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Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Duel

It has been nearly 33 years since The Duel, but I remember it as if it was yesterday.  One of the participants has since almost died twice (that we know of) while the other has battled back from alcoholism and severe weight gain.  But neither a heart attack nor hyperthermia could kill the one, and alcoholism the other, and both are still running today.

The 1979 NCAA XC Championships were in Saucon Valley, just south of Bethlehem PA.  Alberto Salazar and Henry Rono were among the stars, and they did not fail to disappoint.  I was lucky enough to see the race with Rob, Mark, Barb, Gary and others who had spent the night with me at my grandfather's house.  It really was a unique opportunity.

Right from the start, it was a duel between Rono and Salazar, which continued for the entire 10K. Alberto, probably outmatched in talent, never had any quit in him, which explains his later brushes with death quite easily.  Rono eventually pulled away, but no one would have said it was easy.

More interesting to our cadre of spectators was seeing a tight bunch of PSU singlets near the front of the pack.  Alan Scharsu, John Zeigler, Bob Snyder (I was wrong here.), Larry Mangan and Tom Rapp were there (who else? Help me here! Dwight Stephens? Jeff Adkins? actually Jeff Adkins, Jim Clelland and Rick Garcia.).  The Nittany Lions became the top team with all Americans to finish.    It seems like yesterday...

Complete Race Results Here

And since I don't have video of it, here's the trailer for the movie High Noon.


  1. Alan Scharsu, John Zeigler, Ricky Garcia, Larry Mangan and Tom Rapp were there (Clelland, Jeff Adkins).

  2. I was very close! How could I forget "Noisy" Jim Clelland? And Ricky Garcia in place of Snyder, who had graduated by then!!! Bob will get a kick out of that since I ran in by his Facebook page! (Facepalm for sure!)

  3. that would be "noisy" "steve" clelland, by far the best #7 man there that day. would've been a scorer on all but 5 teams that day.

  4. I've seen it quoted on this site (not know for its accuracy :) that Harry believed the '79 team was his best. The '80 team which also finished 3rd (by 1 point) may lay claim to that title. That three year string ('78-'80) of Top 5 NCAA finishes was 4th, 3rd and 3rd. It was an honor to be part of those squads. LTM

  5. I must add that I work very hard to bring the PSU Track Alumni Golf universe mostly accurate information. I only introduce inaccuracies to help boost participation! hee hee


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