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...

Friday, May 31, 2013

Adopted Son Makes the Cover!

I had a brief talk with Ryan Whiting at the PSU Track Alumni Reunion and he has promised to answer our World Famous Ten Questions.  That is, when I finally write down the 10 questions!  His brief talk at the dinner was inspirational and we learned a few things.
  • He regularly hits 350 yard drives.
  • They are straight.
  • He is mad at us for not letting him golf this year. (An error I will never make again!)  The truth is, communication errors led us to not realize he wanted to golf.
Here's a 2005 article on Central PA's very own World Leader.

Similar pose, different hair!

Top Ten Ranked Lions at the NCAA Championships

Brannon Kidder, photo by Tim O'Dowd.
The Final Seeds are out and there are quite a few Lions on the Top Ten list:

  1. Mahogany Jones  100 M  6th.
  2. Mahogany Jones  200 M  9th.
  3. Lauren Kenney  Javelin  1st.
  4. Laura Loht  Javelin  5th.
  5. Casimir Loxsom  800 M  3rd.
  6. Brannon Kidder  800 M  5th.
  7. Robbie Creese  1500 M  4th.
  8. Sam Masters  5000 M  10th
And here's a nice article about Coach Sullivan in the RunBlogRun site.

And a Top Ten List of things that make me crabby:
  1. Kim Kardashian
  2. Diet Crazes
  3. Exercise Crazes
  4. Kim Kardashian's baby
  5. ObamaCare
  6. Organic anything
  7. Kim Kardashian's Family
  8. 3D Movies
  9. Democrats, Republicans and Independents...
  10. And did I mention Kim Kardashian?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Love Them/Hate Them But Don't Doubt Their Influence

Nike has made an impact on our sport like no other single company.  I personally have run more than 99% of my miles in Nikes and prefer them far beyond any other shoes I have dabbled with.  And PSU has had a big influence on Nike, from its current leadership (Mark Parker) to JoePa's influence on Phil Knight.  There are plenty of detractors too, which is their right.

The AlSal I ran "with" in 1975.
But one thing I did not know, was that at the beginning of Alberto Salazar's Nike Project, a lunch with Tom Clarke PhD (PSU Biomechanics) and some scribbled notes on a napkin led to AlSal's Coaching tenure.

I always thank Tom for being one of two people who realized I had run my best time at PSU in the 10K despite being lapped by Greg Fredericks twice.  The other was Don Ziter.  Thanks again to both of you!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hayward Field For Nationals

Wednesday June 5 to Saturday June 8 will be the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at storied Hayward Field.  Twenty Nittany Lions in 14 events will be there.

Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golfers Clark Haley and Harry Smith visit the scene to help with preparations.

"I have to work on my game."

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

In Boalsburg On Memorial Day

Boalsburg is one of many places claiming to be the first to celebrate Memorial Day.
"Local historians in Boalsburg, PA, claim that ladies there decorated soldiers' graves on July 4, 1864 As a result, Boalsburg promotes itself as the birthplace of Memorial Day."
Regardless of the Providence of the Holiday, Alumni Singlets* were sighted at this year's celebration, as Ryan Foster placed 2nd and Matt Groves placed 7th in the 4-Miler. There is also confirmation that Matt barely missed a hole-in-one this past weekend, garnering his first-ever birdie in Man's Most Difficult Game.  It took him all of 2 weeks to surpass my 38 years of golfing futility!  Congrats all around.

PSU Track Alumni Golfers Ryan and Matt return to their first sport.
* There will be a new drive for alumni singlet orders soon, right here on the blog with it all.  And maybe a surprise for those reluctant to get a singlet.  (And no it's not an Alumni Moo-Moo, although I'm getting close to needing that!)

Back to Work!

I've had this one for awhile now.  Dick Geiger, fellow native York Countian, brings us these photos of his "work place".  

Clinch River, Tennessee.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Total of 20 to NCAA Finals

Due to a rather good last day of the Prelims, PSU has 20 athletes in 14 events heading to Eugene, Oregon this week for the Finals of the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

  1. Sam Masters, soon to be a contributor to the blog, ran a 57 second closing 400 M to place third in the 5000 M and move on to the Finals.
  2. Lauren Kenney and Laura Loht placed first and third in the Javelin, keeping very much alive PSU's incredible streak in the event.
  3. Sean Reilly placed 12th in the High Jump (defeating Jon Hendershot, among others) in the count-back on fewer misses.
  4. Natalie Bower keeps the tradition alive in the Steeplechase.
  5. Both Men's and Women's teams 4 x 400 M Relay squads move on.  The Women's team placed third in their heat and the Men were first.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Juxtaposition of Several Memes

Any semi-intelligent reader of this blog (there are a few!) may have detected a few memes over the past several years.  Among them are:

  • Steve Prefontaine
  • Greg Fredericks
  • Running Streaks
  • Colleges that have lost their track teams
  • Coach Groves' former team,  William and Mary
Well, all of these come together in this blog post from Steve Taylor, a former runner for the Richmond Spiders. Remember, Richmond lost its Men's team a few years ago, a trend that really infuriates me.  In digging through the archives of other alums, Steve came across these 2 photos.

