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...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On Their Own

photos by Mark Hawkins.

(On their own, except for the hordes of PSU Track Alumni Golfers everywhere...)

Kyle and Owen Dawson sported their Alumni Singlets in style over the weekend.  Owen was in the mix in a highly competitive Mile and finished ahead of current Nittany Lion Sam Masters and not far behind Brannon Kidder.  His 4:02.55 bodes well for his so-far self-coached career.

Kyle was in the 3000 M and helped push the pace, finishing in a very good 8:18.39.  He is also self-coached.  At least for now...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Coach Groves Can Still Kick Their A$$es

As I rummage through the photos from the Penn State National via Mark Hawkins, I came across this one from the vast Internetty Thingie.  It is too good not to steal, so here it is...

And in addition, I came across this one from that same "Cloud".  I have a guess as to who it is, but I fear exposing my stupidity for all to see.  Who is this with Frank Shorter?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Alumni Singlets in Action

Mark Hawkins again lined up for the Nittany Valley Track Club Mile at the Friday night session of the Penn State National.  He hasn't had much speed work training this year, but his 5:20 result isn't bad at all.  In a humorous side-note, the video is from Greg Fredericks (Thanks Greg!) and he tells me that Coach Groves was barking at him for letting the guy pass him at the end!  That's exactly 36 years after Coach first barked at him for the same thing.  Hee hee hee.  Welcome home, Mark.

In other news, that's Nick K. who was leading Mark the whole way but had to pull out with 2 or 3 laps left due to a calf strain.  He will live to beat the 5:00 barrier next time.  Also that's Megan Hutchinson in the pink top.  The former Nittany Lion came in with a 5:08 and sorely needs an Alumni Singlet if she's going to put up times like that!  Someone alert her to the blog, as the order form will be up soon right here on the blog with it all!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wascally Wabbits Impress Me

I'll get around to posting about the wins and records and barrier-breakers and Alumni Singlets at the Penn State National soon enough.  I'll even have exclusive photos from Alums of note.  But really I must comment on the most impressive thing I saw at the Event.

Again, the Fuller Brothers stole the show for me.  To see the 3 siblings hanging out together and  enjoying each other's company like they always do brings a big smile to my lips.  I could have numerous photos of them in the stands, beside the track and even competing.  That is, if I could actually work a camera.

Mark ran a 4:16 mile on Saturday to start things off.  The real fireworks came soon after when Kevin became the rabbit in the 800 M Invitational race.  As always, he ran his 400 M* in perfect fashion, with a smile and seemingly no adverse effects.  Brian jumped in the 1 Mile Invitational with a nearly perfect opening 800M* in 1:58 or so.  Dependable Rabbits such as Kevin and Brian make big money in Europe on "The Circuit".  Maybe they didn't make big money yesterday, but I give them a big tip of the cap and accolades for modeling the Alumni Singlets in superb fashion.  I promise some great photos to come!

This heralds in our next push for sales of the Alumni Singlets, which are rapidly becoming a National Force in Track and Field.  Stay tuned for your next opportunity to get one for yourself.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

PSU is 800 U: (4 x 200 M = 800 M)

The team of  Emunuel Mpanduki, Matt Gilmore, Brandon Bennett-Green and Aaron Nodolsky set the School and Collegiate Record (1:24.70) in the 4 x 200 M Relay in the opening salvo of the record assault known as the Penn State National.  Will Barr also set the school record in the Weight Throw (67' 3.50").

 Owly Images

I'm hopping on the treadmill for a miserable 1 or 2 miles then heading up to a snowy State College for this afternoon's races.  Be sure to look for me and say hello!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Funny (or not) / Separated at Birth?

One ruled television for nearly a decade.  The other will rule the world for 8 starting in 2016, and yet I'm having trouble telling them apart.

That is all.  Don't forget to stop by the Penn State National if you can.  Here's the live results page if you can't.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Two Things You Can Do If You Can't Run Anymore

First off, you could become an artist and create "crop circles" in the snow. How many calories do you think he burned creating this interesting "snow quilt" that took about 9 hours?   Simon Beck is garnering plenty of notice in the Art World with his creations.

