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...

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Fast 800 in Canada

Whenever there is a fast 800 M race in Canada, you can usually count on Matt Lincoln being there.  The Edmonton International Track Classic wasn't an exception. While he may not be happy with his finish, it certainly was a fast one.

  1 Nick Symmonds         United States        1:44.86^
  2 Duane Solomon         United States        1:44.91^
  3 Michael Rutt          United States        1:46.89$
  4 Geoff Harris          Canada               1:47.11$
  5 Anthony Romaniw       Canada               1:47.31$
  6 Matt Lincoln          Canada               1:50.09 
  7 Brad Bickley          Canada               1:52.99 
 -- Quinn Ferguson        Canada                 DNF 
 -- Julius Mutekanga      Uganda                 DNS 
Meanwhile, Casimir Loxsom is headed to Vancouver to join 
Matt for another fast 800?? And all I get is a trip to 
West Virginia! Let's hope the internetty thingie is 
working there this time! 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

I Miss Some of the Old* Music: a Diversion From Track, Physics and Golf

*AC/DC  1975 was when I first heard of them.  A band so cool that when their lead singer died after a hard night of drinking, they auditioned a guy who could only scream, and still hired him. . For those about to rock, I salute you.

Here's a rather cool update of "Thunderstruck"

Long live the Aussies.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Another Thank You to Coach Groves

As I read this article in Runner's World, I realized more and more that I somehow felt I have heard this story before.  Can't think where, though?
  1. A highly successful Coach.
  2. A Coach loved by nearly all of his athletes.
  3. A Coach dedicated to one place for many years.
  4. A Coach willing to Coach everyone willing to put in the work.
  5. A Coach who seemingly isn't in it for the money.
  6. A Coach who is highly opinionated on many subjects.
  7. A Coach often involved in "discussions" with Superiors. (hee hee hee)
  8. A Coach who teaches much more than "sports".
This Blog is dedicated to one such Coach.  Sure, he may not be perfect.  But he'll be the very first person to tell you that.  And you'd learn more than you ever suspected you could if you just listened more.   Thanks Coach, again... I really was listening.

I Can Vouch For The Third Best French Fries in America

A "small" order of fries with gravy and cheese.
I've discussed "The Dirty O" before on the blog, but it was about their hot dogs. They also make the list of the ten best french fries in America from Kitchen Daily. The O has a completely separate area where only french fries are prepared.  A true french fry connoisseur knows that the secret is to have a soft inside and a crispy outside.  To achieve this end, cooking them more than once is absolutely essential.   Three times is just the ticket, and The Original does it to perfection.  First they are boiled, then they are fried twice in pure peanut oil.  They are served with a choice of beef gravy, ketchup or cheese (or a combination of all three!).  They are also served on a cafeteria tray and often don't fit on it.  Whenever anyone orders a "large" chuckles can be heard everywhere, as a small order will feed an entire cross-country team without problems.  Maybe a large order is really on the board to garner these laughs and no one has ever actually ordered one?

The Original Hot Dog Shop is located on the campus of Pitt University on Forbes Street.  I recommend a small order of fries with two hot dogs.  They are such a good hot dog shop that they won't even put ketchup on their dogs.*

*Always a good sign of a top-notch hot dog joint.  Although my favorite hot dog is one with just ketchup and dill pickle spears, I appreciate the artistry of the chefs who refuse to put ketchup on them.

What is your favorite Hot Dog?  French Fry?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Brains and Speed Are a Good Combo: A GPA Higher than His Time For the Mile!

It's been a fine year for PSU XC and Track, but we should never lose sight of the other side of the Student/Athlete coin.  Fortunately, Robby** Creese has that covered also.  In addition to PRs and Penn Relay Watches and Wheels, Robby just received a Capital One Academic All-American honor.  Having met him and watched his progress as an athlete with great delight, it is even better seeing him achieve an honor like this. Well done. (In Mathematics*, no less!)

Name someone else you know with a GPA higher than their time for the Mile! (in the comments)

Photo by Tim O'Dowd.

