20th Annual Penn State Track and Field/XC Reunion

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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

All* the PSU Mentions in the Year End Track and Field News Rankings

  1. Casimir Loxsom                     1:45.75           800M
  2. Brannon Kidder                      1:46.87           800M
  3. Za'Von Watkins                       2:22.02         1000M
  4. Ryan Brennan                          2:23.14         1000M
  5. Robbie Creese                         3:57.11          1 Mile
  6. Tyler McCandless                   1:03:16          1/2 Marathon
  7. Tyler McCandless                   2:16:46          Marathon
  8. Jon Hendershot                        7' 3.25"         High Jump
  9. Ryan Whiting                          73' 1.25"        Shot Put  (1)
  10. Michael Shuey                        230' 6"           Javelin
  11. PSU 4 x 400 M Men                  3:06.21          
  12. PSU 4 x 800 M   Men                7:14.14          (1) (World Leader)
  13. PSU 4 x Mile   Men                16:19.72    
  14. PSU Sprint Medley Men          3:18.52
  15. PSU Distance Medley Men      9:24.68
  16. Mahogany Jones                         11.33          100M
  17. Mahogany Jones                         23.19           200M
  18. Shana Cox                                51.12             400M
  19. Bridget Franek                         9:35.42          3000 M SC
  20. Natalie Bower                         10:07.86         3000 M SC
  21. Evonne Britton                        13.06              100M Hurdle
  22. Kiah Seymour                         58.22              400M Hurdle
  23. Stephanie Pezzullo                  1:13:58           1/2 Marathon
  24. Stephanie Pezzullo                  2:38:03           Marathon
  25. Marlene Ricketts                     42' 4.75"         Triple Jump
  26. Laura Loht                               177' 8"            Javelin
  27. Lauren Kenney                        177 3"             Javelin
  28. PSU 4 x 400M Women           3:33.47        
  29. PSU 4 x 1500M Women         18:02.32
  30. PSU Sprint Medley Women    3:53.21
* Of course I missed some.  So anyone knowing of others, please add them in the comments.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Quite a Bit For a High School Senior

Tessa Barrett
When Tessa Barrett crossed the line first at the Foot Locker National Championships in California last month, she set off a lot of jabber from many different directions.

There were the various naysayers of the relative quality of the Foot Locker versus the Nike Cross Country Nationals.  There were the band-wagon jumpers from all over.  There were the haters from the web-sites, who seem to jump at any opportunity to degrade just about anyone.  There were even the Penn State Haters out there who have no clue about our program and just want to somehow align us with a horrible predator none of us has ever had anything to do with. 

But then there's Coach John Gondak and the rest of the coaching staff who had her signed up for a Nittany Lion education even before all of that happened.

Welcome Tessa, we look forward to your growth as an athlete and a student.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Time Is Running Out For Voting In The Performance of The Year!

There is still a little time left to vote.  Go to the left sidebar and vote for your top 2 before time runs out. This year's Finalists are:
  1. Casimir Loxsom - Athlete of the Meet at Penn Relays.
  2. Ryan Whiting 2nd at the IAAF World Championships in the Shot Put.
  3. Casimir Loxsom, Brannon Kidder finishing 2 and 3 in the 800 M at the NCAA Championships.
  4. Distance Medley Relay Victory at Penn Relays (First since 1959).
  5. Cas Loxsom's American Record 600 M at Big Ten Indoor Championships.
  6. Distance Medley Relay Record 9:26.6.
And don't forget to nominate any worthy performances on the right side bar at any time during the next year.  Any activity qualifies, not just athletic performances.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Christmas Miracle: Hope For My Golf Game!

Artist's conception of me improving my golf game.
The fact is, that for the past several years I have only golfed once a year.  That's readily apparent to anyone who comes to the event.  Not a good way to impress anyone on that special weekend in May.  Those who pay just a little attention think that golf is a big part of what's going on here.  That isn't true.  But certainly golfing with us and Coach Groves is highly recommended. I really wish I could practice just a bit for the event, but I know I won't.

But! I have been dismayed that I have been experiencing difficulty with sleep lately.  Whether it is due to a general lack of fitness, aging or some other nefarious reason has had me a little worried.

Now that I have read this in the NYT, I can only pray for the onset of sleep apnea!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Christmas Present From Billy Da Kid.

Here is a video of Casimir Loxsom that has been making the internet rounds, including the front page of LetsRun and Flotrack. Filmed by current varsity team member Billy Cvecko and discusses Cas transition to post collegiate training

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to My (and Matt's etc.!) Dozens of Readers

Don't forget to vote for your top 2 Performances of the Year on the left sidebar.  Go ahead, you lurker there.  We won't bite.  And the NSA doesn't even care if you click on any of them anyway. You are safe with us.

Remember to support Track and Field in all it's forms, especially Penn State's special version.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Finals of the Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golf Performance of the Year Awards!

It is that special time of year.  Of course, I'm talking about our Annual POY Awards.  Last year's winner, Bridget Franek, received a prize pack worth over $100 from our very own store.  I'm busy scrounging up loose change to be able to do the same this year.

