I was trying very hard to find out if I could walk onto the team, and he kept referring to the coming distance recruits as top-notch or something similar, (that turned out to be Larry Mangan and Tom Rapp).  Just when I was about to give up, he asked about my mileage currently and  told me I would need to do a  little more to keep up, and he would see me in the Fall.  I was in!  At the time I didn't know that there were many more of "me" in, including several other State Champions and second-place finishers from our year alone.

That very first conversation continues today each time I see Coach at one of our events, or a Cross Country Meet or Indoor Meet I try to make each year.  He seems to be able to start in right where he left off the last time he saw you, even if years intervene. I look forward to the next time...

Coming Soon:  "Running in China", another in the series of my self-indulgent blog rantings, this time with a Hospital Visit!   Don't forget to help out our new Wiki effort.  Add anything you would like.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

"PSU is 800 U" and Now YOU Can Help Expand Our Universe!

Yesterday in Indianapolis, Rebecca Simko set the new PSU 800 M record with a splendid 2:03.09Kara Millhouse kept the momentum going with a new PR in the 5000 M with a 16:16.72.  Congrats to everyone involved.

And I figured I didn't have enough on my hands with my day job, this blog, Twitter and Facebook activities so I started our group's very own Wiki.

That means YOU can help.  It's easy.  YOU get to add anything you want.  YOU can add new pages, topics, photos, videos or just a sentence or two.  Remember the mirth. 

Watch more video of 2012 American Miler's Club Series, Meet #4 on flotrack.org

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Celebrate My 5-Year Running Streak Anniversary By Ordering a Track Alumni Singlet: Only One Week Left to Order

We're cutting off orders in one week to get the manufacturing process underway.  Get your little taste of PSU Track Alumni goodness before time runs out. There are both male and female versions (the female version is blue with white lettering).  There are sizes for anyone out there.  If your size isn't listed, just let us know; we're all about customer satisfaction.

And I've made the 5 year anniversary of the beginning of my running streak.  With my current health kick, I'll be back in shape for next year's alumni run!

Help spread the word of the greatest Track and Field Alumni Group in the entire world.  The Alumni Singlets look especially good on the Awards Stand!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Penn State Football Has Noticed Us!

One of the best things to happen this past year was the joining of our humble group with the actual PSU Track Program in order to make the Reunion Event better than it has ever been.  I've been toiling at trying to attract alums from all over for nearly 4 years, and I've had a little success.  But I couldn't land some of the big names in PSU Track and Penn State in general (even though every single one of us is absolutely equally valuable in our group!) Coach Sullivan, the coaching staff and especially Jess Riden helped us out this year and brought in some delightful attendees.  Among them are the 1950 NCAA XC Champions, Horace Ashenfelter and his wife and let's not forget PSU's new Football Coach Bill O'Brien.  Coach O'Brien stopped by our Awards Dinner within the confines of his extremely busy schedule, and delivered a wonderful little speech which should make all of us proud.

USATF Junior Championships

There are a few Nittany Lions at the USATF Junior Championships in Indianapolis this weekend.  Among them is Robbie Creese, seen here on the right celebrating the great 4 x 800 Championship of America victory at the Penn Relays this year. (Addendum:  That's really Ryan Brennan as "The Hulk".  Thanks to the anonymous commenter for the info.  As Emily Litella would say, "Nevermind!") That's him on the right flexing some muscles I, alas, never had.  I did bench my own weight one time, but that was a rare appearance in the weight room while Coach lurked in the background to check on us.  My usual weight workout was to "wait" until Coach Groves left and then skedaddle!

  1. Robbie Creese - 1500 M (3:49.33 to make the finals)
  2. Dynasty McGee - 400 M
  3. Abigail Benson - 3000 M, 3000 M SC

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dogs Are Worth Breaking the Law

And getting government off the backs of 9 year old's selling lemonade in the summer is also a worthy cause.  The "consume at your own risk" is quite a keen touch. (Warning: Glenn Beck is right about this one.  This is from his GBTV.  Watch at your own risk.)

Send me a photo of your dog (or cat or chicken!) to place in the Group's Dog Slide Show.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Horace, The Golden Putter, is in Good Hands

 One of the good things about being somewhat connected to the organization of the Annual Coach
Groves Golf Tourney
is that I get to meet new people and renew old friendships.  When I purchased the Golden Putter a few years ago to make an Award for the tourney, I hoped it would become a talked-about and worthy item.

With this year's Reunion I finally got the chance to meet the Putter's namesake, Horace Ashenfelter III, which was a big thrill.  He seemed somewhat surprised at the beautiful golden prize and delighted we thought of him enough to name it after him.