*The nourishing  root of Physics, BTW.
** I'm going to switch it to Robby from now on.  It has been spelled both ways in "official" releases in the past but now it seems Robby is the correct form.  It might take me months to go back and change them all. Patience is a virtue.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Clark Finally Sent Me Some Video From the Tournament!

 I have not yet received the Official Results of the Tourney from Harry Smith, but at least I have finally received some of the video from the 12th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament.  Enjoy.

The Ultimate Golf FAIL Compilation

Joe Kovacs to World University Games

Following his 6th place finish at the USATF Championships, Joe Kovacs has been selected to the World University Games team.  Congrats Joe!

And you thought that chemistry set you had as a kid was cool, how about a particle accelerator for your desk!

Bringing the Tevatron to your desk!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

One Thing Longer Than a 25-Lapper is a Silver Anniversary

25 laps versus 25 years.  No contest. 6/26/1988

One of two wedding photos I can find.
I lived in York, PA.  Barb lived in Philadelphia.  The wedding planner lived in Herkimer, NY and the wedding was at Eisenhower Chapel on campus.  Every step of the way was a hassle.  From the strict interpretation of the Philadelphia Diocese keeping us from using the campus site until a Monsignor intervened to the logistics of doing the license and pre-marriage classes in Philadelphia. It was also a hassle for all the guests, since no one was from State College, everyone had to travel.

Somehow it came off quite well.  The first ever reception at The Atherton Hotel was really one of the best events of its kind I have been to.  Mind you, all I did was show up.  Living away from everyone involved in the planning meant I had nothing to do with it.  Guests liked the idea of being somewhere apart from their usual digs, and the Party was monumental, I have been told.

The only hitch in the whole ordeal for me was the unexplained migratory arthralgia that seized my right foot foot and Achilles tendon that kept me from a run on that day. The bachelor party at the Putt-Putt Course the night before was pretty cool though. I'm all about excitement as most of you know.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Atlas Holds Up Under Pressure

Ryan Whiting celebrates by holding up three 1500 M runners.  For those not into math, that's 4500 M and barely struggling!

Adopted PSU Track Alumni Golfer Ryan Whiting won his first National Championship yesterday with a mighty heave of 72 feet 6 1/2 inches.  Nittany Lion Alum Joe Kovacs came in 6th with a very good 65 feet 1 1/4 inches.

Ryan doesn't forget his fans.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Big Men Take Over on the Last Day

Top Field Judge Mark Heckel
Joe Kovacs and Ryan Whiting are left in today's Shot Put Championships.  Both will be throwing near Ex-PSU Hammer Thrower and Blue Band Captain Mark Heckel, now a top-notch Field Judge at the NCAA and USATF  levels.

Bridget Franek showed just how much of a true champion she is after her steeplechase event at the USATF Championships.  With a lap remaining she was in third place, but a brutal 1:40 last 400 M in the near 100 degree temperatures left her in 12th place.  She still faced the interviewers and gave honest and enlightening answers to everything they asked. I have no doubt she'll rebound from the disappointment and will have a rather stellar European swing in the coming months. 

"Everything just got hard." -Bridget Franek, following the 2013 USATF Steeplechase.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

It Was a Very Fine Year

None of the Nittany Lions qualified for the Finals in yesterday's action at the USATF Senior Championships.  But with that disappointment comes the realization of what a great year it was for Penn State Track and Field.  (Several Lions are left in the Junior Championships and several alums and honorary alums are still in the hunt for the Seniors.)

Honorary PSU Track Alumni Golfer Ryan Whiting with Former Lion Coach T.J. Crater (UW Coach now) and Joe Kovacs ready for Sunday's action.

Tori Gerlach continued PSU Steeplechase prowess, placing 4th in the event at the Junior Championships in 10:55.19. Kiah Seymour just missed the Finals in the 400 M Hurdles, placing 9th in 1:00.38.