The second Semi-Round is complete with 3 more added to the finals.  So that means the six Finalists are:

  1. Casimir Loxsom - Athlete of the Meet at Penn Relays.
  2. Ryan Whiting 2nd at the IAAF World Championships in the Shot Put.
  3. Casimir Loxsom, Brannon Kidder finishing 2 and 3 in the 800 M at the NCAA Championships.
  4. Distance Medley Relay Victory at Penn Relays (First since 1959).
  5. Cas Loxsom's American Record 600 M at Big Ten Indoor Championships.
  6. Distance Medley Relay Record 9:26.6.
I am allowing everyone to vote for their top 2.  Vote on the left sidebar.  Those who only lurk through mobile means may need to visit the full web site to see the poll.  Please spread the word to everyone you know.  The more the merrier!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Birthday Joe

There are those on each side of the fence on Coach Paterno, and I know where I stand.  I'm a fairly good judge of character, but a much better judge of lack of character. And there was none of that in the Joe Paterno I crossed paths with numerous times.

My favorite of all encounters was just a few minutes after a home victory sometime in the early 90's (when I actually rented a year-round efficiency apartment on College Avenue in order to go to all the games year-round).

After the game. like thousands of others, I was trudging to the Creamery (in the old location near North Halls).  I was waiting for someone, just standing around watching the hordes.  A pick up truck split the crowd and stopped at the intersection.  Out from the bed jumped JoePa, who calmly walked away toward home, with only me realizing who he was.  I read later that he had guests for dinner and couldn't be late.  Just minutes after the game. He usually walked the whole way.

And there was that other time that I said "hello" to him as he walked by the White Course during our Coach Groves Golf Tourney in 2006.  That's the one that got me onto the Coach Groves Memorial Cup.  Yeah, I don't believe in coincidences either!

Jay Paterno alone at his father's statue.(Photo by Barb Black during an early Sunday run.)
Happy Birthday Joe.

Friday, December 20, 2013

"The Rest of the Story"

Yeah, I stole that.  I do that a lot.  But it fits this post so well..

When several very astute and alert people in our Group saw that brief glimpse of a Penn State Track jacket at the Mandela Funeral in South Africa, the question went out.  "Who is it?"

It wasn't long until he was identified via the email listserv.  But then it ended...

I wanted to know more.  And as someone who has taken it upon himself to try to "herd cats" and unite all PSU Track and Field/XC Alumni, I had to find out more.

Well, I was successful.  And in the Spirit of this Season, it brings a measure of Hope with it.  Nelson Mandela is rightly seen by many around the world as South Africa's George Washington.  And that doesn't demean either one of them, it actually enhances each of them. Both were given the opportunity to become "Kings" following long durations of suffering and "battles" lost.  But when given the opportunity, both said "no" and ruled with magnanimity, compassion and wisdom.  Take a look at the trajectories of South Africa and Zimbabwe, and you know how much Mandela means to the world.

It turns out that it was Tim Webb, Class of 1990 High Jumper, Triple Jumper and Long Jumper who was there for that brief snippet on NBC News.  But I've written posts on much less than that snippet.  Hence, this post.

Tim Webb, Class of 1990.

I got in touch with Tim via the wonderful part of the Internet and got the opportunity to find out more about the whole thing.  I'll just give you what he emailed me:

I came to visit my American Family in Johanesburg for thanksgiving. Once I got the news on the 5th of December I was compelled to extend my stay.
My family friend Ricardo Gressel was my host and his wife is a long term ANC supporter. They built a Mandela garden in their front yard and every night we lit candles and sung freedom songs.  What is unique about this is they live in a majority white neighborhood and they wanted to let their neighbors and community know that they could celebrate Madiba life with them as he was a man for all the people no matter what the color. See attached picture.

On Tuesday we left at 4:40 am in the morning on the local train to FNB stadium in Soweto where the Memorial Service for the public was held.  This was an awesome and unique experience as the family and other comrades as they boarded the train sang and danced on the train all the way to the Stadium gates at 6:00 am for a program that did not start till noon.  This was amazing to see the unity and togetherness and love for Madiba. To top it off our president did an excellent Job!  See pictures of Obama on Screen and my family who attended as well.
Unfortunately the Funeral event was VIP so I did not make it to the burial. However every night including Sunday we lit candles and song freedom songs. We also visited Mandela home as well to lay flowers and pay our respects.
I have made t shirts we want to sell for $20 dollars with $5.00 going to Mandela Children's Foundation. See the picture at Nelson Mandela house.
On a different note I have been to SA many times as a Fellow of the Emerging Leaders Program organized by Former Ambassador to South Africa Jim Joseph and Duke University and The University of Capetown in 2004 and several times thereafter upto 2006. This was my first time back in 7 years.  I intend to come home for the holidays and return to SA to work on housing development and other ventures.
If you can, I would appreciate it if you could get that clip for me.  Also tell Rodger Williams I said HI!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We Missed At Least One!