Or, if you are more autistic than artistic like me, you could head to State College to cheer for the Nittany Lions at the ever-exciting Penn State National Indoor Meet.  I am taking my dad again this year.  Last year he witnessed his first ever sub-4 mile.  I predict even better things this year. Saturday afternoon is the time for the "Big Races", but Friday starting at 4:45PM you can see some Alumni Singlets circling the track trying to accomplish some equally great things.  If you are there on Saturday, be sure to say hello!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Ultimate Alumni Singlet from 1984

Or possibly The Grandfather of the Alumni Singlet!

photo by Richard Lee Slotkin. 1984 Olympic Trials 10000 M. (thanks to that LA Duck once again for the photo!)

This was well after I began my "Hermit" phase.  So I didn't even know that Greg Fredericks was in the 1984 Olympic Trials.  He relates that this was his last competitive race, so he brought out his PSU uniform for one last time.  The first Alumni Singlet!  No wonder he doesn't need a new one.

How many of you could make the Olympic Trials 12 years after graduation?  How many of you could fit into your uniform 12 years after graduation?  How many of you find it hard to even get out of bed 12 years after graduation?  Greg is still my Idol. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Little Music to Motivate The Alumni Runners

I found out that several Masters (and above!) PSU Track alums will take their Alumni Singlets* and possibly their orange spikes to the Horace Ashenfelter Track this weekend for a shot at improving their second career PRs.  Our very own Le faucon d'orange Mark Hawkins and State College native Nick K. will be there Friday.  Anyone getting photos or videos of their efforts will be rewarded greatly!

Here's some old fashioned classical music performed by 2 cellos.  Actually it's AC/DC's Highway to Hell performed by 2Cellos!

*We will attempt another Alumni Singlet sale soon

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Meaning of Life (and Running)

I don't have the answer to The Meaning of Life.  But I think I'm closer to it than I was while I was a student at PSU.  Think of family and friends and you'll be on the right track.

I also came across this formula from Physicists which attempts to explain all of the Physical World, which might as well be the Meaning of Life.  Maybe some people smarter than I can explain some of it to me.

One of my heroes and the highest scoring mathematician of all time, Richard Feynman once gave a Universal formula.  He explained that all formulas can be summarized by the simple equation of  (U)=0 for some definition of (U) But he also pointed out that it may be quite meaningless also.  Sort of like politics, I guess.

Running may be one way to get closer to the elusive answer though.  It turns out that my pet mice have brains about 13% larger than most. The secret is their wheel.

 See, even you treadmill haters out there may have to relent!  Word has it that some Alumni Singlets will be in action this weekend at the Penn State National.  And a little birdie told me that one of them just ran a 5:11 mile 2 weeks ago!  Not bad for one of us old-timers.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"It's a Small World"

Those were the words used by Larry Mangan in an email I received when I was at Disney World last week.  Swear to God, I was practically in front of the actual ride when I read it.  Thank Goodness my kids didn't drag me onto it, even though it was the only ride without a line. (It's Or-Line-Do remember.)

The reason he used those words was because he ran into an old competitor when at the last Penn State indoor meet.  Turns out that current Nittany Lion Conrad Lippert's father ran at Rutgers back in our day.  He even dug up this great photo.

That's Rich Lippert in front of our Chief Laundry and Morale Officer. I hope to meet Rich at the Penn State National.  Small World Indeed!  Rutgers is now a member of the B1G too.  It's a small and increasingly weird world...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Who Am I?

Here's a few more photos from Dan Martinez's vault he has graciously sent our way.  I think I know some of the names but there is no need to point out what an Idiot I am by getting any of them wrong.  Help us out by naming names and supplying any accompanying stories in the comments. 

 1985 Dogwood Relays.  Photo by Bill Killian.

 1984 Dogwood Relays.  Photo by bill Killian.

 1984 Dogwood Relays.  Photo by Bill Killian.

 1995 Penn Relays.  Photo by Bill Killian.

 1985 Dogwood Relays.  Photo by Bill Killian.

1984 USA Championships.  Photo by Richard Lee Slotkin.

1984 Dogwood Relays.  Photo by Bill Killian.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

"The toughest runner I ever saw." -Coach Groves

Our new friend from California (and the Oregon Ducks!) Dan Martinez has sent numerous vintage photos since we were introduced by the wonderful digital world.  And these vintage photos never fail to get a great response from my "dozens" of readers.  I'll unveil more of these sporadically but wanted this one to be first in line.

Sometimes my grasp of facts and "the truth" is rightfully questioned by blog proof-readers, but this one is 100% certified accurate.  I heard the quote directly from Coach Groves at last year's Track Alumni Reunion and Golf Tourney. I even have it on tape.

Photo by Bill Killian.