They happen to show Steve Prefontaine winning the 1970 NCAA XC Championship on William and Mary's home course, probably a course set up by Coach Harry Groves.*  I ran that course in 1977 the day after 1/2 of Lynyrd Skynyrd died in a plane crash.  

In the results of the race, I noticed two names that made me smile. In 4th place was our very own Greg Fredericks two places behind Donal Walsh from Villanova.  (That was the opposite of this race in 1968):

Photo courtesy of runmoremiles.com

And in 16th place that year was Cal State Fullerton's Mark Covert who had been running every day for two years then.  Well, he still hasn't missed a day since then and will officially end his streak in July of this year at 45 years, without missing a day.  His right foot has finally collapsed and he will switch to biking at that time.

 1. Steve Prefontaine, Oregon 28:00
 2. Donal Walsh, Villanova 28:08
 4. Greg Fredericks, Penn State 28:12
16. Mark Covert, Cal State Fullerton 28:48

Addendum  (with emphasis on "dumb" on my part, again.): 

Steve Taylor is coach at Richmond - he was an All-American XC and track guy at VA Tech '83-'88. The W&M course you ran on (and I raced on) appears not to be the 1970 NCAA course, according to wife of 25th place finisher, Ron Martin: (Margaret Ann Martin) "That race was run at what is now Kingsmill. I think it was the last race run there before construction of the community was started. Ron (25th place) was just a freshman. When he told his mom in England he had made All American, she thought he had changed his citizenship!! Ron ran against Pre in another race: the 3 mile at NCAA Champs in Baton Rouge. 1973, i think. There was a picture of several of the finishers in TFN, including Ron and Pre, cooling off in the steeplechase water jump."

*I'm not positive on what course was used, but Coach Groves had to have had something to do with it!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ricky West Makes My Day!

Photo by Tim O'Dowd.
Yea, that's a Penn State Track Alumni Bracelet on his wrist while qualifying for the NCAA 800 M Semi-finals in Eugene next week.

I told him I would celebrate anyone who wears a "PSU is 800 U" version in competition and I meant every word.  It was a pleasure to meet him and other team members at the Alumni /Team Reception last week.  It is really heartening to know that there is a lot of Nittany Lion Pride in every one of them.

I'll mail you one of the wrist bands (with a copy of the old ones if you need them!) if you donate to the group on the right sidebar.  All of that money (minus the 3% PayPal fee)* will go to the Coach Harry Groves Scholarship and I'll foot the bill for shipping to you!  That's a deal everyone can get behind.

* this small print isn't really that bad now, is it?

Eugene Bound! And More 800 M Silliness

So far, eight Nittany Lions are into next week's NCAA Championships.  There is even one day left to go in the Prelims, including the Mens 1500 M and the Women's Javelin. As I had hoped, three of the qualifiers will travel to Oregon for the 800 M!

  1. Melissa Kurzdorfer in the Discus.
  2. Melissa Kurzdorfer in the Hammer!
  3. Michael Shuey in the Javelin.
  4. Mahogany Jones in the 100 M.
  5. Mahogany Jones in the 200 M!
  6. Kiah Seymour in the 400 M Hurdles.
  7. Natalie Bower in the 3000 M SC.
  8. Casimir Loxsom in the 800 M.
  9. Brannon Kidder in the 800 M.
  10. Ricky West in the 800 M.
And speaking of 800 M, here's former 2-lapper Steve Black's latest episode in his Web Series, The Grave Diggers! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

"Build It and They Will Come"

I've been following up with several people on last week's Reunion and Golf Tourney festivities.  A lot of the discussion was about our burgeoning numbers. Founder and Keeper of the Beer Clark Haley put it well when he paraphrased Field of Dreams with the title quote of this post.

Clark is responsible for building this event from the ground up, and keeping it alive through the turbulent beginning years.  Many others have chipped in since and we're now reaching a healthy number with which to keep it alive in the coming (more turbulent?) years.