It turns out that Chris McGinness also ran the USATF Club Championships last week.  Since I try not  to slight anyone (but of course manage to do so on a nearly daily basis anyway), here's a great picture of a Chris McGinness Snow Angel I stole from the wonderful internetty thingie.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Another Academic Honor By Marriage

Way back, even before I made it to PSU, I met Heather Carmichael at an all-comers meet at Millersville.  She was there with Arthur Lydiard scouting out colleges for his "girls".  I had the pleasure of meeting both of them after I won the 2-Mile and the Steeplechase that day.  Took a nice warm-down run with her when she said she was leaning toward PSU, where I had just found out that Coach Groves would allow me to walk on.  Small world!  I still have one of the mittens Heather made for me in 1978.  Apparently, knitting is easy for someone from a land where sheep outnumber people 2 to 1.

Our Official Physicist and great friend Brian Boyer sent me word of her husband Tom Richardson's recent honor of a Penn State Alumni  Fellow Award.

Heather Carmichael, foreground, with Arthur Lydiard.

Monday, December 16, 2013

An Expanding Group and Help Wanted!

I've received submissions from all kinds of sources lately.  I have to say, I'm really pleased.  If I've dropped the ball on any of them, I'm sorry.  My day job is really starting to interfere with my blogging.

First up, we already know that Tessa Barrett, a future Nittany Lion won the Footlocker National XC Championship last weekend. Also in the race was Regan Rome from Dallas PA, daughter of PSU Track Alumni (Golfer) Amy Aston Rome. She finished 28th.

Scott Munro sends me word on Chris Pruitt, Class of 2004, who happens to still be burning up the roads in Suburban DC.

And just today, several people have sent me word on an Academic Highlight from one of our own.  Jonathan Pritchard has been honored as one of eight PSU Scientists with the Outstanding Science Alumni Award!  I have taken it on myself to add him to next year's Performance of the Year Awards for that.

Remember to vote in the Semi-Finals for the 2013 Performance of the Year.  The second round is a close one to see three more advance to the finals.  You mobile lurkers are being outed again.  Come to the full web site and vote on the left side-bar.  "It don't cost nuthin."

And I'm looking for some help in creating our group's very first podcast.  I'm looking for someone who has some knowledge on the subject to contact me for some advice.  The rewards will be great.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Weekend Action

Some rugged alumni showed their toughness at the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships. They turned in some nice performances but should be given credit just for lacing them up as the course apparently was to intense for Alberto Salazar and the Nike Oregon Project crew. Guess they never learned cross country is not about perfect conditions and setting personal best.

Men 10K
Place   Name        Team Name                  St Time  Pace 
18    Kyle Dawson   Bryn Mawr Running Club     PA 31:50  5:08
31    Owen Dawson   Bryn Mawr Running Club     PA 32:12  5:11      
35    Tyler McCandless Team Alchemy            CO 32:17  5:12
Women 6K
85    Leah Rosenfeld Team Run Flagstaff         AZ 23:56  6:25 
(Full Results for men and women)

Both Kyle and Owen beat American record holder in the mile Alan Webb. That's certainly something to tell the grand kids someday.

The Blue/White Intersquad was yesterday as well and luckly there is a roof over the Horace Ashenfelt III Indoor Track (it snowed a lot in State College). If I had a vote for performance of the meet it would go to Za'von Watkins with a 2:58.12 victory in the 1200. (recap and results)

I will leave you with a photo from Bear Meadow Road taken this morning. I did not see any Nike Oregon Project runners out there.

Not "Rupp Certified"

Second Round Semi-Finals of Performance of the Year

Three performances move on to the Final Round from the first Semi-Final:
  1. Distance Medley Relay Victory at Penn Relays (First since 1959)
  2. Cas Loxsom's American Record 600 M at Big Tens
  3. Distance Medley Relay Record 9:26.6
Now for the second Semi-Final Round to supply 3 more for the Finals.  Vote for 3!  And all you lurkers and Mobile-only readers must go to the full web site to see the poll on the Left Side-Bar.  Spread the word and please vote.

And those 3 people who voted for my wife's 3rd consecutive Goofy Challenge will be rewarded in the next life!  I thank you.
  1. Casimir Loxsom - Athlete of the Meet at Penn Relays.
  2. Al Porto, Class of 1950, winning the Longest Drive at the Coach Harry Groves Golf Tourney.
  3. Casimir Loxsom, Brannon Kidder finishing 2 and 3 in the 800 M at the NCAA Championships.
  4. Casimir Loxsom 1:14 in 600 M in Vancouver.
  5. Ryan Whiting 2nd at the IAAF World Championships in the Shot Put.
  6. Tyler McCandless winning his third Kauia Marathon in record time.
  7. PSU Alumni Team (with Track Alumni Singlets!) winning the team title at the PSU National Cross Country Meet.
  8. Matt Fischer finishing 3rd in the Big Ten XC Championships (highest ever PSU Mens finisher).

Saturday, December 14, 2013

PSU Recruit Wins Footlocker National XC Crown

Tessa Barrett!

Student-Athlete Still Means Something To Me

Most of us know at least the rudiments of John Urschel's tenure at Penn State.  But it's worth dwelling on it a little more than most feel good stories. We may not see this story repeated ever again.