Freshman (now Sophomore!) Brannon "The Kid" Kidder found himself in a very fast Semi-Final of the 800 M.  With the leaders at under 51 seconds at the 400 M mark, Brannon found himself playing catch-up early.  Things never materialized and he finished 7th at 1:48.82, two seconds off his new PR and in overall 15th place.

Senior (now Brooks Running Group and PSU Track Alumni!) Casimir Loxsom also found himself in a pretty quick opening 400 M, with him in among the leaders.  The final 100 M looked to be a little bit of torture, as the looooong Collegiate season came to a close for him.  He finished 7th in his heat, 13th place overall in 1:46.73.  I want to take this opportunity to let Cas know that I have thoroughly enjoyed watching his Penn State career and can't wait to see what the sport has in store for him.  Keep in touch with our Alumni Group when possible!

Brook's star Casimir Loxsom. Photo by Becky Miller.

Here's a nice Flotrack Article about PSU's 800 M Semi-Finalists.

And let's not forget that Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan is the Head Women's Coach for the World Championships in Moscow.

Friday, June 21, 2013

It's Raining Updates!

  1. Congrats to Laura Loht, the Number 5 best Javelin Thrower in America!  With a PR toss of 177' 8" at the USATF Championships yesterday.  Lauren Kenney came in 13th.
  2. From our Morale Officer, PSU Track Alumni Golfer and William and Mary Coach Stephen Walsh's Freshman 5000 M runner won the Junior Championship to make the team for the World Championships.  Emily Stites ran 16:13.77.
  3. From Javelin standout and PSU Track Alumni Golfer Todd Leggett, retired PSU Professor and 93 year-old runner George Etzwiler conquered the Mt. Washington "One Hill"  7.6 mile race. I have made him an honorary member of our group with unanimous consent of all the Idiot Officers.
  4. Casimir Loxsom (1:49.17) and Brannon Kidder (1:46.87) both qualified for the semi-finals of the 800 M at the USATF Championships.  Robbie Creese found himself in a jog and sprint preliminary of the 1500 M and failed to advance. 
  5. Mike Pfaff will be filming a starring role in a film set in Beantown soon.  He will play a hitman with a change of heart who finds himself on the other end of a contract.  Costars will be Lenny Clarke, Adoni Maropis and Robert Wahlberg.  Hit his IMDb link to boost his Hollywood Rating!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

National Championships Arrive With Plenty of Nittany Lions

Photo by Mark "Beef" Heckel, Premier Field Official in America.
With places on the World Championship team at stake, the USATF Championships have finally arrived.  There are several Lions with great chances of making the team who won't be named by me in order to avoid any jinxes.

Fresh off the NCAA's, the Mens Middle Distance contingent of Brannon Kidder, Robbie Creese and Casimir Loxsom (now representing the Brooks Racing Team) find themselves in the thick of some loaded events.

Joe Kovacs and honorary member Ryan Whiting will put the shot.  Or shot the put?  I'm always so confused! (just kidding.)

Kara (Millhouse) Foster faces 25 laps of fun for the Women Distance corps along with honorary member Rebecca Donaghue in the same 10 K and Bridget Franek in the 3000 M Steeplechase.

Evonne Britton will hurdle 100 M for a shot at the team.

Lauren Kenney and Laura Loht will toss the Javelin for glory.

 And don't forget Matt Lincoln and Fawn Dorr in the Canadian Championships.

I'll bet I missed a few, so berate me in the comments to add them!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Minimalist Shoes and Forefoot Strikers Hardest Hit

This heel striker somehow made the Olympic team!
Remember my earlier post about "barefoot" shoes and "mid-foot strikers"?  For the record, barefoot or minimalist shoes are simply the shoes all of us ran in during the 70's (at quite a mark up now!), and mid-foot strikers don't exist, (They are just equal heel and forefoot strikers.)

I pointed out that these types of shoes won't reduce running injury rates, they will just change what injuries you get.  Sometimes, those injuries are more long-term than the ones you used to get with the clunky, new-fangled shoes.  They also won't make you faster and won't increase the distances you can run.  They might feel better to you, so if that is the case, be my guest. 