Remember, the original idea in Field of Dreams was that "Build it and he will come" meant Shoeless Joe Jackson would come.  It turns out that Ray was wrong about that.  "He" turns out to be his father, with whom he had just a fleeting relationship.  Shoeless Joe just happens to be a conduit to a bigger Dream.

Our Reunion is very similar to the movie Field of Dreams and its progenitor short book Shoeless Joe. Once it was built, people began to come, expecting to reunite with friends and already known teammates.  The funny thing is, we got to meet unexpected new friends, people with intelligence, passions and talents we never dreamed of.  Come to see a few good friends and end up meeting 3 members from the 1950's Championship XC teams, a retired trackster from the 60's and a current team member who can't wait to join the festivities in the future. The dreams continue...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Horace the Golden Putter is in Good Hands

Our Director of Youth Development Artie Gilkes struck gold this year by enticing a teammate to our Reunion and Golf Tournament.  But the gold Che Arosemena won is real.  He won the prize with his Longest Putt of the day on the 18th green. He will travel with Horace to golf courses all over and promises to send us pics from famous places.

Che Arosemena accepts Horace the Golden Putter from 3 Idiot Officers.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's a Long Way To Tipperary...

And also California.

Several PSU Track Alums came all the way from the Golden State to reunite and deserve accolades from some us us who complained about a two-hour drive.

Vivian Riddick came from LA and brought the family with her. They even climbed Mt. Nittany with my dog Pooky. (That's Mt. Nittany in the background!)  I'm sure they all had a good time.  She joined other women in welcoming back Coach Gary Schwartz to Happy Valley, who was no slouch in coming all the way from Arkansas!

Coach Groves and Coach Schwartz.  Photo by Mark Hawkins.

And a 50% Reunion of the 1985 Penn Relays 4 x 800 M Relay occurred on Friday at the Reception.  Chris Mills is actually from State College, but still traveled from near Modesto, California to meet up with teammate Steve Shisler and all the rest of us. Chris golfed with us on Saturday and posed in front of the rest of his foursome with Coach Groves.

Coach Kevin Kelly, Bob Gabel, Coach Groves, Che Arosemena with Chris Mills. Photo by Mark Hawkins.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Rather Fleet Foursome!

Ryan Foster, Larry Mangan, Al Porto and Steve Balkey. Photo by Mark Hawkins.
Three of the four were/are PSU 1500M/Mile Record Holders and the fourth happened to be an NCAA Cross Country Champion in 1949.  And let's not forget that Al Porto happens to have won the Longest Drive competition in our Golf Tournament.

A fifth member of the group showed up at one point.  Happy Gilmore made his appearance and impressed the group with a trademark running shot.  No word on who he later punched.

Happy Gilmore. Photo by Mark Hawkins.

Monday, May 20, 2013

My Foursome: A Gimp, a Limp, a Simp and a......

Mike McCahill, Coach Fritz Spence, Tim Johnson and Your Humble Host being photographed by Digital Archive Goddess Kay Warfel. Photo by Mark Hawkins.
I really do need to take lessons.  This was the worst I have ever played.  With no Mulligans, putting strings or other gimmicks, the scramble format exposed my pink under-belly of golfing talent and led to a frustrating afternoon of thrashing and wailing after little white balls.  I'm happy I pay about 25 cents apiece for the little dimpled orbs, as I left quite a few on the grounds of the Mountain View Country Club (formerly the Elks Club Course).

The greens were fast and somehow tilted more than they used to be.  But it was good to see the course in such good shape otherwise.  At least after you slice your shot 2 fairways to the right, you have a splendid view of either Nittany Mountain or Ski Mont (or whatever they call it nowadays!). I didn't even have any "cheater golf balls" left over from previous years. (These balls are slightly smaller than real ones, and have more dimples.  They supposedly were supposed to give me an extra 10 yards on my 150 yard drives.  As if any would ever notice!). Our group started out with 8 straight bogeys, a feat hard to do in the scramble format.  We were truly horrible at first.  But then, something clicked, and we played the last 10 holes at one-under par, right on pace with the best foursomes in our 9 foursome tourney.

My only good shot was 30 foot putt that I made with a twice-bent blade putter from the 1950s.  Several others may have recognized this club, as it was frequently in the extra bag people needed in previous years.  And it was once left on a green and retrieved by a generous alum who could have easily pitched it into the can as a club no one would ever want. It now has putter cover and has been renamed Billy Berue.