 That's Jeff Sanden, last year's winner of the Longest Putt Award on Hole 18 at the tourney holding Horace for the actual 15 seconds of the full year I had promised!  What can I say, I am sometimes a little off on my facts...

This year's longest putt was made by Dennis Hendershot, father of PSU's 7-foot  High Jumper Jon Hendershot.  I was pleased to meet a new friend and amazed at some of the shared memories of the Slate Belt we have in common.  Dennis is actually a bone fide golfer in a league and everything, but won't be able to use Horace since he is left-handed.  I never dreamt I would need a left-handed version at any point in the tourney's history.  I suppose I will now inquire with Ned Flanders at The Leftorium to see if I can pick one up for the future.  Dennis promises updates and photos from Horace's travels this year.  That's Dennis with Coach Groves in a photo Coach has asked me to forward to him.  I suppose I'll send it to Jess Riden, she will know what to do with it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Teddy Quinn is Our Director of Fun

Or at least would be, if we could get him to golf with us!  He may be more apt to appear next year now that I have taken PSU Track Alumni Golf onto Twitter.  He was the first of many to advise me to make the leap onto another Social Network.  It only took this confirmed hermit 3 years to get there!  Now I have to figure out how to use it to the advantage of our group.  I may even try to attract Followers by promising exclusive content, otherwise not seen in the Track Alumni Golfers Universe. Don't forget to Follow me to see what I come up with.

Speaking of Directors of Fun, here's the Charleston RiverDog's Director of Fun bringing back memories of Rick Dempsey at the venerable Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.

And let's not forget some real Track and Field content.  Here's PSU's and Canada's very own Matt Lincoln rounding into shape with a fine 3:39.32 1500M.

Watch more videos on Flotrack

Monday, June 11, 2012

Brannon Kidder Impresses At Adidas Grand Prix*

Following up on his triple Gold performance at the Ohio High School Championships, Penn State recruit Brannon Kidder traveled to Icahn Stadium in New York for the Adidas Grand Prix Boys Dream Mile. His 4:03.12 PR bodes well for his upcoming tenure in Happy Valley.

*Thanks to PSU Track Alumni Golfer Bob Hudson for the info!

Fungus Amungus

Just a frivolous little post I found very interesting while waiting for the USATF Junior Championships and the Olympic Trials.  I wonder, who would admit to having so much fungus in their shower that they would see images in it?  And who would want the world to know about it?

Something tells me there won't be pilgrimages to their bathroom!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

All Kinds of Updates!

Here's Aaron Nodolsky in the 2012 NCAA 4 x 400 Relay Finals in Des Moines, Iowa.  The team ran a second straight 3:01 to nab 4th place!  What a great finish for PSU at the Championships.  The score helped PSU finish 21st as a team, with momentum for much more next year.

Aaron Nodolsky, Brandon Bennett-Green, Casimir Loxsom and Brady Gehret - First Team all-Americans!

Also adding points to the total on the final day of the competition was Joe Kovacs in 4th place in the Shot Put. 

Joe Kovacs - First Team All-American!

Honorary PSU Track Alumni Golfer Rebecca Donaghue set a PR and qualified for the Olympic Trials with her  32:36.05 effort in the 10,000 M. Good luck Rebecca.  (Artie, I guess "putting on the foil" worked!)

PSU's Kara Millhouse set a 40 second PR in the same race with a 32:57.33.  I guess she's an Alumni Golfer now too!

Penn State Recruit Zavon Watkins placed second in the New York High School 1600 with a 4:07.24.  He'll be happy to learn how Happy Valley makes everybody even faster!  That's Zavon running for Liverpool High School.

Preparations are underway for another Penn State Track Alumni Golf Outreach in Suburban Philadelphia some time in August.  This of course involves Kung Pao Chicken, the world's greatest food.  Get in touch with me if you are interested or stay tuned to the blog for more details.

And I'm trying to make the transition to Twitter to reach more of the younger set.  Sign up as a follower of me.  Anyone who understands the whole Twitter Scene can drop me a line with some tips, suggestions or just to generally make fun of me.

And here's Mike Pfaff being interviewed about his role in the feature film Bloody Wedding.  He gives a nice shout out to Penn State Track along the way.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Third First-Team All-American of the NCAA Championship Weekend

That's Brady Gehret on the Awards Stand for the 2012 NCAA 400 M Finals at Des Moines, Iowa.  He placed 6th in 45.44!  He'll be back in action today in the 4 X 400 M Relay.

The other All-Americans:
  • Laura Loht - First Team - Javelin
  • Lauren Kenney - First Team - Javelin
  • Casimir Loxsom - Second Team - 800 M
  • Melissa Kurzdorfer - SecondTeam - Hammer
  • Rebekka Simko - Second Team - 800 M
  • Women's 4 x 400 M Relay - Second Team - (Doris Anyanwu, Dynasty McGee, Ijeoma Iheoma, Kirsten Niewendam)

Friday, June 8, 2012

School Record at NCAA Championships

They did it during the Indoor Season, so why not during the Outdoor Season?  Maybe even a couple of times.  Why not?