I also bragged that I was correct in all this, without regard to "proof", unless you count 27 years worth of podiatry as any type of proof.  You get to decide that. Well, the bottom is falling out from under these crazes earlier than I thought they would.  (Remember though, there are still some hippies around from the 60's even though most of them are now high government employees that gave up on all of their principles.)

Addendum: And from our William and Mary Friends:

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Idea of True Art As a Diversion Until USATF Championships

I'm not much into art.  What most people consider good, I squint and wonder about.  My idea of what is good is on perpetual display at the Washington DC Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery, although the display has been reduced in recent years from when I first saw it in 1980.

The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly is on the first floor of the museum at 8th and F Streets, N.W. right near the Verizon Center.

This is the work of James Hampton, a Washington DC janitor and Army veteran.  He started on his life's work in 1950 and regularly reported visions from God.  The work was a welcoming for the second Coming of Jesus. It was discovered after his death in 1964.  It consists of old furniture, odds-and-ends, discarded materials and foil.  Especially foil!

Although raised a Baptist, James created his work using his own interpretations of religion, and even used a language still not deciphered.  He worked on his creation daily.  It consisted of more than 180 objects at the time of his death and was most certainly not completed. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I'm Not the Best Father, But I Got One Thing Right

Happy Father's Day to everyone.  

Robert Baskwill and me, circa 1979.

My dad was a Track and Field Official for around 40 years, nearly always manning the high jump at all levels from Junior High up to the level of High School Districts.  I remember my first track meet at McCaskey High School in Lancaster at the District 3 Meet when I needed a stick to help place the bar back on the standards.

Now I get to watch my daughters at track meets in the 800 M,"mile", 100 M hurdles and 400 M!  Nearly everything but the high jump.  Soon, I hope that changes, as I'm sending my youngest to PSU Track Camp under the tutelage of Coach Fritz Spence in the multi-events.  

Probably the only really good thing that I've brought to the parenting front was my promise to my kids that they can always buy a book, even if its my very last dollar.  I've kept that promise to this very day, and there are few kids who have read as many and as large a variety of books in all the land.  When I recently crabbily (see my previous post!) took my kids for another trip to the former Borders in town, now a Books-A-Million, they emerged with the entire works of Charlotte Bronte and The Lord of the Flies.  They weren't for any school work, they were what they picked for "fun" reading.  The gift of reading is one thing I have given my kids.  I could have done much worse.

Does anyone have a story to tell about their dad involving track and field?  Send me a blurb in the comments.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Ten Things That Annoy Me

  1. At a Convenience Store - The guy who parks right in front of the store in the No Parking/Fire Lane because he's "only getting 1 thing". My solution some day will be to "key" their car. When I finally have "had it" and don't care anymore.
  2. At a Convenience Store - The guy in front of you in line giving a 12 foot gap from the customer at the register.  As if privacy is important when buying cigarettes and lottery tickets. Try that in China and you will be killed. There are no lines in China. My solution is to jump in front of them right behind the other person and not acknowledge them when they complain.
  3. At a Convenience Store - Paying $4 for a slice of mystery meat, a slice of processed cheese and 2 slices of damp bread.  Might as well have the 99 cent Nuke and Puke Burrito. Or 4 of them!
  4. Women drivers on the cell phone.
  5. Men drivers on the cell phone.
  6. The National Zoo.  Don't get me started.  That patch of white people were looking at behind the wall and a bunch of plants wasn't a Panda Bear.  And the Gorillas won't be in the Outdoor enclosure that the sign points to, but no one coming back from the fruitless trek down the path will bother telling you that. And the Orangutans will not be playing on their overhead poles and wires.  They will be asleep or picking at themselves behind the walls inside their cage.  Like I said, don't get me started.  And stay off my lawn.
  7. At a Convenience Store - The people crowded around the Coffee Bar putting 16 different things into their coffee and bumping into you as you try to grab a Mountain Dew (God's choice for proper morning caffeination).
  8. The humongous crowd around a sample of Greek Yogurt at Sam's Club.  Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned yogurt?  Is it all gone?  Why would we want to emulate Greece in any way anyway!?
  9. At a Convenience Store - The person in front of you at the ATM that takes 20 minutes to figure out that she can't take any money out because her balance is less than $10.
  10. At a Convenience Store - The person trying to mooch "free" air for their tires by parking real close to you and waiting until you are done with the 25 cent machine. My solution was to give him 25 pennies which he then had to go into the store to change into a quarter. That and waiting until the air stopped even though I was done inflating my tires.

