20th Annual Penn State Track and Field/XC Reunion

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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I Wish I Was As Cool As This Guy

I don't even remember how I proposed, but I do know it was quite lame compared with this guy.  I do remember informing my in-laws about it.  It was at the Autoport Motel in State College during a Winter Weekend of Sports Events in 1987.  My father-in-law chuckled and said "No married man wants to live to be 100."

Seeing as my other marriage advice from my grandfather was "The first 50 years are the hardest", it's a wonder I went through with it.

We've all seen the stories of banners on planes, Jumbotron questions and the down-on-one-knee proposals at a fancy restaurant, but this guy takes the cake with his Physics Paper Proposal.
The summary of the findings of the study are presented in Figure 1 and that that the project happiness is upward with high confidence. Taking these results into account, the author proposes to Christie the indefinite continuation of the study. The subjects response to their proposal should be indicated below [by checking the "Yes" or "No" box].

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

He Makes Most of Us Look Bad

Many of us alumni don't run much anymore and don't run fast if we do it at all.  But it really is something when a 101 year-old makes us look bad in the process.  He actually doesn't know how old he is, but he's at least 101 because that's how long it has been since he showed up on British soil from his native India.

Notice the airborne phase! True running!

Fauja Singh just ran his very last race.  He's hanging up his running shoes following his 1 hour 32 minute 10 K in Hong Kong. Our Blog Muse wonders how many of us can keep up with him? Put your honest answer on the left sidebar poll!

Never Forget Academics!

Both the Mens and Womens Cross Country teams have been honored with All-Academic Awards from the USTFCCCA.  This is for their overall 3.28 GPA and fielding more than 5 runners at the NCAA Regionals.  Congrats.

Torri Perri, Leigha Anderson and Emily Gianotti were honored individually for the Lions.  Sam Masters, fresh from All-Big Ten finishes in the 3000M and 5000M at the Indoor Championships, was honored for the men.

I can't imagine any of the teams back in my day garnering an overall 3.28 GPA, but I could be wrong.  I do know we needed the combined 33 years* of eligibility of Gary Black and Brian Boyer to keep our GPA anywhere close to that.

Here's a little advice from the smartest of our group from back in the day, Delta's resident genius Stork.

* not really, it just seemed that way.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Help Keep the Momentum Going

It's time to set aside the weekend of May 17-18 for the 12th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament and the 2nd Annual Penn State Track and Field/Cross Country Reunion.  It's also time to get in touch with a friend to join you.  Last year's event drew more than 100 alumni from 8 different decades!. Forty runners took a campus loop for a warm-up to the team's practice and 40 more climbed Mt. Nittany to claim the site for PSU Track.  We would love to top that this year.  The result of all the support is evident with the performances by the men and women at this weekend's Big Ten Indoor Championships.  The more we support the Program, the higher the Program's status and the better the recruiting becomes.  Success breeds success. 

Monetary support is always needed, and every little bit makes a difference.  But just like the golf, no matter what your level of giving is, you are a valued member of our community.  Your enthusiasm may just be the reason an anonymous donor steps up and contributes to the scholarship endowments with incredible gusto.  It has happened before, and I'll keep at "herding cats" to the best of my humble abilities to see it happen again.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

PSU is 600 U (Just for Cas!)

In one of the most exciting meets in history, the PSU Men finished third in the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships.  Only four points separated the top 5 teams!  The Middle Distance corps of PSU garnered most of the points and won the 600M, the 800M, the Mile and the Distance Medley Relay during the meet. 

Robbie Creese had the first ever win for PSU in the Mile run, while Cas Loxsom ran the fastest 600M on US soil ever.  This was also the School, Meet, Facility and would have been the American Record except for the 300 M track.  The finish in the 800 M had PSU in first, third, fifth and seventh.  Brannon Kidder led the way.
Photo by Becky Miller

Photo by Becky Miller

PSU is Middle Distance U: Distance Medley Relay Edition

1200M/400M/800M/1600M  for those of you who throw or jump or sprint.  The 2013 Indoor Big Ten DMR Finals:

1.  Brannon Kidder had one heck of a kick to lead off the festivities!
2.  Matt Gilmore maintained the lead in style.
3.  Ryan Brennan ran a PR in the 800 earlier in the day!
4.  Robbie Creese is the real deal for the win.

Friday, February 22, 2013

PSU is 800 U: 4 of 8 Lanes in the Big Ten Finals

That's without Casimir Loxsom running the 800 M! Top 2 in heats and 2 additional.

1. Za'Von Walkins  1:49.26 Heat win.
2. Ryan Brennan  1:49.42 second.
3. Brannon Kidder  1:49.73 Heat win.
4. Ricky West  1:49.89 by time

Cas will be running the 600 M with Alex Shisler.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

We Need Your Help!