That's PSU's very own Kathy (Mills) Parker at the 1978 AAU Championships.  And that's another tough runner behind her in Jan MerrillWho should have patented her compression socks way back then!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

PSU is 800 U: The Store is Stocked!

This list is from FloTrack reflecting the current top times in the Collegiate ranks for the 800 M.  Mark Horton brought this to my attention via the wonders of the internetty thingie.  There is a poll on FloTrack asking about who the Athlete of the Week is, so head on over and vote for Cas!

There are new items in the Group Store in honor of "PSU is 800 U".  This will be an Exclusive Limited Time Offer! You'll want to get yours prior to the Penn Relays for sure.  Help spread the word to all the aspiring high school 2-lappers out there.

  1. Item One is the Performance Jacket.  This is a sharp looking jacket for any occasion.  Although it is a dry clean only item, I have put mine through the drier at home with a Woolite Home Dry Clean sheet with good results.  I would recommend making yours one size larger than normal if you are an out-of-shape old-timer like me.  For you in-shape people out there, I hate you! Only kidding.
  2. Next is the Performance Dry T-Shirt, excellent for all your middle distance work-outs.  This one has the PSU is 800 U emblem designed by Olympian Greg Fredericks on the front and the Group Logo on the back featuring Coach Groves.  If you can no longer run sub-1:50 but want to look like you can, this is the item for you!
  3. And if you can only muster a slow jog nowadays like me, maybe you can distract the observers on your route with a nice Jacket for your dog.  The secret to attracting members of the opposite sex is always a puppy, not how fast you run.
  4. Maybe when you are parking for the Penn Relays your car should show just who you are.  A nice License Plate will do the trick to spread the word.
  5. For the cheapskates among you, the Value T-shirt is still available and shows your fandom just the same as the more expensive items!
  6. After your middle distance work-out (or in place of your middle distance work-out) have a beverage of your choice in your very own Drinking Glass

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Second 5-Hour Energy Wasn't a Good Idea

I'm back, after the long, long drive from sunny Florida to a rainy Northeast.  In my quest to handle most of the driving load to spare my wife following her back-to-back half-marathon and marathon, I took a 5-Hour Energy for the first time in my life.  It worked like a charm, just as advertised and I was thrilled with my 5 hour stretch of driving with barely a thought of being tired.

So I figured I would do it again for the final 4 hours to home.  Two hours into it, I had a rush come over me and I was nauseated out of the blue.  My vision wavered and I was forced to pull over and switch with her in order to spare the entire family from a fiery death.  I'm still feeling the effects more than 16 hours after ingesting it. 

Let's remember to have only one of those at a time in the future...

In other news, accolades roll in for all the PSU middle distance crew with Big Ten honors and even National recognition for Cas Loxsom's recent 800.

There will soon be a Limited Edition sale at our Group Store for "PSU is 800 U" merchandise. I promise you will want to have several items in time for the Penn Relays 4x800M Championship of America Relay.

I'll soon try to catch up with all the submissions of my growing readership.  Just as soon as the 5-Hour Energy wears off and I can see again.There are more great photos, stories and interviews to come.  Spread the word.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

PSU is 800 U

As I'm still trapped like a rat in Or-Line-do, our intrepid documentarian Larry Mangan had the opportunity to watch the Nittany Lion Challenge meet with Coach Groves. He brings us this exclusive photo of the finish of the 800 M with Casimir Loxsom running the fastest collegiate Indoor race in nearly 6 years (1:46.98) followed closely by Freshman Brannon Kidder (1:48.17).

Nearly as impressive was the 1000M race with Ricky West winning in 2:21.95 followed by Freshman Za'Von Watkins in 2:22.02 and Ryan Brennan in 2:23.14.  Let's face it, the 1000M is just an 800M where they forget to stop in time!

PSU is 800 U. Spread the word.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Trapped Like a Rat IV: Expert Tips for Being "Goofy"

My wife Barb will attempt Disney's Goofy Challenge starting tomorrow.  This will be her fourth in a row, so she's something of an expert.  That's the half-marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday.  You must also remember that this is addition to having a difficult full-time job and being the mother of two with a (mostly!) absent husband...

So here's her top tips if you are thinking of trying the Challenge.

1.  Drive your own car to the race, don't use Disney Transportation.
2.  Arrive very early, park and take a nap.
3.  Think of the thing as 3 separate 1/2 marathons.  Work to negative split each one.
4.  Drink just a little at every mile, eat a few "sport" jelly beans once in a while.
5.  Visit a hot tub after the first "half".
6.  Don't worry about the first 33.3 miles.  The last 6.0 will be enough.
7.  Don't ever look down on someone running slower than you.  He/She may just be doing something you can't do.