Don't get me started...

Friday, June 14, 2013

He Picked One of Coach Groves' Least Interesting Pieces of Advice

"Don't attack a hill from the very bottom; it's bigger than you are!" --HARRY GROVES

Running author Mark Will-Weber included Coach Groves in a recent Runner's World article Five Pillars of Wisdom.  Coach's advice on how to run hills is probably quite good, but I'm still giggling thinking about the hundreds of pieces of advice from Coach that Mark would never be able to include in such an article.

I remember a very practical solution* Coach had a long time ago when he was taking several of us to the early morning 10K at the Coach's Conference Championships in 1980 in Piscataway NJ. (Don Ziter, Jim Clelland and Brian Boyer were there too.  I wonder if any of them remember?) 

We were behind a long line of cars turning left at a very busy intersection.  After several cycles of lights where 2 or 3 cars got through, Coach opined that all the other drivers were "idiots" (or something like that!).  He lectured that if everyone pulled ahead at a reasonable rate when the light turned green, double the number of cars would get through, instead of the reality of each car waiting until the car ahead pulls away before starting forward.  He was right, of course, but we will only see that happening when all the cars are computer-controlled and "driverless". (But at least that would free us to check all the important things on Twitter and Facebook!)

Keep it somewhat clean (on the level of Two and a Half Men's censors), but put some other pieces of Coach's advice that are better than "how to run a hill" in the comments.

*100% certified true memory.  I was riding shotgun for some reason and Coach was in top form.  I remember it as if it was yesterday.  But I can't remember what I ate for breakfast this morning.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Phun Photos (If You Call a Phorest Phire Phun!)

Another mid-80's NYC Marathon for Gary Fanelli. Photo by Clay Shaw.

Gary Black 1978 Penn Relays 4 x 800. When hair was thick and hips were real.

View from Brian Boyer's Office. Jemez Fire New Mexico.

Sunset View Jemez Phire. Photo by Brian Boyer.

More Fun Things Including Running in a Tunnel and a Beach Party!

It turns out that, in addition to the important work that Ron Moore did at the Tevatron, a weasel (well, actually a ferret!) was a valued employee at the Fermilab.

Ferret, Weasel, What's the difference?
Ron will also be reprising his role in the Reach the Beach Relay in New Hampshire in September. The Masters team consisting of mostly studly PSU alums will look to repeat the Victory.  They are also asking for Alums of all ages to man teams to sweep the competition.  And don't forget the Beach Party at the end!  Contact Mark Wimmer or Ken Cooper about details. I might send them funds for beverages and support. Let's hope some of them have Alumni Singlets and send us photos.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

An Inside View of NCAA's

Thanks to Jake Bartholomy, we have somewhat of an inside view of the goings-on in Eugene last week.  It was a week that saw the Women get a top 30 (tie 29th) finish and the Men get a 14th Place finish.  It's been a wonderful year of watching it all, and there is still the USATF and Junior Championships to come.

I have a special thank you for two One-Year Nittany Lions, Ricky West and Sam Masters.  It may have been only one year of eligibility, but its a lifetime of Alumni Status.  Lions are as loyal of a beast as there ever could be.  You'll see what I mean in the years to come.  Remember, the golf may be optional, but its highly recommended!