It is only 87 days until the 12th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament and the 2nd Annual Penn State Track and Field/Cross Country Reunion!

Please consider joining us.  But more importantly, alert your friends and teammates about it and get them to come as well.  Golf with us too.  See what all the fuss is about.  You should be receiving mailings and emails and Facebook News really soon!

This year's format is similar to last year's with a few notable exceptions.  First up, there will be a reduced rate option for those of you who want to come for only one of the days.  Secondly, the golf is starting at Noon this year, which will leave plenty of time to thrash and befoul whatever the Elks Club Course is now called AND still make it to the Awards Dinner on time.

If you can't come, consider donating to our cause (all monies are destined for the Coach Harry R. Groves PSU Scholarship Endowment).  We have made progress toward it, but there is still a ways to go.  You can send it in any way you desire, just be sure to specify where you want it to go.  You can even click on the Donation Button on the right sidebar.  I'll personally make sure it gets to where it needs to go.

If you can't donate, and can't make our event, never fear.  You are still every bit as important as everyone else here in our group.  Comment, spread the word and keep PSU Track on the up-swing. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Will The Universe End Before Your Running Shoes Wear Out? And Other Things

With the Big Tens this weekend I thought I would try to get rid of some recent submissions to our humble little blog.

First Up,the bad news is it turns out that the discovery of the Higgs particle means that the Universe is doomed.  We kinda, sorta suspected that all along anyway.  And it won't be because you burned that firewood without telling Big Brother.  It's just that the Universe was quite unstable to begin with.  A disaster waiting to happen.

The good news is that it will last at least long enough to wear out your next pair of running shoes.  The experts at the NYT (I swear I read the gray Lady more and more!) can't seem to agree at all on when that will be.  Friend of the group and Harrisburg Inside Track manager Henry Klugh is even quoted in the article.

Someone has to get in touch with Bill Murray and invite him to our event.  He has been known to show up to things when invited.  We could use the levity.  His new muttonchops crack me up!

And last but not least is video of a little trick from last year's golf tourney with some of the better golfers.*

*Not really.  We couldn't get that many guys to sink the first of those putts!

Better Break Out the Mashie, Brassie and Spoon!

In a late night email yesterday, Founder and Keeper of the Beer Clark Haley has announced that the 12th Annual Coach Harry R. Groves Golf Tournament will be returning to its old-fashioned roots.  This is good news to everyone, as it means we all have a better chance of getting our name on the Coach Groves Memorial Cup* for all eternity.

In practice, this means there will be a meeting of the minds Idiot Officers at the Friday night Reunion Get-Together at The Lion's Den to determine the foursomes for the tourney. This involves tarot, witches brew, numerology, reflexology and pure chance.  Each foursome is thus bestowed an "A" golfer, thus splitting up what would have been the winners (Clark's 4!).  As I am a "C" golfer on a good day, this is great news to me.  I could find myself on the winning foursome for the second time, garnering a spot on the Hall of Honor once and for all.

The choice to return to the old format is really to get back to what our group was always all about, meeting new alums who share a common bond.  I hope you will join us.  The more the merrier.

*Coach Groves is very much alive, and could still kick your butt.  And it's not really a Cup.  You'll have to come see it for yourself.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

PSU is 800 U: Millrose Edition

On an "off week" the Nittany Lion quartet of Brannon Kidder, Casimir Loxsom, Za'Von Watkins and Ricky West (with Ryan Brennan as the alternate) bettered both the Millrose Games and Armory Facility Records in the 4 x 800 M Relay. Their 7:21.37 exactly ties the Indoor Penn State Record of the quartet of Steve Balkey, Dave McMillan, Chris Mills and Ray Levitre set in 1987.

Zavon Watkins 1:51.1
Brannon Kidder 1:51.6
Ricky West 1:50.1
Casimir Loxsom 1:48.8

                        Watch more video of 2013 Millrose Games on flotrack.org

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Napoleon Chagnon and Real Yanomamo in the News: The First of Several Book "Reviews"

There is a new book out by former PSU Professor and somewhat-favorite of many in our group, Napoleon Chagnon.  He was the author of Yanomamo:The Fierce People and a subject of many tough courses in Anthropology at Dear Old State when he was a professor in the 70's. He is also the subject of an extensive article in the NYT.  Yes, I sometimes read "The Gray Lady"!