The Limp was Mike McCahill who hurt his calf muscle by picking up a golf ball while practicing putting.  I'm not making that up.  He played well despite the increasing limp during the round and I saved him from next-day incapacity by dispensing him some Celebrex after the round, a drug which gave Ken Brinker the ability to retire early to Florida and enjoy the good life. (You're welcome , Ken!)  Mike is a long-term member of our group.  I think he's only missed one Coach Groves Tournament.

The Gimp was Tim Johnson who suffered a debilitating "groin pull" recently playing ultimate frisbee.  I'm not making that up.  He was hoping continued golfing would improve his condition, which may or may not have happened.  Tim also played well at times, but we could tell the groin was holding him back.  I know the feeling, even after 30 some years. I had a groin-pull from fencing class at PSU gym class.  Yeah, I'm that dumb, which brings us to......

The Simp is me, of course.  As one of only 2 or 3 golfers to have braved this tourney every year, you would think I would learn my lesson and either take lessons or give up the game.  A Simp never learns...

The fourth in our group was Coach Fritz Spence.  He even agreed to be The Wimp to make things somewhat complete, but I don't have the heart to follow through with calling him that.  It doesn't fit at all, and neither does Blimp, Primp or Shrimp.  I was happy to share the cart with him as I set up my 7th grader's PSU Track Camp visit to spend time with him as the Women's Multi-Event Coach.  It was a pleasure to meet him and as a Bahamian who knows Mike Sands, I have hope he can help set up our dream of a Winter Coach Groves Golf Tourney in the Bahamas.  I'll bet we can get at least 2 foursomes for Paradise.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Enthusism Reaches Critical Mass

Future PSU Track Alumni "Golfers"

This weekend's festivities proved beyond doubt that our group's activities matter.  As Ryan Foster put it to me, we have "reached a tipping point."  I've heard the same sentiment from several others, put in slightly different words. During a restless night's slumber it came to me in Physics terms.

Each of our thoughts and actions matter, and using Quantum Mechanics they actually are matter! And the more physical reality we create in our efforts to unite and support Penn State Track/XC, the more people are interested in joining our efforts.  Energy does in fact equal mass according to Einstein's elegant formula.  The constant in the whole equation is the thoughts and actions all of us place toward that goal.  And we may have reached a Critical Mass of sorts considering the interest in those just graduating and even those several years away from graduating.  We welcome our younger counterparts with open arms, both Men and Women, both on the track or in the field or even the hills and dales. Although golf is always optional, we recommend it highly.  (The PSU Golf Alumni never get together in Happy Valley to have a Track Meet after all!)

The weekend's Reunion and Golf Tourney were another resounding success.  Even my dog Pooky ended up climbing Mount Nittany to claim the peak for PSU Track, leaving a little souvenir near the top!  A pair of "rabbits" ended up winning the golf tournament. The Fuller Brothers seem to have talent in dozens of sports.  A kilt was sighted in Happy Valley. Waaaay too much of the kilt was actually sighted! KK O'Brien could not be reached for comment.  A beloved ex-Coach regaled us with "We are....".  Thanks Coach Gary Schwartz.  The world's leading shot putter told us about his 6:00 AM random drug test that morning, commenting that he favors a zero tolerance policy on PEDs.  Refreshing testimony from a soon-to-be father at the top of his game. And he'll be golfing with us in the coming years.  (An apology to Ryan Whiting from the Idiot Officers of the Group.  We had no idea you wanted to golf this year, one week after your world leading 73 foot shot put effort.  My foursome could have really benefited from your talents!)

There's a lot more to say about the whole affair, including a sighting of Happy Gilmore on the links.  I'll try to get the specifics of much more in the coming days. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Great Turnout and Scandal!

The PSU Track and Field Alumni Reunion got off to a raucous start at everybody's favorite haunt, The Lion's Den last night.  Members came from all over the globe and from 7 decades of excellence, one short of the record. I was happy to meet so many of you.  If we didn't get to meet, make sure to introduce yourself at some point.  I've only bitten one person, and he is in stable condition and visitors are allowed now!

I ended up not even trying the putting contest, as conversation was wide ranging and interesting.  Something this used-to-be hermit isn't necessarily practiced at.  It is good to see the interest in the Program and our group as high as it ever was.  Computer agnostics from the 50's are even aware of our humble blog/web-site (or whatever this is?).  The newest generation is more excited than ever.  There are actually members of the team who can't wait to be a part of our group following graduation.  As Ryan Foster puts it, "We are at a tipping point."  He means our group is set to explode in numbers and activity, something I have been anticipating for 5 years now.  Slow but steady wins the race. He puts it better with that Tasmanian accent of his.