When I first matriculated at PSU, I kind of had an idea of what I wanted to do after college. But I really wanted to improve my running too.  It was something that I only started to excel at (notice I didn't say excel!) in my Senior Year of High School.  That's why I was never on any Division I radar screens, let alone Coach Groves' thought processes.  He already had signed up the PA and Ohio State champions in the Mile.  He also was getting the PA mile runner-up and one of the better 880 yard specialists from PA in just one year.  (That's Larry Mangan, Tom Rapp, Mark Dunmire and George Severine for those keeping track!)* So when I asked (begged?) to be allowed to walk on, I was super delighted to get the chance.  I was always going to PSU, even though I did visit several Division III schools as a courtesy. Every one in my extended family and my wife's family have PSU degrees.  I wasn't going to buck the trend.

But I found that running at a top level (which I almost accomplished my Freshman year) AND getting good grades was harder than it looked.  My first term (yeah youngsters, there were 3 of them every year!) with Calculus, English and Speech humbled me beyond belief. Thank Goodness for Science, is all I can say.  Being a Student-Athlete isn't a jog through the Park.

Another somewhat unheralded athlete came to PSU being called a 2-Star (out of 5) Recruit in recent years.  The fact that he has a bachelor degree, one Masters degree and another Masters degree almost completed while being one of the best offensive lineman in the nation is rather impressive.  When you add that the degrees are in Mathematics, it kind of blows your mind. And he never even got a single "B".  Student-Athlete at its best by definition. Next stop the Wunderlic!  (He'll do better than Vinny Testeverde did, I'm pretty sure.)

I know what Mathematics is all about; my brother has a Masters degree in Computer Science and is near completion of another in Mathematics, in addition to his PSU bachelor degree in Accounting and his PSU MBA degree. I only managed a "C" in college calculus.  John has my utmost respect for what he has accomplished in his 5 years at PSU.  The world is a better place because of it.

So when I hear about college athletes being "paid", I turn off the sound and shake my head.  I'm not saying I'm for it or against it.  I'm just saying that  I will miss "amateur athletics" once it is gone.  And it will be, if it isn't already.  (I'm an idiot, but not blind!)

* Please correct any of that for me if I'm wrong.

Friday, December 13, 2013

USATF Club XC Nationals and Blue/White Weekend.

USATF National Club Cross Country Championships take place tomorrow and will have some of our alums battling the Nations best.  Kyle Dawson and Owen Dawson with the Bryn Mawr Running Club and Tyler McCandless with Newton Running Elite. Goodluck to the guys. Results will be linked on the website over the weekend.

Tomorrow is also the annual Blue/White Intersquad Meet for the varsity team. School records and personal best have been set at this meet and I am sure the team is looking forward to showing their fitness level after training throughout the fall.

And a sad tweet from assistant athletic trainer Ben Evans.

He will certainly be missed but I look forward to possibly seeing him on ESPN when the inevitable football injury happens.

Update: Event schedule for Blue/White.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Paul Souza Headlines the New Track League

The newly formed American Track League will featuring one of our own. Not on the track or in the field but on the stage.

"The American Track League will be a series of international caliber track and field meets throughout the United States. The meet structure is designed to be quick and exciting with little lag time between events and with live music played throughout the meet. The traveling house band of the meet series is the Boston based Velveteen Playboys, led by front man Paul Souza. The feel of the meet will be much like that of a track meet within a rock concert."

Once again we are everywhere. For those who don't know Paul hold's the school high jump record with a leap of 7' 4 1/4" in 1982

And for those who have never heard the Velveteen Playboys (I'll admit I haven't)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Penn State Track is Everywhere

Although she says she shouldn't be credited with the find, Elaine LaFramboise Pino alerted me to a snippet of video showing how widespread we are becoming. As a boxer in his youth, Nelson Mandela would have fit right in with any of us involved with the team.

So it is fitting that someone representing us was there for his funeral. And didn't shake any dictator's hands. (I threw that in just to renew the top description of our group which relates occasional "oblique" political reference.)  I'm not actually sure that shaking Raul's hands means anything at all.  Check out the video at 1:55!

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

And don't forget to vote in the Semi-Finals of the Performance of the Year.  You must go to the full web site to see the poll on the left side-bar.  Vote for three.  The next Semi-Final will be next week and the Finals will be between Christmas and New Year.  So bookmark the site and return often!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Rocky Balboa 50K

Via The Wall Street Journal

"PHILADELPHIA—An enduring image of American film is Rocky Balboa triumphantly mounting the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art after failing his first attempt in the 1976 Oscar-winning "Rocky."

By "Rocky II," when the underdog boxer repeats the feat surrounded by cheering children, he hardly seems winded.

But astute locals have long noticed something amiss about that run in the 1979 sequel. The montage shows Rocky, played by Sylvester Stallone, starting from his South Philly home, then quickly cuts to him running along train tracks—roughly 7 miles to the northeast. Then, he is back in South Philly's open-air Italian Market, and before you know it he is miles away along the Schuylkill River.
The run through distal parts of the city seems almost impossible, even for someone as tough as Rocky.
Enter the ultra-running movement to show it is possible. Nearly four decades after the first Rocky movie, a group of runners set out Saturday to re-create Rocky's training run—all 31 miles of it, the equivalent of 50 kilometers.