The new book is a reply to the withering criticism and accusations of malfeasance and worse leveled by others in the academic world in the book Darkness in El Dorado. He stood accused of fomenting the violence he reported and of fabricating data, among even worse things by journalist and author Patrick Tierney.  Chagnon has been mostly cleared of these things since the 2000 publication of Tierney's work.  He answers the criticisms well in his newest book Noble Savages: My Life Among Two Dangerous Tribes - The Yanomamo and the Anthropologists.   (NYT Review Here.)
It's worth a look, especially among those of us distance runners who mimicked the tribe's choice of clothing on many a long run through the woods in those carefree days before political correctness swallowed us whole. 

An Additional Food Review! 

The newest sauce at Burger King is Kung Pao, and you know how I feel about that.  It's waaaaay too sweet, but does provide a little bit of the flavor that rules the world for those who never venture into a Chinese Restaurant.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

PSU is 800 U: And Millrose (and IAAF) Bound

On an otherwise off week for the Nittany Lions, a small contingent of athletes will head to the Armory in Manhattan for the Millrose Games.  A quartet of middle-distance stars will make a stab at a team record in the 4 x 800, or possibly more...

Remember, this isn't the 160 yard wooden monstrosity that Coghlan ran on at Madison Square Garden!  They are probably still cleaning up from the Westminster Dog Show anyway.  The Armory track is at least as fast as the Ashenfelter oval*.

Banana Joe after possibly soiling Madison Square Garden.

In other news, Penn State already has someone slated for the IAAF World Championships this summer!  It's Head Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan, who will be the Women's Head Coach for the squad.  Additionally, she will soon be in charge of the organization with the longest name in the world**, the USTFCCCA.

And Ryan Whiting continues to lead the world in the Shot Put, winning another meet in Poland after just 15 hours of travel.  I just flew in from Poland and boy are my arms tired!

* I know it's not an oval!
** Maybe not the longest, but close.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Elaine LaFramboise Pino's dog Cliff.  His running streak ended at a wall of snow!

The recent snowfall records in New England take me back to my "glory days" in Phabulous Philadelphia.  The great snowfall there in 1983 was the beginning of my search for the perfect Kung Pao. The only restaurant open was The Szechuan Inn, and we asked for the waiter's favorite dish.  I've been trying every version I can find weekly ever since.

I remember 50 inches of snow, but the official tally was really 27 inches.  It was the only time in history that the school closed.  We skied down the middle of Market Street to Broad Street.  It was a wonderful time.  Looking back, I even managed a run of several miles, but I don't remember that at all.

My roommate at the time was from Milford, Connecticut, scene of some of the worst of the recent storm. They only got 38 inches!  I'm happy he got to see both of the storms, and not me.  His office is one block away from the original Subway Sandwich Shop.  I'll bet both were closed for awhile!

Anyone have any Snowstorm Stories to tell?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Penn State Rises to No. 5 in the Nation

The weekend's exploits were good.  In fact they were pretty great, vaulting the Lions to Number 5 in the National Rankings.  Congrats to everyone involved.  I guess that even includes us over-the-hill alumni golfers.  We're like the cherry on top...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It's Easy to Notice a 3:57.11 Mile! The Rest Impresses Me Just as Much

It was a great weekend for the Nittany Lions at both venues.  Needless to say, the Penn State Record in the mile run by Robbie Creese takes top billing, but there were 2 other school records set.

Robbie's 3:57.11 made him the first collegian in a packed field at the Husky Invitational in Seattle.  That places him as the second Lion to better the mythical barrier in just a couple of weeks.  Freshman Brannon Kidder bettered the mark in State College previously.  This was Robbie's third breaking of the barrier in just his second year of college.

Other school records were set by Sam Masters in the 3000 M (7:54.52) in Washington and Will Barr in the Weight Throw (67 feet 11.75 inches) at the Spire Institute in Ohio.

And that is really just a tip of an iceberg.  There were many seasonal bests and personal bests set on both tracks.  The 400M the 3000M events had numerous on both the Mens and Womens side. The field wasn't immune to a Nittany Lion onslaught either.  What's interesting about both squads is that they are always ready to compete.  More than a few of us notice.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Some Fast Alums

Tyler McCandless won the Double Bridge Run in Pensacola last weekend by over two minutes.  I'll bet he enjoyed the brief respite from the Colorado winter!

And Owen Dawson led everyone this past weekend at the Sykes/Sabock Challenge in the mile with a blazing 4:02.48, improving on his 4:02.55 from the week before!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Save the Date!

Monday, February 4, 2013

"PSU is 800 U" Meets the Super Bowl

From our intrepid Director of Fun in the glorious Big Apple comes word of a kinda, sorta connection between the Super Bowl and 800 U (otherwise known as Penn State Track and Field).

It turns out that San Francisco 49er Linebacker NaVorro Bowman was roommates with standout 2-lapper Mike Malizia when NaVorro ended up in Coach Paterno's dog house one time.  And Teddy Quinn figures if your roommate is in the dog house, you're in the dog house as well.  I agree. 