Addendum:  The ranks of the Goofy Challengers has swelled over the last several years.  Now there are thousands of them, where there was only a few several years ago when Barb started.  The troops are now clamoring for  "official" Disney status for those running the Friday 5K in addition to Saturday's half and Sunday's full marathon.  I was wrong earlier when I called this the "Daffy".  Daffy isn't a Disney character.  The proposed name is "Dopey Challenge" to reflect Disney's very own character.  I would propose "Dumbo" also, or possibly "Doc" for the person you see in the tent after crossing the finish line!

Addendum 2: Barb and my Office Manager Debby N. ran every step of the way together just 1 second slower than their goal pace!  Now it's off to Epcot with the appropriate compression suit for Barb, which is No. 8 in the tips!

Trapped Like a Rat IV / T and F News!

By now everyone knows that Larry Mangan gets his T and F News weeks before me, so he has gratiously sent me some info to post.  I'm thinking that the Powers-That-Be at T and F News go by all-time best mile times, but then I'm just guessing!

My Annual Edition just arrived!!!  Here are some early news flashes

400 – Gehret Unranked US/World -  37th fastest time in World/13th US
800 – Loxom Unranked US/World – 13th fastest time in US
1000 – Creese Unranked – 3rd fastest time in US combined/Fastest time in US –indoors
SP – Whiting #3 World/#2 US – 72-2.25i = #2 World & US
         Kovacs  Unranked World/#4 US – 12th farthest throw in World/7th US
       Eaton – Unranked World/US – 19th farthest throw US

4x400 #14 fastest time in the World
4x800 #3 fastest time in the World
SMR #10 US
And here's an update:

Missed Creese’s mile – 38th US indoor/outdoor combined


800 – Simko 31st fastest time in US
1000 – Caitlin Lane 6th fastest time in US
Mile – Lane 34th fastest time in US
Steeple – Franek unranked World/#2 rank US – 19th fastest time in World/2nd fastest time in US
3000 – Franek – 23rd fastest time in US
5000 – Franek 40th fastest time in US
10000 – Millhouse 35th fastest time in US
400IH – Dorr 19th fastest US
Jav – McQuillen  - #6 rank US, 6th farthest throw US
          Loht  - 23rd farthest throw US
          Kenney 27th farthest throw US
4x400 – PSU 28th fastest time US
             PSU alumni 35th fastest time US (indoor mark)

I may have missed a few alumni…..

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Trapped Like a Rat IV: Notes From the Road

Here I am in the place I hate to love the most, or the place I love to hate the most.  I just navigated the lines to pick up race numbers at the Expo.  Another reason to call this place Or-Line-do, which I have for 19 years now.  The lines are definitely worse BTW.

Yesterday's run was a bad one, coming after a 16 hour drive.  But it wasn't the worst ever.  Did I ever mention the one after the 24-hour of flights to China and the 8,000 foot altitude?  That will have to wait for a time I have a keyboard.

When I can use my daughter's laptop  I'll post more, including PSU ranking news from Larry's early edition of T and F News.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Trapped Like a Rat IV*: The 20th Annual Walt Disney World Marathon

Just about to set off on the fourth straight trip to the Disney Goofy Challenge for my wife, Not Me! "The Goofy" is the name for the combination of the 1/2 Marathon on Saturday and the Full Marathon on Sunday.  Runners from around the world show up to traipse around the Parks and receive a special extra medal at the Finish Line of the Marathon to mark the occasion.  I usually sleep in waaaay past the 5:00AM start times and run 3 miles around the hotel at a leisurely pace each of the days.

This year, the girls and my wife will also run the 5K Family run on Friday.  This adds the fourth medal to the mix for her, which is unofficially known as "The Daffy".  Like I said many times before, I'm retired!

*Trapped like a rat refers to the feeling I get every time I stay in Disney World.  There is no getting away from them, they are everywhere.   And no one has yet to convince me that he is a Mouse.

Monday, January 7, 2013

2012 Performance of the Year Winner!

Congratulations to Bridget Franek!  She beat out several worthy competitors in the competition, which garnered more votes than any other in the history of the blog.