We even have a new contributor lined up following the track season in Sam Masters.  He is as psyched about our group as anyone I've seen and offers a perspective of youth and has experience at a different NCAA institution (Tulsa) with which to compare his PSU career.  I'll sign him up soon, but first he has a little work to do in the NCAA 5000 M Championships.  He already has his PSU Track Alumni Singlet! Inquiries were made for another round of Singlet orders.  We may have a surprise for those wanting in on the action but not wanting to expose the world to your physique in a singlet.  Stay tuned for more.

And scandal has befallen the Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament!  Accusations of favoritism and malfeasance have tainted the selection of the foursomes for the tourney.  The process was supposed to revert to the old method of random selection involving Physics, chicken entrails, EtOH and tarot.  I will not get involved in the matter any further as I'm very happy with my draw and fear Founder Clark Haley might secretly be working for the IRS or the CIA.  I have even thought about changing the name of our group to the Green-Wind Solar Cooperative and Humanistic Society so as to throw the IRS off our scent.  I will keep everyone informed concerning our tax-exempt status.*

*Everything I said there was made up.  Taxes are not required of an entity that generates $0 annually although the IRS has tried more than once to get blood from a stone. Clark assures me that foursomes were random except for him golfing with his father.

Friday, May 17, 2013

There are Many NCAA Qualifiers to Meet at the Reunion

I've made it!  I just took a campus run* and picked up a $25 gift certificate at the Berkey Creamery and The Corner Room for use in the Coach Groves Scholarship Putting Challenge at tonight's Alumni Reunion Reception at the Lion's Den. (7:00 PM) Stop by and meet track alumni and friends from 7 decades of PSU Track excellence.

Some of the athlete's that have qualified for the NCAA First Round Championships will be at the reception and most of them will be at practice on Saturday morning during our Alumni "Run" at the outdoor track.  Meeting them and giving them encouragement can do nothing but promote great performances in the Championships.  Letting them see how they fit into a long tradition of excellence will be like a wind at their backs their competitors won't have.  Stop by at 9:00 AM and join the fun at the track.

There are more than 40 Nittany Lions heading to next week's meet.

*For definition purposes, "running" means less than 3 miles at over 10:00/mile pace.  And those who are laughing, just wait, your time will come!  hee hee hee

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I Forgot to Practice

Group Idiot Officers
As always, I have been scrambling like crazy at work to try to get 2 days off so I can enjoy the Track Alumni Weekend festivities.  My golf clubs are still in the garage along with Founder and Keeper of the Beer's second set of clubs from last year.  I notice that my bag has rotted away in the interim and will no longer hold the shoes, tees and "cheater' golf balls I prefer on the links. My first stop on the way to State College today will be to WalMart for an inexpensive golf bag.

So, in other words, I haven't practiced again and haven't touched a golf club since the last hole of last year's tourney. C'est La Vie.  This isn't the first time.  I pity the 3 poor schmucks that will have me assigned to their foursome at the Alumni Reunion on Friday night at the Lion's Den.  But then again, my name is on The Cup once and I do have the most 2nd place appearances at the tourney.

All this is a way of getting a reluctant golfer to join us on the links Saturday.  You really can join us and have the time of your life without being any kind of golfer at all.  The more the merrier.

Here's a video of Beverage Procurement Specialist Steve Balkey, Keeper of the Beer Clark Haley and an unidentified Idiot Officer delivering the beer to the golf course prior to the tourney:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

More Errors and a Good Forecast

Dan Martinez points out that Patrick Davey of Tennesee was third in the 1978  NCAA 10000 M. The previous post shows two photos, the first when Patrick made a break for the win near the end.  As I pointed out to Dan, errors are my way of garnering comments!  They are a feature of the blog, not a failure!   hee hee hee

The forecast for the Track Alumni Reunion and Coach Groves Golf Tournament has brightened immensely in the past few days.  Maybe we will have our 12th successful golf tourney in a row!

Friday:   High:  73 degrees
   Chance of rain: 10%

Saturday:  High 69 degrees
   Chance of rain: 20%

You can even just show up at our events without signing up as long as you are willing to undergo scrutiny by the IRS.  Ooops, I meant Hammer Throwers, they are much more brutal.  Seriously, we will accommodate everyone wishing to attend.

 Contact Jess Riden or The Varsity "S" Club to inquire. I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Photo Submissions and Physics Goodies

Our Oregon/Southern California connection Dan Martinez noticed my earlier photo of Friend of the Group Patrick Davey from a late 70's Dogwood Relays.  He sent along these beauties from the 1978 NCAA 5000 M 10000 M where Pat placed 3rd.