"If you actually look at where he runs, he's all over the city," said Rebecca Schaefer, a 25-year-old ultramarathoner living in Philadelphia's Center City. "That's a lot for someone to undertake without serious training........."

As mentioned earlier on this blog, the illogical route taken during Sylvester Stallone's training run in Rocky II came out to 30.6 miles (approximatley 50 kilometers).  Go figure a boxing movie has done more to inspire long distance running efforts than any running movie.

A Roundup of PSU Track Alumni News, Plus A Physics Board Game!

As a catch-up for plenty of submissions from astute readers of the blog, lurkers and other assorted miscreants, here is a mish mash of items.

First up is from Brian Mount, our William and Mary Roving Coorespondent, who "ran into" some Fuller Brothers in a race in Chambersburg.  As he put it, "The Glass was 2/3 Fuller" with Brian placing third in 31:31 and Kevin 8th in 34:07 for the 10K race.  Alas, no Alumni Singlet sightings as they are apparently sponsored now by an underwater treadmill company or stole some uniforms. Hee hee hee

Next, Phil Caraher has opened a new Fitness Enterprise in the Wonderland that is North Carolina.  I wish him the best of luck. Triangle Sports Performance Center is in good hands.

Speaking of North Carolina, Alan Scharsu recently moved from San Diego to North Carolina.  Those of you nearby need to get a hold of him and let him know he's welcome! And he promises it's close enough to make it to the Coach Groves Golf Tourney!

Tyler McCandless recently was interviewed for a Podcast about his eccentric pro running career.  Check it out here.

And as promised, here's Physics in a Board Game!  Although for most of us, it's probably just a bored game.

And don't forget to vote in the Semi-Finals of the Performance of the Year.  You must go to the full web site to see the poll on the left side-bar.  Vote for three.  The next Semi-Final will be next week and the Finals will be between Christmas and New Year.  So bookmark the site and return often!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Running in the Snow

One of my greatest runs ever was a 10 miler in a foot of snow in 1980 with Rob Whiteside, the Official Muse of the Blog.  I don't remember why it was just the two of us and he may not even remember it as well as I do.  We ran the 10 miler out to Swatsworth Road and then up the rocky hill to the airport before cutting back through the Pine Forests and past the Observatory and the Deer Pens.

It was a tough run in tough conditions, but we had our usual good time doing it. It was so easy in those days...

Other snowy runs weren't as much fun, but there were quite a few of them.  My first ever run in the snow in State College occurred on October 12, 1977.  I have that in my log, so I'm pretty sure of that one.  I didn't know it was in snow until I had gone a while, slipped and fell in the darkness at 5:30AM.  (I swear Coach, I was really religious about the morning runs until Senior year!)

Yesterday's football games in Baltimore and Philadelphia certainly favored those who could run in the snow.  Still, Lesean McCoy took nearly 3 hours to run just over 200 yards.  Anyone on any PSU team over the years ran a lot more than that! (But we didn't have anyone chasing us wishing to remove our heads from our shoulders. Most of us anyway...)

I didn't bother to run any outside yesterday.  I continued with my usual indoor treadmill "fitness" regimen and shuffled for 5 miles in balmy glory, watching Lesean run his 200 yards in the snows of Philly.

And don't forget to vote in the Semi-Finals of the Performance of the Year.  You must go to the full web site to see the poll on the left side-bar.  Vote for three.  The next Semi-Final will be next week and the Finals will be between Christmas and New Year.  So bookmark the site and return often!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Performance of the Year Semi-Finals

We've had 17 submissions via the right side-bar for our Performance of the Year (All you people that only lurk on the site via mobile means need to occasionally visit the full web site to see all the extras on the side-bars!)

Remember, anything at all is eligible for submission.  A cure for cancer would certainly count as much as a 2 minute-mile in my book.  You may submit anything at any time.

In order to whittle the field down a bit, let's break them up into parcels by date and have a semi-final round to bring the vote to a more manageable 6 or so.  All you mobile lurkers must visit the full web site and vote for the semi-finalists on the Left Side-bar! Vote for your top three.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Temple: More Perspectives From Real Reporters

I am a Temple Alum.  My Podiatry School was affiliated with Temple in the 50's and 60's, became independent when I was there, but became affiliated with Temple again in the 00's. They even sent me a new diploma with real sheepskin.  So I still get a  phone call asking for help every day from "my alma mater".  This is despite having only one experience on their campus in my life.  I took my MCATs there after getting a ride from former roommate Doug Kent from PSU in 1981 Spring of 1980, (Doug even took his Camaro (or was it a Firebird?) over xx* mph during the ride because I told him I had never been.).  I have a soft spot in my heart for Temple because despite the gunshots and sirens going off right outside our building (I'm not making that up!)  I did very well. The police even locked us IN the building during the exam.  Talk about stress.

With the announcement of the dropping of 7 Varsity sports, the opinions are pouring in from all over. Needless to say, Football in combination with Title IX is a Mens Track and Field nightmare.