I lived next door to PSU lineman Mike Munchak and Irv Pankey (Irv was a tight-end back then!).  I don't think either was in the dog house, but they probably could have been.  A visual etched into my retina is of a naked Irv Pankey sliding down a flooded, detergent filled hallway of the 2nd floor of Holmes Hall.  We all ended up paying for the flood damage to the first floor.  And I still can't get rid of that visual!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Everyone Needs an Alumni Singlet!

It is time to open another round of orders for the Alumni Singlet.  You've seen them on some very fast recent alums and  some older alums who are back in shape.  But did you know that just about anyone can get an Alumni Singlet of their very own.  Even Treadmill Hobby Joggers such as myself.

The new order form is up and running. A very special and big thanks to Mark Hawkins, who has volunteered to do the heavy lifting on this round.  We will compile orders for a while (not sure how long yet) and will have them ready for the Alumni Reunion weekend in May, or possibly sooner.

I anticipate that the style and company will remain the same, but if anything changes I will alert you here, on the Blog with it all.  This is the Nike "Miler" Singlet in white with navy blue lettering for the men and blue with white lettering for the women.  Each will include graduation year (or year of significance) on the right shoulder and the Varsity "S" on the back collar.

Costs will be $40 to $45 dollars with possibly some shipping costs later.  You will be informed via email as to costs and where to send it at a later time.

There are nearly 100 of these spread around the nation.  Let's let everyone know we're serious about supporting our program.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Details of 2013 Reunion Emerging

In a phone consultation with Jess Riden, Coach Sullivan, representatives of the Varsity "S" Club and several Idiot Officers (a well-meaning and silly self-imposed title) of The Group, details emerged about the 2013 Second Annual Penn State Track and Field and Cross Country Reunion and the 12th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament.  Momentum has built over the past dozen years and we expect more of the same this year.

The biggest news for those who are golfing, and that should be you regardless of your abilities or lack thereof, is that the round will begin at Noon this year.  Which will give you plenty of time to thrash and deforest Happy Valley and still make it back for the Awards Dinner. This also gives us a chance to expand our numbers on the course this year.  Please consider joining us golfers and non-golfers alike on the course this year.  And bring a friend.

Our tried and true format will remain roughly the same.  In other big news, arrangements are being made for a lower cost package of just the Friday night reception.  Everyone who was there last year enjoyed a wonderful spread, with an open bar at The Lion's Den.  We plan on making this event even better and will cater to those who can only join us for Friday's event.  Again, bring a friend.

A block of rooms will again be arranged at The Hampton Inn, for the 12th year.  They really have been a wonderful partner of our Group.  I'll keep you informed of the specifics of this cost-saving arrangement.

We hope to have even more than the 40 runners we had for the Alumni "Run" last year.  I say "Run" because you can always choose whether to run , walk, crawl, stand or just eat donuts and drink juice or coffee like me.  Nearly 40 took off for a campus loop with team members on their warm-up before the team's practice.  Those on the loop, including my wife and daughter said it was a great time.  I will probably again stay behind and interview Coach Groves for the Blog.  Don't forget to get your Alumni Singlet for the "Run".  Details coming soon.

My wife and daughters will again be Climbing Mt. Nittany with team members to plant a flag and get long-range photos of the track facilities.  There were 40 making the trek last year. If you aren't golfing, this will give you something to do!  They usually climb back down and head to The Creamery, so the rewards are great.

The Rewards Dinner will again be at the Ashenfelter Indoor Complex and catered by the University.  There will be an open bar.  Speakers are being lined up so that you won't have to hear me again! Prizes, raffles and more are envisioned.  Clark Haley will renew his bestowing of rewards after a one year layoff.

Spread the word to others you know.  Our efforts to renew old friendships and begin new ones has already reaped many benefits for Penn State Track and Field.  Now is the time to increase the momentum.  Quite honestly, you are the key to that.  You are the most important member of PSU Track Alumni.  Come see for yourself.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Long Way to Run: And More Singlets in Action

photo by Mark Hawkins

Dennis Pollow traveled all the way from Arizona, where he goes to Grad School to compete in the Invitational heat of the Mile at the Penn State National.  Looking good the whole time in his Alumni Singlet.  (Orders will begin for the next shipment of Alumni Singlets next week.)

And here's the promised photos of the Fuller Bros. rabbiting the big races!

  photo by Mark Hawkins

Brian Fuller! With Owen Dawson in close pursuit.

photo by Mark Hawkins.

Kevin Fuller!  That's Ricky West in third and Za'Von Watkins in 4th. PSU is 800 U.
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