Photo by Bill Killian

Patrick Davey and Joseph Nzau. Photo by Bill Killian.
Then there's this submission from Official Physicist (Nuclear Engineer!) Brian Boyer.  Here's a view from his IAEA workplace in Vienna in 2010. Brian will be attending the Alumni Reunion and will be the starter at the Alumni "Run"  He's coming from New Mexico, what's your excuse?

And here's one from the same window in 2001:

Seems Physics must foot the bill for some extensive building contracts!

And Happy 95th Birthday Richard Feynman.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Women Win B1G Ten Championship

The Men had a rough weekend at the B1G Ten Championships, where a lot of things went awry and they finished in 8th place.  So the Women made up for all of it with a performance that, although not totally unexpected, surpassed most best-case scenarios.  Event after event showcased  Penn State's overall talent.  It reminded me of our teams of old that would have won any dual meet against any competition, including teams with Renaldo Nehemiah or Don Paige as members.  Congrats to the Women's team.  I hope the Prize is on display at this week's Reunion! You can still beg, bribe and cajole entry to the whole event.  We need even horrible golfers too!

Contact Jess Riden or The Varsity "S" Club to inquire. I hope to see you there.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

PSU is Javelin U

Our motto of "PSU is 800 U" happens to really tick off a significant population of those who DESERVE to be perpetually ticked off.  But it is really a celebration and an incentive to excellence in the future.  It can't help but improve EVERYBODY involved with Track and Field, whether Nittany Lions or not.  And so it should be noted as well that...

PSU is Javelin U
Lauren Kenney, Laura Loht, Melanie Leszcynski, and Megan Boyer garner 23 Points at the B1G Championships!

1. Lauren Kenney         173' 10"
2. Laura Loht                168'  9"
5. Melanie Leszcynski  143' 11"
8. Megan Boyer            136'  4"

Friday, May 10, 2013

If Ryan Whiting is Coming to the Penn State Track Alumni Reunion

Why aren't you?

Ryan Whiting just won the first Diamond League Shot Put with a world leading and PR of 73 feet 1 3/4 inches in Doha, Qatar.  Ryan will be attending our reunion as a volunteer assistant coach and will say a few words at the Awards Dinner.  I hope to get a mini-interview with him. 

Ryan Whiting
  Contact Jess Riden or The Varsity "S" Club to inquire about coming to the event.  Like L.L. Bean, our door is always open.  We just don't have the same warranty program!

Track and Field Makes For a Smaller and Better World

Just browsing the internet at some point yesterday and I came across this photo from the Dogwood Relays at some time in the late 70's or early 80's.

That's Patrick Davey with plaid shirt and the priceless smile.  Pat ran for Tennessee and happens to be one of the best photogs in the Track world.  We've used many of his beauties in past posts here. Pat also happens to be from Birmingham, MI, where I lived while a Resident at a Hospital 1/2 block from 8-Mile Road in Detroit.  Somehow, we have a lot of friends in common.

Which brings me to the gentleman on the right.  None of the guys in the photo probably knew Mike Conte prior to that weekend's meet, but that's kind of how Mike rolled.  Everybody had such a good time that Mike hung around for an additional two weeks.  Everybody there had good things to say about Mike's wandering track spirit.  That spirit eventually brought him to Podiatry School and my small circle of running friends while studying the "foot arts".

Mike was really good friends with my roommate Brad Toll (The world's greatest roommate, BTW) when I lived in Michigan, making the world smaller and smaller, better and better.  The coincidences with this photo are extraordinary, and I jealously refuse to believe they are anything short of God's way of telling me something. I roll like that.  This is the third time He has purposely told me something.  Each of the other 2 times, I was changed in monumental ways, and I can't wait to find out what is in store for me this time.  But I'm not sure yet what it means.  It has something to do with Friends and Family though.

Dr. Mike Conte died a few year's ago at a triathlon in Allentown.  I think Brad was there with him at the time.  This photo brought a smile to both me and Brad, and will be sent along to Mike's parents, bringing an even bigger smile.  He really was one-of-a-kind.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Just Over a Week To Go

Coach Gary Schwartz

Until the 2nd Annual Penn State Track and Field/Cross Country Alumni Reunion and the 12th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament.

Final details are being worked out and, yes, there is still time to beg and bribe your way into attending.  Contact Jess Riden or The Varsity "S" Club to inquire.