The last time Temple cut programs was in 1986, when it eliminated eight sports. The move also gets the school back into compliance with Title IX. The Inquirer notes that the school had been out of compliance for years.

An anti-football screed from Deadspin.

* actual number omitted because Doug is a lawyer and I'm not a fool. (Well, most of the time!)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cuts Hit Home, Sorta Kinda

Temple University, alma mater of Coach Groves and Bill Cosby (a smart-a** Freshman when Coach was a Senior) will be dropping Men's Indoor and Outdoor Track after this year.

It will keep happening.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cas Loxsom. Brooks Beast.

Wanted to share two Flotrack videos of the newly formed Brooks Beast training group featuring Casimir Loxsom. His famous twitter account and even more famous Anekin Boonanakin get shout outs.
Do runners get a baseline concussion test?

It Will Keep Happening

Another Division I Program is jettisoning its Mens Track and Cross Country Programs

Part of our efforts at "the blog with it all" is making people aware that everyone involved with Track and Cross Country are in a precarious position.  Support, both physically and monetarily, happens to be quite essential in these times.  And despite what some "experts" might tell you (you know who you are!), things will not be getter better in our lifetimes.

I do partly blame Title IX, and there are true believers out there who disagree with me, sometimes violently.  But no purpose is served by enhancing the sports prospects of high school females at the expense of high school males. None at all.  Fairness in numbers isn't fairness to individuals. A quota justifies nothing. And with the law, it's extremely difficult to ever cut a Women's Program without first getting rid of the Mens.

But Title IX is only part of the problem.  Higher and higher costs for the Big-Time sports means sometimes cuts have to be made.  And if it's only the pennies of a Cross Country and Track Program, those pennies become the cause celebre for academic bureaucrats.

I don't know the proper course of action to combat this, other than getting involved as much as possible and giving back to the Program however much you are able to.  I'll stop harping again now...

Thanks Brian, my writing skills always need help!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Indoor Season Beckons

I've had a little meme going for a while now.  I preview the next season with some vintage photos of yesteryear.  But I may be running out of vintage photos!  I need new submissions or I'll have to start recycling more than my empty Mountain Dew containers.

Anyway, here's some photos from some indoor races from the 70's.  As always, wonderful prizes will be won by those naming the participants.  Extra credit for the name of the facilities and the exact year.

I'm hoping to entice a large contingent of PSU Track Alumni Golfers to the Penn State National Indoor Meet on January 31/February 1.  Maybe a special edition Wrist Band will be available!

All photos from Group Friend Walt Chadwick.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The World's Best "Loser"

 “I’ve run more miles on more courts in more countries than any other human being,” -Red Klotz.

If you lost 14,000 basketball games during your career, people might call you a loser.  But if the masses then found out that "losing" meant more to the global spread of basketball than any other factor, they might have to reconsider.  If they then were informed that the player continued playing full court basketball into his 80's, they would stir in their chairs. If they then found out that the"loser" was the shortest player ever to win an NBA title, they would perk up and listen to the story.

Well, the story is told by a friend of the group Tim Kelly, who has quite a few interesting things about him also.  Tim's dad named old Veteran's Stadium in Philadelphia, giving Tim a front row seat at just about every interesting happening in Philly, including the annual Wing Bowl. And he has run every Sea Isle City Island Runs (2 of the last 3 winners were PSU Track Alumni Golfers!) except one. And he doesn't hold that against his daughter, he just didn't time her birth correctly.

It took Tim a lot longer than he anticipated and he took a lot of heat from people, but he wanted to get it right.  But finally, the book is out!

It details the life and times of Red Klotz, long time owner, coach and player for the Washington Generals, the team that happens to play the Harlem Globetrotters in every game around the world. There's even a foreword from Joe Posnanski, a recognizable figure to PSU fans. Here's an article from the Inquirer about the book.

And here's another article by Tim from South Jersey Magazine.

And there was that time that Red drained the 2-hand set shot to give the team their only victory...  But you'll have to read that for yourself.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Last of the Turkey Day Posts

Thanksgiving means running, as evidenced by the large number of Alumni Golfers who participate in "Trots" across our land.  But Thanksgiving also means football, for which a large number of us are grateful.  This video was smuggled out from possibly the Fuller Family Compound on Cape Cod, I think.  Their annual touch football game with returning Coach Groves Golf Tourney Champions Mark, Kevin and Brian far surpasses anything John, Bobby and Teddy ever engaged in.

Tell Ohio State, we want a rematch.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

More Turkey Trot Domination! And Horace!!

Grand, Exalted IT Czar Jeff Sanden brings us news of the New Cumberland Turkey Trot, totally pwned by PSU Track Alumni Golfers.

The Fuller Brothers, you all know I can never keep them straight, placed 1st, 2nd and 4th at the race of several thousand Turkey Day morning runners.

Brian Fuller,  15:36
Mark Fuller,  16:08
Kevin Fuller, 16:42

New Cumberland never even saw it coming!

And here's legends Tom Fleming and Horace Ashenfelter III at the Ashenfelter 8K in Glen Ridge NJ. It looks like Horace could win his age group to me.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Records, Diamonds and Singlets, Oh My!