The quartet of Aaron Nodolsky (46.6), Brandon Bennett-Green (44.8), Casimir Loxsom (45.6) and Brady Gehret (44.22), qualified first for the finals of the 4 x 400 M Relay to be held on Saturday.  This gives them the Outdoor School Record by more than 2 seconds.   3:01.52

Brady Gehret will lace up the spikes on Friday evening in the Open 400M also.

As an editorial note, I have to say that the 400M has always been the event I never wanted to run.  It always seemed to me that it was the event that created the most lactic acid and brought someone closest to collapse at the end.  In high school I was often threatened with being placed as anchor on the 4 x 440 Yard Relay, which kept me the most behaved member of the team.

Having run thousands of "quarters" in training over the years, I have a healthy respect for anyone willing and able to run that distance in under 50 seconds.  although 54 was probably my very limited PR, I was able to run a 58 at the end of a 2-Mile, for whatever that is worth.

My hats are off to these guys, and I wish them luck in the finals.  May the stick fall right into your hands and may the track be scorched!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Eugene Orowitz Could Throw the Javelin Also

It was a good day in Des Moines for Penn State Javelin throwers yesterday at the NCAA Championships.  Freshman Lauren Kenney placed fourth in the event with a throw of 167' 10".  And Sophomore Laura Loht topped that with her third place throw of 169' 4"PSU is Javelin U.

In high school back in the 50's, Eugene Orowitz didn't really enjoy the academic side of things despite having an IQ higher than almost all of us in The Group.  But he did discover a knack for throwing the Javelin and won the New Jersey High School State Meet with a National Record 193' 4" in 1954.  That landed him a scholarship to USC despite coming in next to last in his high school class at Collingswood High School in Oaklyn NJ. (Also the Alma Mater of "The Great Bile")

When he blew his shoulder out after the first track meet of his Freshman campaign, academics couldn't keep him in school, so he drifted into Hollywood and became Michael Landon.*

*Garth Brooks was also a champion Javelin Thrower.  And don't forget how Coach Groves tried to recruit Al Cantello, the world record holder in the Javelin.  Coach Cantello has been coaching the distance runners at the Naval Academy since 1963, I think.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Nittany Lions Start NCAA Championships Today

There will be 6 Nittany Lions competing today at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines.

  1. Will Barr - Discus
  2. Lauren Kenney - Javelin
  3. Laura Loht - Javelin
  4. Casimir Loxsom - 800 M
  5. Brady Gehret - 400 M
  6. Rebekka Simko - 800 M
PSU is 800 U  and  PSU is Javelin U!

"The Streak" in Jeopardy?

It's not quite as dramatic as that, but I somehow "pulled" my hamstring while sleeping, I think.  It's been 3 days now and I've had to hobble several miles daily and just one yesterday because of it.  I need 10 more days to complete 5 years without missing a day.

Advice, encouragement and prayers would be appreciated.  It's stupid, I know, but it's all I got!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Matt Woodrum and Meghan Vogel: Honorary PSU Track Alumni Golfers

First, Matt Woodrum, a better 400 M runner than I.

And last, (if only in this race!), Ohio 1600 M State Champion Meghan Vogel.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ohio Recruit Wins 3 Golds at State Meet: PSU is 800 U

Penn State's Middle Distance and Distance corps will be augmented next year by Brannon Kidder from Lancaster, Ohio.  This keeps the tradition alive of former Nittany Lions Clark Haley and John Zishka, both from the same High School.

(Zavon Watkins, another Lion miler recruit from New York State will be competing this weekend in their state championships.)

Brannon Kidder started off his triple gold performance on Friday night by helping his 4 x 800 team to a win with a 1:50.xx split.  Some argue it was a 1:49.xx.  He then won the 1600 M and the 800 M individually on Saturday.  His 1:51.77 and 4:09.98 bode well for his coming PSU career.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Life Back On Track

Luke Watson's and Ryan Foster's idea of a  10 Man/1,000 Mile Relay is coming in August.  The event will benefit the Life Back on Track Scholarship which will be given to a high school athlete who has suffered an injury or illness, allowing them to pursue their academic goals in college.  All in the name of Kevin Dare, who suffered his fatal injury 10 years ago already.

The relay will begin at the pole vault pit at the Minnesota Indoor Track and wind its way back to Kevin's home and Penn State's Campus.  The runners hope to complete the event in less than 99 hours and 3 minutes, thus achieving the world record.