Some highlights of the Events:

  1. Reception at The Lion's Den on Friday night May 17, 2013.  Open bar and a great spread of food awaits.  A putting contest will be held on the patio to raise monies for the Coach Groves Scholarship Endowment. 
  2. Alumni "Run" and meet the team on the track at 9:00AM on Saturday May 18, 2013.  Fun, frivolity, a campus warm up run with the team, a "rabbited" mile run for the frisky, and coffee and donuts for the less frisky.  I'll even extend the putting contest to the infield of the track and will even accept IOUs!
  3. 7th Annual Climb of Mt. Nittany at Noon on Saturday May 18, 2013 for those not golfing. Details to be available at the Friday Reception.
  4. A Guided Tour of the All-Sports Museum for non-golfers who don't want to brave the wilds of Mt. Nittany.  Details at the Friday Reception.
  5. Putting and Chipping Contest/ 50-50 Raffle for the real golfers at the former Elks Club Golf Course at 10:30AM sharp.
  6. The 12th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament at 12:00PM on the former Elks Club Course.  This is the only chance to be enshrined on the Coach Groves Cup!
  7. The Awards Dinner will be held at 6:30PM on the Field Events/Throws area of the Horace Ashenfelter Indoor Complex.  This will be catered by the Penn State Food Service.  There will be an Open Bar at the beginning.
  8. Several Speakers have been lined up.  Former Coach Gary Schwartz has traveled from the far reaches of Arkansas and not just to fish!  Possibly we will have a appearance by Wrestling Coach Cael Sanderson, quite a dynamic orator.  Coach Groves will, of course, add a one paragraph speech as is his style!  Coach Alford-Sullivan and possibly Coach Gondak will say a few words also.  The prizes will be awarded by a chipper Clark Haley and Harry Smith.  I hope to refrain from speaking this year.
Coach Cael Sanderson

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I Think If You Beg, They'll Let You Come

Looking through the names of those who will be attending the 2nd Annual Penn State Track/XC Alumni Reunion and 12th Annual Coach Groves Golf Tournament, we have ONLY 7 decades represented so far.  That's just one decade short of last year's total. There is still time.  I bet that if you beg someone with authority (and that's not me!), you'll still be embraced with open arms.

The hard-core perennials of the golf are back, with a delightful smattering of recent grads and even some from the 90's.  And we called them "the lost decade".  Maybe they'll prove us wrong finally.  And maybe one will finally get their name on the ultimate Prize, The Coach Harry Groves Memorial Cup.  Hint: It's not a Cup and Coach can still kick your a**. So behave!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Some People Have a Better View From Their Office Window Than I Do

Since my view is of nothing!  I have my office on the bottom floor of a Medical Complex and don't have a window to the outside.  Seasonal Affective Disorder may account for many of my problems.  But not ex-Javelin tosser Todd Leggett.  Not by a long-shot...

The view from Todd's Office Window.  Lucky bas...

Send me a photo of a good view from your workplace, especially if you can top his photo.  And I'll try another Quiz on the left sidebar, but they haven't been working well lately.  Have you ever been to the top of the Empire State Building?

It's Big Ten Week!

New School Record Holder Jon Hendershot
There are some really good things to watch at this week's Big Ten Championships on the Men's side.  They have a strong presence in the Middle Distances, of course, but there are some strengths present all around.  The Shot Put and Discus and Javelin are areas of optimism, as is the horizontal jumps.  PSU is well represented in these areas.  And we won't forget the vertical jump, as Jon Hendershot set a school record last week at 7' 3.25". I wish I had enough leisure time to venture to Ohio to watch, but alas, the bacon is harder and harder to bring home nowadays!

I'll be checking up on the activities throughout the weekend though.  Good Luck Lions.

Monday, May 6, 2013

NCAA Leaders Prior to the Big Ten Championships

From our Morale Officer, here are some Nittany Lions high on the form charts* for the upcoming NCAA Regionals:

Javelin:      Lauren Kenney   3rd
                 Laura Loht          8th

800 M      Casimir Loxsom   3rd
                 Ricky West          7th
                 Brannon Kidder   9th

1500 M    Robbie Creese     7th

* As of May 1.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Four Brothers and Four Sisters

Since the Quiz seems to have fallen with a resounding thud, I better follow up with a post some of you may be interested.in.

I'm never sure which of them I'm talking to, but there are 4 of them.  The Fuller Brothers have now all graduated from The Pennsylvania State University.  I think their names are Huey, Dewey, Louie and Spike*. It's kinda the end of some sorta era.  Or something?