The Turkey Day Runs around the Country seemingly went well.  Tyler McCandless set a record in his run in Colorado.  The Fosters both snagged diamonds. And my family joined 5,000 others in a race in York.  (Hard to believe...   5,000 runners in York?)

Ryan and Kara Foster show off Berwick Diamoinds.  Kara won and Ryan was 5th.

Tyler McCandless broke the 4mile record by more than 30 seconds!

Mark Hawkins was somehow cold in Florida?

Ryan Foster sported an Alumni Singlet!

Kara Foster was too fast for even the photog!
I did a spirited 5K on the Treadmill getting ready for this weekend's attempt at 5 miles a day!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

As I awake today, alone,  because everyone else is off to "run" the local Turkey Trot, I amThankful for a few extra hours of sleep.  I do run nearly every day, but can't quite make myself "race" anymore.  What's the point?  Run as hard as I can, risk injury, ridicule and shame, all to end up "running" twice as slow as I too easily remember.  I'll just await results and photos from everyone else.

There are a few Alums running for the diamonds today in Berwick.  There are a few running Boalsburg's version.  There are some running Horace Ashenfelter's Annual race in up-state New Jersey.  York's version has more than 5,000 entered! Tyler McCandless is gunning for his Coach's record in Colorado.  And speaking of Tyler, he apparently is having a Turducken* for dinner!

A Turducken has to be better than Howard Wolowitz's mom's Turbriskifil**

*Of course, a mostly deboned turkey wrapped around a deboned chicken wrapped around a deboned duck wrapped around stuffing.

**A deboned turkey wrapped around a beef brisket wrapped around a gefilte fish. "It's not as good as it sounds."

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and don't forget to send me some Turkey Trot stories and photos.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Just in Time For Thanksgiving Dinner

“Here come pieces of… MY GOD!”

I once attended a Podiatry Conference where Dave Barry was the Keynote Speaker.  And as he would often say, "I'm not making that up!"  He told many stories, enlightened the crowd like no other Podiatric lecturer ever could, and I even got 2 CME credits.  It was a bargain that can never be repeated again. I mean, the authorities won't allow it anymore...

One of the stories he told was the classic exploding whale story from 1970  told in his syndicated column in the days when he still needed money (1990).

Fair Warning: This could ruin your Turkey Day meal.  

But it's also good to know that anytime a whale dies and ends up on the beach, it's not a good idea to poke the thing with anything sharp.  The build up of gases tends to make them quite explosive without adding any dynamite. This is a recent example.

Fair Warning: This one is worse.  Not for the squeamish.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Turkey Trot Exploits Wanted!

This is the time of year for some silly "Turkey Trots" as well as some competitive "Runs" for diamonds and other such baubles.

I once won a turkey at a Turkey Trot in Millersville PA running 51:11 for 10 miles and coming within a whisker of my best all-time run (according to the IAAF standards).  My best ever run by 3 measly IAAF points was my 10K on PSU's track in 1980, although I was lapped by Greg Fredericks twice!  Pitiful, I know...  But I did enjoy that turkey.

We want photos and stories from this year's Turkey Day exploits.  Particularly if they involve Alumni Singlets or costumes of any sort.  And Diamonds!  Don't forget Diamonds!

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Frozen Fifteen

I think it was 1978, but I could be wrong.  For my first 3 years at PSU, we had a "race" of sorts at the beginning of December which happened to be the "Airport Loop".

My log is quite sparse, but my memories aren't:
  • December 10, 1977 - Airport Loop  1:36.
  • December 4, 1978 - Airport Loop  1:36.
  • December 2, 1979 - Airport Loop  1:34.
The Airport Loop was more than 15 miles.  Fifteen miles of desolate, unending, unshielded, monotonous miles.  Sure, maybe it would have been scenic in the early hours of a cool summer day.  But it was never scenic in early December.  Especially when the temperature reached single digits and the wind speeds were double digits.

Like I said, I think it was the 1978 one that stands out in my mind.  That's the day I saw gray skin on the Wolfe twins after the finish.  At the time, I could tell the difference between Al and Jeff Wolfe by the body part that turned gray in cold weather runs.  I can't remember which was which now, but the nose and ear alerted me at the time.  "Hi Al, how's the ear feeling?"  I'd say.  Or maybe it was Jeff.

When I reached the Creamery, with less than a half mile to go, my parents were standing in front of the Creamery cheerily saying "hello" as I desperately tried to hold it together, with icicles precariously hanging from my nose and ears.*   "I'M IN A RACE!" I garbled through frozen lips before limping home to Rec Hall and the impending semblance of warmth.

And then I heard it.  A wail.  An isolated, animalistic wail, coming from the back of the building.  A desperate, blood-curdling child-like cry.  It was Dave Felice, who had finished far ahead of me, and had been wearing those new kinds of shorts made with spandex or some such horrible material and had a built-in liner.  Scant protection for certain body parts other than the lips, nose and ears.  Frostbite and The Airport Loop are forever linked in my mind.

*In town for a Sports Weekend.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Secret to Running Success Revealed!