Here's Jake's comments on the Championships:

The meet was fantastic. There is no better place to watch track in the U.S. The stands were full every day and the crowd stays to watch the 10k's at the end of the day and clap rhythmically as runners pass in front of them. Of course, the crowd is extra loud for Oregon athletes, but that's fair and at least the crowd is into it, cheering, and knowledgeable.
As a PSU alum, I was extremely proud. On Thursday, I ran into Coach Sullivan and some other coaches and athletes right away on Thursday. They all ended up sitting with me and I had a great talk with Sam Masters about his career and future plans. I doubt I would have been that mature to engage an old alum 2 days before my biggest race ever.
I was able to meet most of the other PSU athletes who were all gracious and professional. I was bummed I didn't get a chance to meet our 800 crew of Casimir, Brannon, or Ricky. Rightfully, they were being quite careful to avoid the sun and rest their legs.
I didn't hear any criticism of the two uniforms. I could see the tv commentators talking about it though, I guess. The back story is the distance runners love the "old school" white jerseys and had them made for cross country. In track, if a distance runner makes a final, they get to wear that special jersey as an incentive/reward. Casimir asked Coach Sullivan if he could wear it in the final and since she was pleased with the effort he did put into XC last fall, she said he could wear it. In hindsight, sure it might have been nice if they looked more like a team than individuals and displayed Penn State's middle distance prowess, especially with their outstanding 2-3 finish, but the events just evolved as I mentioned. They weren't purposefully trying to be different or 'not a team.'
Again, I was so glad I could make the trip as I enjoy watching track in Eugene even if it's an all-comers meet and I don't know 1 person competing. NCAA's is special and to see our PSU coaches, staff, and athletes representing the Bue & White with fierce competitiveness and class, ie, Success with Honor, made me so proud to be a Nittany Lion.

Melissa Kurzdorfer. Photo by Jake Bartholomy.

Natalie Bower. Photo by Jake Bartholomy.

Michael Shuey. Photo by Jake Bartholomy

Sean Reilly. Photo by Jake Bartholomy.

Time For A Fun Memory

Gary Fanelli as Elwood Blues. Photo by Clay Shaw.
This takes us back to 1982 and the New York City Marathon. (2:47:23).

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Different Uniforms Upset Those Who Should Be Upset

Casimir Loxsom and Brannon Kidder wore differing uniforms in the 800 M Finals at the NCAA Championships on Friday.  This, of course, set off certain moderators and crazies at LetsRun.com in a way that brought a smile to my lips.  Thanks to the anonymous tipster for the link, as I've given up on the site lately.  It's an example of a crazy minority running roughshod over the majority of great track fans in the world.  It only takes a couple of crazies (or one using many, many sock-puppets!) to ruin an otherwise fine way of keeping up with things.  My advice is for anyone currently running at a high level, especially at PSU, is never, ever visit the site until certain fixes are installed (or UNinstalled).

Seniors Elijah Greer, Casimir Loxsom and Freshman Brannon Kidder 1, 2, 3!

Yeah, two different uniforms are within the rules. Cas makes us old-timers smile from ear to ear.

Best Finish At The NCAA Championships Since 1976!

The PSU Men's team finished in 14th place at the NCAA Championships on the backs of Middle Distance stars Casimir Loxsom (2nd 800 M), Brannon Kidder (3rd 800 M) and Robby Creese (6th 1500 M).  That's the best finish since before my days at PSU in 1976.  That takes us back to the era of Mike Sands, Mike Shine, Paul Stemmer, and Knut Hjeltnes. Not a bad era at all!

Knut Hjeltnes, 4-time Olympian.

Mike Sands, 2-Time Olympian

Paul Stemmer, PSU Legend.
Mike Shine, Olympic Silver Medalist.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

"PSU is 800 U" and I Just Met a Man I've Known My Entire Life

The last time any single school had 2 runners in the top 3 of the same 800 M at the NCAA Track Championships was 1945.  That was a war year, so it may not be a good comparison since that was also the time when MLB had a one-armed player, there being so few able-bodied men in the ranks due to The War.

Cas Loxsom with a throwback singlet and Brannon Kidder with a newfangled one.