Two of them, I'm not sure which, will rabbit some of the "older" among us at the Alumni "Run" at the Reunion on Saturday May 18 at 9:00AM on the outdoor track. They will be sporting their Alumni Singlets, as will at least a dozen others.  Why don't you come join us.  It don't cost nothing.**

The Fuller Brothers
* Brian, Mark, Kevin and John.

**  I think this event is totally free and will give you a chance to interact with many of us away from the cut-throat environment of the golf course.  Running, like the golf, is always optional!

And these four sisters may be too old for the Fuller Brothers, but they were somewhat hot when they started in 1975.  They posed in the same order in photos every year since 1975.  The photos have been removed from the internet by request of the photographer's representative, but many of them can be viewed at the link to the Museum of Modern Art.
"Being an only child, it was really gratifying and lovely to be embraced by this family. There's still a ground water of affection, and support. I look back at these thirty-some pictures and it's like they're of my sisters. I can feel myself getting old with them. And I'm part of them; they're part of my love."  -Nicholas Nixon, 2013.

A Nonsensical Cartoon Quiz Just For The Heck of It

And a t-shirt if you attend the alumni reunion.

The first person to get all of them right in the comments will win a t-shirt if they also attend the track alumni reunion No fair consulting the internets!  It's honor system people.

1.  What was Speed Racer's chimpanzee's name?

2.  The little fellow is Augie Doggie.  What is his father's name?

3.   What is my full name?

 4. Who are we?

5.  Who was my really politically incorrect houseboy?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Just Because You Can Go Home Again...

Doesn't Mean Anyone Will Know You.

Actually a total of 2 people did know me.

I traveled to dear 'ole Dover High School, scene of my teenage triumphs (on the track only!) to watch my daughter's York Suburban team take on my Dover Eagles.  Also on the track was the Camp Hill Lions for a nifty tri-meet.

I did find friend Ron Bair before the meet started who was a teammate of mine and was there to escort his daughter Olivia during the Senior Day activities. He was the only person from Dover who recognized me and it was good to see his daughter Olivia Bair was an 800 M runner!

But there was a big PSU presence at the track even in the middle of bucolic rural York County.  Camp Hill's coach Mike Barndt was apparently a former PSU trackster.  I didn't get a chance to talk with him though.

And lo and behold, there was my teammate all 4 years at PSU, Mark Haywood.  There aren't too many people I've run more miles with than Mark, and it's always good to see him.  He may be able to attend our festivities next year as his daughter Katy Haywood will be moving on to college.  Mark follows his daughter's track exploits closely and she happens to be quite good at an activity neither Mark or I have ever attempted, the pole vault.  She had 3 good attempts at 10' 6" while I watched, each one of them with more than enough height for much higher results.  My advice to her was "Trust the pole" as if I know anything at all about the event.  I think I heard Don Skerpon say that once. Sounded good to me.  Remember though, I was unable to carry his 16' pole down the runway, so I never was able to see what pole vaulting was like.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Golden Putter Takes A Vacation!

Last year's winner of the Golden Putter, Dennis Hendershot, father of PSU's vertical specialist Jon Hendershot brought Horace to Myrtle Beach for a little green action.

Actually Horace only made an appearance, as Dennis putts from the left side and some Idiot Officer never anticipated something as dangerous as that.  The Putter will be available for the Coach Groves Putting Challenge at the Reunion.  At least for those of us who putt from the correct side!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

An IC4A Victory in the 4 x 400 Relay Isn't Anything to Sneeze At

I think that PSU didn't qualify for the Championship of America 4 x 400 Relay at Penn because the leadoff man Aaron Nodolsky pulled a hamstring on the backstretch in the qualifier.*  He still gamely soldiered on and the team still manged to qualify for the IC4A Finals, which is for the fastest qualified teams not making the COA.  PSU then won the heat in going-away fashion with a good time.  Steve Shisler made a great video of the IC4A Finals where his son Alex Shisler ran another 46.0 split as the second leg.  Not bad for a Freshman on one of Track's greatest platforms.  This also enhances three generations of Shisler's at Franklin Field. Here's Alex's grandfather Earl Shisler at Penn...

*Blog fact checkers will be all over me if any of these facts are wrong!  I think that's the way qualifying works at Penn, anyway.

And here's the 2013 IC4A 4 x 400 Relay Video:

Einstein Would Want You To Go To The PSU Track Alumni Reunion and Golf Outing


It is time to get your entry in for the shenanigans occurring at the Lion's Den on Friday night May 17, the Alumni "Run" and the Mt. Nittany Climb or Golf Tournament on Saturday May 18th.  Don't forget the Awards Dinner on Saturday night, either.
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