Well, maybe not to running, but certainly recovery!  It's compression combined with ice.  Heck, if I had the miracle that is compression garments 30 years ago, I might still be competing today.*

The Equivalent of the Fountain of Youth?

With my wife running The Dopey this year at Walt Disney World's Marathon weekend, we went looking for a way to keep her upright and walking the Parks each day after each of the 4 runs.

  1. Thursday - 10K -  Followed by a tour of Epcot, culminating in a Kung Pao meal at the Nine Dragons Restaurant in China.
  2. Friday - 5K - followed by a leisurely stroll of the Animal Kingdom, culminating in another Asian meal at the base of Mt. Everest.
  3. Saturday - Half Marathon - Followed by rambling about at Disney Hollywood Studios, culminating with dinner at Herbie's Drive In.
  4. Sunday - Marathon - With the triumphant limp around the Magic Kingdom with all 6 medals earned.  Not sure about dinner plans.
The best place to pick up your ticket to perpetual movement is The Inside Track in the Harrisburg/Hershey area, conveniently located on Rt. 322!  There are also stores in Lancaster, Mechanicsburg and a new one in Lewisburg at Bucknell University.

Manager Henry Klugh displaying the 1977 District 3 gold Medal he won in the Mile after I was disqualified for tripping him.  Thanks to him, I went on to run the 2-Mile at States instead, for which I'm ever thankful.
* We all know that I made that up.  But let's all pretend anyway!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I Can't Believe XC is Over!

Matt Fischer was 78th in 31:06 at the NCAA Championships in a muddy, chilly Indiana.

The lone Lion stays warm before the start.

Not sure if these are shoes or not?
The Women placed 25th as a team.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cushioning is Back!

The minimalist running shoe fad has, surprise surprise, led to injuries. Well looks like the injured have turned to trainers with a plethora of cushioning to stay healthy. The minimalist fad never made much sense to me as every half decent runner I know trains in normal (cushioned or stability) running shoes. Of course you can find an article or research to support your opinion on just about anything so what do I know.

We all know Dave's opinion on barefoot running (here and here). Go figure a podiatrist would have some knowledge regarding proper footwear. "A little heel height never hurt anyone."

A Steeplechasing Zombie!

There's no hope of getting away from this zombie.  She isn't the classical "slow" type of zombie, for sure!  And even if you run away over barriers and jump water hazards, she'll still catch you.  Your grandparents probably already told you that life isn't fair.

Bridget Franek for, I assume, Halloween!
Thanks to W and M's Brian Mount for the link!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

To Stretch or Not to Stretch. That is the Question

The most inflexible runner ever wins again!
The last time I actually stretched was in 1980.  And by no means do I figure I'm better off or recommend it to anyone.  I just despise stretching and always have.  When I used to watch Alberto Salazar beating all the flexible runners in every race, I figured something was amiss. And scientific literature has been accumulating over the years that stretching:
  1. Provides no benefit in the prevention of injuries.
  2. Provides no benefit in the performance of athletes.
There has actually been strong scientific proof that weightlifters lose 5% of their strength if they stretch prior to lifting.  This applies to other strength activities like starting from starting blocks or suddenly accelerating in a race. Rather than cite the actual scientific literature on the subject, Ill just post a pro and con fluffy article from the recent common man literature.

This loss of flexibility is a natural adaptation to training that makes you more economical. It may seem like a negative effect, but it’s actually a positive one, and you don’t want to interfere with it by doing too much stretching.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sometimes, a Diamond First Appears to be Just a Rock

"We pass over the silly remarks of the President. For the credit of the nation  we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of." 
                                           -Editorial in the Harrisburg Patriot and Union, 1863. (rectified by an editorial in the Harrisburg Patriot News in 2013.)

The same can be said for many people and things we come across every day.  I am reminded about how many diamonds I happened to run with at PSU back in the day.  At the time, most seemed to just be a bunch of rocks.  Only looking back with the wisdom of a few years and the open-mind that time seems to provide, do I realize just how much of a diamond mine we had among our group in Happy Valley. I really do appreciate things so much better now.

When President Lincoln delivered his address in rural Pennsylvania in 1863, he was mostly ignored by those in charge.  A mere formality hastened his invitation and appearance and just a few minutes of time on the podium at the end of a long ceremony.  The main speaker spoke for hours.  Lincoln spoke for just 2 minutes or so.
Abraham Lincoln, at Gettysburg.

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."              
                                                                    -Abraham Lincoln, 11/19/1863.

Sometimes it takes just two minutes to change the world.  And sometimes it takes 150 years to realize the world has been changed. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Player/Coach Sam Masters Helps PSU XC Club Team to Third at Nationals

Penn State Track Alumni Golfer Sam Masters helps coach the PSU XC/Track Club team which took home 3rd place at the NIRCA National Championships at Hershey over the weekend.  Indiana took home the title. The Women's team came in second to Virginia at the same meet!

Sam Masters, still looking sharp!

Joey Walls, Samuel Masters, Erich Leiden, Douglas Jordan, Timothy Appman, Matt Doutt and Dan Craighead

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