  1. Bridget Franek making the Finals of the Olympic Steeplechase. (34%)
  2. Robbie Creese setting the American Junior and Collegiate Indoor 1000 M mark. (30%)
  3. Penn Relays 4 x 800 M Championship of America. (23%)
  4. Brady Gehret making the Olympic Trials 400 M Finals. (7%)
  5. Penn Relays Sprint Medley Relay Championship of America. (3%)
Bridget wins a Prize package worth $100 towards the purchase of items in our Group Store.  We hope to see her at the May Reunion and Coach Groves Golf Tourney.  (The others receive parting gifts and a home version of our game.)

Thanks for your vote!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Some PSU Track Alumni Happenings at the Opening Meet!

First up, Jon Hendershot won the high jump with a leap of 7 feet 1/2 inch!  Jon is the son of Holder of the Golden Putter Dennis Hendershot.  Good opening effort, Jon.

Next, Matt Groves placed 4th in the Open 1000 M event (2:36.38).  A distance I have never run, and one I'm glad I didn't.  Matt then joined The Dawson twins and Kevin Fuller for 4th place in the Distance Medley (10:01;07).  Turns out it was the Dawsons and the Fullers in the DM (Owen, Kyle, Brian and Kevin).

And, oh yeah, the Mens 4 x 200 team ran the 5th fastest collegiate time ever! (1:25.52).

Saturday, January 5, 2013

One Last Photo Before the Indoor Season Begins

Today, the Indoor Season really begins at the Horace Ashenfelter Indoor Complex.  Our agents are there and will bring you some photos in due course.  But first, one last photo from yesteryear of a race I was actually involved in!

That's the 1977 Penn State Open won by, who else, Greg Fredericks in 24:38. I was 35th in the race, a real disappointment after my early season successes. (photo by Marty Mengel.)

Go ahead, name as many as you can...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Photos Keep Coming: Scharsu!

Still more Vintage Track and XC Photos are crossing our Wire Service at Blog Central.  I'll do my best to get facts correct this time, but then again messing things up tends to create more interest and responses. (I'm 100% certain these are all Alan Scharsu photos.  I'm very certain the years are correct also.)

1979 Junior XC Championships.

1980 Olympic Trials

March 1980 Indoor

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Still More Good Days

Vintage photos always brings out the curiosity among runners, throwers and jumpers.  So a few more photos have rolled in from afar.  And since the indoor season is about to start, I figured I had better post them now.  (And don't forget to vote for the Performance of the Year!!)
 1978 1979 NCAA 10000M  (Ziggy!)

 1978 1981 NCAA  AAU(TAC) XC (Alan!) -photo by Richard Lee Slotkin.

1978 1979 NCAA AAU(TAC) 5000M (Snid!) -photo by Richard Lee Slotkin.

And here's another good day with  Nick Scarpello in Aruba! (That's some pretty good company there, Nick!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Good 'Ole Days

Yeah, I live in the past a lot.  I was a lot smaller then, so it's easier to move around in the past. I've often said that the two of me now are twice as slow as the one of me in the 70's.  It's actually quite accurate.  Within seconds per mile really.  Good times...

Our blog has even reached the rarefied air of the West Coast where new friends are just a digital "hello" away.   Late-70's Oregon Duck Daniel Martinez visited our site and was intrigued by our remembrances of the late 70's NCAA XC heyday.

Turns out we have much in common and share friends and enemies alike. ( I just made up the enemies part)  As always, everyone is welcome in our world!  Even a Duck.

He has sent me photos for the blog, both of which are great: Both photos are by Bill Killian.

 1979 Penn Relays.
 1978 NCAA 5000 M

Dan is wondering if any of us has more photos of the 1978 NCAA XC Finals.  I said I would put the word out.  

And we'll be hearing more from Dan in the days to come.  But I have some reading to do in the meantime.  And you all know how hard that is for me.  You know, since all the reading I did while in school has kind of burned me out.  I may just hire my daughters for the hard parts...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Back On the Horse: One Small Step

I took 3 days-in-a-row off from running for the first time in 12 years.  But I'll be back at it again today on my trusty steed Excalibur, also known as the LifeFitness 9500HR Treadmill.  It will be just "One Small Step..."

Speaking of small steps, Neil Armstrong's brother relates that Neil showed him the script for his first words on the moon while playing a game of Risk.  How cool is that?  How many of you played the game Risk?  How many of you were born after man went to the moon?

Don't forget to get your votes in for the 2012 Performance of the Year.  (Sorry, but winning a game of Risk won't qualify as a nomination for 2013. although any photos from the moon will garner considerable attention.)
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