I have sent a personal and humble donation to the Scholarship Drive in the name of our entire group and I urge each of you to check it out and hopefully support them also.  I offered some advice also, but my usual "Start slow and taper off"  marathon advice won't get the job done!  They need to average less than 6 minutes/mile for the record.  I just wish it was 1977 again, as I would have helped them out back then.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

You'll Poke Your Eye Out, Kid!

When I somehow linked the Steeplechase to Javelin Throwing in a previous post, I had no idea there was anyone practicing both of the disciplines.  Leave it to Kelly O'Brien to prove me wrong.  He received his javelin in the mail recently, and plans to try out the event in an upcoming Senior Meet.  He'll also return to the event that made him famous at PSU, the Steeplechase, after 30 years of avoiding the barriers and water-jump.

I have put a poll up on the left side-bar to place your bet on what will happen when combining these two events. (It's all in good fun.)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ten Questions: Ryan Foster

I took Ryan Foster away from his preparations for the 1,000 Mile Relay to benefit the Kevin Dare Foundation long enough for him to answer our Famous Ten Questions. Please give your consideration to donating to their cause.  It was great having Ryan golf with us this year, adding a great international flair to the event.

1. How was coming to America different than you first imagined?
1) A really big thing I noticed was the formality when being served by someone. Going through customs in America there is a lot of "Hello sir, can I please see your passport sir?", in Australia, you get to customs and receive a "G'day mate, got ya passport?". I've certainly picked up a habit of using sir and ma'am on a daily basis.

2. What do you miss the most when you are here?
2) Being in central PA, I miss the beach the most. I never lived more than 5 miles from the beach before I moved to the US.

3. How much more uptight are Americans as compared to Tasmanians?
3) I think that Americans are unnecessarily uptight about a number of things, particularly gas prices. 
$4 a gallon hasn't been seen in Australia since the 90s so I still think it is absurdly cheap.

4. How does distance training differ compared with Australia?
4) Training is very similar. At Penn State, I certainly do more volume and less workouts. In Aus, I would typically do 3-4 workouts a week. I was also hurt a lot more back then...

5. How do the climate patterns in State College compare to those in Hobart?
5) Hobart is a mild-temperate climate so reasonably consistent year round. The record low is 27 F and high is 105 F, winter averages low 50s F, and summer right about 70 F.

6. Budweiser or Fosters?
6) I have to admit, I have never had a Fosters... Budweiser is okay, but the king of this category of beer is Miller Lite. Hands down.

7. Who came up with the 1,000 Mile Relay idea?
7) He's going to be a professor one day, so no surprise Luke Watson came up with this one. We were on a run one day with the team and somehow got talking about doing a crazy run. Luke happened to mention it was almost exactly 1,000 miles from Minneapolis to State College. I put two-and-two together pretty quick, and within a week, Ed Dare had agreed to throw his hat into the ring.

8. You do know that it will be really, really difficult, don't you?
People keep saying that it is going to be hard, but I think we have a very, very good strategy. I interviewed Vince yesterday about question marks that had been raised about his fitness by a few unnamed sources, and he said, "at the end of the day it's not going to be about how fit I am, it's going to be about determination." Vince is crazy though. It's definitely going to be about fitness, and I think we are all in really good shape (except Vince apparently).

9. Do the efforts of our rag-tag Alumni Group mean anything to the current team members?
9) Oh man, I love the Alumni Group. I read this blog everyday and try to get involved as much as possible. It's been really great to see the alumni come out of the woodwork the last few years and get more involved with Penn State track. There have been guys who gave me support and advice through my college career, and continue to regularly now as a post-collegiate.
 10. Who is the most famous Physicist in Australia?
 10) I can't think of anyone off the top of my head. I can't imagine we have many. In my personal experience, most of our best and brightest do economics.

Foursome of Favorites Fail to Finish

10)  John Gondak, Steve Shisler, Paul Mundy, Clark Haley (dnf)

This exact team ran away with the title last year and was the British Gambler's odds-on favorite to run away with it again.  But all the bets were for naught, as the Dream Team failed to finish the 18-holes in the regulation time period.

Paul "Crazy Pants" Mundy boomed drive after drive with "The Beast" to no avail. Let's be thankful he drives his Harley straighter than his golf drives!

Steve Shisler was disappointed in not getting his name on The Cup a second time. (And I failed to give him the photos from the 1985 Penn Relays 4 x 800 Championship of America for the second straight year!) 

Coach John Gondak became the Spokesman for the group when Clark became lost on the golf course somewhere on the front nine with just several holes remaining.  He held up well under the pressure of the podium at the Awards Dinner.  Which I am thankful for.

Clark Haley finally found a way to not win his own Golf Tournament.  And I'm thankful that Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golfers always are willing to help anyone in need.  Just like the group Clark started in 2002!
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