Casimir Loxsom finished second (1:46.88) and Brannon Kidder finished 3rd (1:47.51).  Hat tip to Oregon's Elijah Greer with the win at 1:46.68. It's been one heck of a career for Cas, and Brannon's seems to have started out fairly well too!  Only a true Hater would begrudge Cas the lack of an NCAA Championship in the age of Andrew Wheating, Charles Jock, Robby Andrews and Elijah Greer.  We have been blessed with an abundance of amazing talent in the middle distances, and PSU is holding their own quite well, thank you very much!  Having met Casimir and the rest of them makes me realize that they are even better people than runners, which is saying a lot.

We should all sport our "PSU is 800 U" wrist bands with the pride of a Champion and the humility of a human. If you don't have one yet, let me know.

And yesterday I spent the day in Gettysburg, checking out college options for my daughter.  I had a meeting with group member Darryl Jones at Admissions and I must say it reinforces my conviction that our group's members are some of the finest people on the planet.  Darryl grew up in Central PA just like me and walked onto Coach Groves' team the year after I left for Philadelphia.  Our paths didn't cross that we know of until now, but it's like we have known each other for our entire lives.  Probably 2 dozens of your names came up during our conversation.  PSU Track Alumni (Golfers) are some of the most talented, accomplished and intelligent people I have ever met.  Darryl himself has so many talents, none of us could possibly keep track of all of them.  I especially can't wait to sample some of his cooking.

Friday, June 7, 2013

A Pleasant Summer Evening in Eugene

Robbie Creese eased into the finals of the 1500 M at the NCAA semifinals with a 3:43.55.  Several others attained PR's in other events but didn't make it past the semis. It is still amazing how nearly all of them are at the top of their game, prepared and trained by a great coaching staff.  Huzzahs all around.

Penn State Track Alumni (Golfers) are in the crowd, spreading the word of the soon-to-be largest and most active Track Alumni Group in the world.  Jake Bartholomy sent me this great pic of already legendary Sam Masters biding his time before the 5000 M finals in the stands.

Sam Masters. Photo by Jake Bartholomy

And I mistook this for an Alumni Singlet at first on my Palm Pre Plus phone screen (Yes, I'm holding out against the evil Apple Empire with a 5 year old phone!) but it's really an authentic 1992 PSU jersey that just happened to find itself in Jake's wardrobe.  "I have no idea how that got there Coach Groves. I swear."

NOT an Alumni Singlet!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Both Men's and Women's Premier Events Excel On First Day

The Finals of the Women's Javelin were held on the first day of the NCAA Championships.  Laura Loht used 2 consecutive PR's to place 4th and Lauren Kenney placed 5th, giving the Lady Lions 9 points in the standings.

The Men's 800 M Prelims also gave the Lions quite a fine showing as Cas Loxsom and Brannon Kidder both "coasted" to automatic slots in Friday's finals.  Ricky West ended his career with a Second-Team All-American 13th place.  He's first in my heart for wearing his "PSU is 800 U" bracelet in competition though!

Brannon Kidder leading Oregon's quixotic Elijah Greer (in fourth) with 100M to go.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Summer! What To Do While Waiting For the NCAAs To Begin ?

As I talked to another person who had their car plowed into by a texter yesterday, I started to wonder about the things we used to do before electronics were wrought on our society.  One thing was to drive with more care than today.  Another was to keep your private conversations to yourself.  But I'm a curmudgeon on these things. Not quite as bad as the Unabomber, but he was probably right about just that one point!

My mental wanderings gravitated to the kids I saw on the way home from work, all of which were ignoring those around them while staring at a 2 x 3 inch glowing screen, their fingers on the keyboard putting out their most important thoughts, all of which are carefully being saved by our government of no-bounds in a huge facility in Utah.  Thank goodness we will have historic conversations like this one forever:
A: Wat U Dewin?
B: Nuttin.
B: OMG Did ya c wat  H is werrin?
A: Ya!!!
I ended up remembering the things I did with my friends many summers ago, before Atari came to be, all of which are far better than Angry Birds.
  1. Kick the Can - A mutant version of the game requiring hiding, seeking and mysteriously, no can.
  2. Glow Ball Tag - On dark, moonless nights.  This ended when two players ran into each other at high speeds.  We spent hours with flashlights looking for a lost front tooth until it was found in runner A's forehead!
  3. Dirt Clod Battles -  This was back when homes were being built all around, an easy source of said weapons.
  4. Burning Ants - The big magnifier on a hot day made you a god among ants.
  5. War - Most times with the cousins.  Older cousins got "knives" and the young ones got "guns" that were 100% accurate from any distance.  The older cousins always won anyway.  These wars were bounded by 4 or 5 blocks, although sometimes the whole town was fair game.
  6. Wiffle Ball - With 2-man teams.  The rules became really complicated about ground ball outs, imaginary runners tagging up from third on fly balls and whether the septic field was "in or out" of play despite being right in the middle of center field.
  7. Tag Football - With trees, bushes and the septic field definitely in the field of play. Football became much more fun once the sewers were put in!
  8. Building Bike Ramps - No bike ever left the confines of Earth, however.
  9. Porch Soccer - A version of the worlds most popular game in the confines of the irregular 8 ft. x 15 ft. fenced-in "turf"  Scores were usually 40-36 or so.  Much better than the real version. There were always arguments as to who touched the ball last and had to chase it when it went out-of-bounds.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Four Award Winners in Eugene!

Mid-Atlantic Coaches and Athletes of the Year!
  1. Casimir Loxsom  Loxsom, a senior from New Haven, Conn., is an NCAA finals qualifier at 800 meters for the fourth-straight year after posting the East Prelims’ fastest time at 1:47.12 and in the 4×400 relay. He finished runner-up  in the Big Ten 800 meters, and has run a season’s best  1:46.77 in the 800 — the third fastest performance in Division I in 2013. Loxsom was named Penn Relays Track Athlete of the Meet as a member of Penn Relays winning 4×800 and DMR in 9:24.68, the 2013 NCAA leader and 6th fastest program in NCAA history. 
  2. Mahagony Jones  A junior from Cleveland, Ohio, Jones is a three-event NCAA Finals qualifier at 100 and 200 meters, and the 4×400. She is ranked No. 8 in the NCAA at 100 meters in 11.33 (+2.0m/s), and has also run 23.15w (+3.0m/s) at 200. She scored a total of 21 points towards the Nittany Lions’ team title run at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships with an individual 100 meters title, runner-up honors at 200, and a third-place 4×400 showing.
  3. Beth Alford-Sullivan  Sullivan, in her 14th year coaching the Nittany Lion women, moved the team to a Big Ten title as was named the league’s coach of the year. Three athletes won individual event titles at the conference meet and Penn State advanced nine women in eight events to the NCAA Final Rounds. Penn State had 24 entries into the NCAA preliminaries – fifth most among all teams. Penn State enters the NCAA Finals ranked No. 24 in the nation.
  4. John Gondak  In his seventh season as the Penn State middle-distance coach, he guided four NCAA Finals qualifiers including Mid-Atlantic Region Track Athlete of the Year Casimir Loxsom among three qualifiers at 800 meters and another at 1500. Coached two winning relays at Penn in the 4×800 and the DMR, which ran the sixth-fastest time in collegiate history, earning Loxsom Track Athlete of the Meet honors.

Monday, June 3, 2013

More Tempting Tidbits For My Wife I Won't Let Her See

With my posting of the Mt. Everest Marathon, Janet Norem sent me This from the Dark Continent.  I'm not going to show my wife it at all. And she almost never reads my blog anyway, and rolls her eyes a lot when she does.

But there also has been a big, big increase in Antarctica Marathons in the last few years.  Nearly all of them claim some sort of "First" or "Unique" status.  But I had a professor of anatomy in Podiatry School who ran in the very first one in the mid 70's.  It was a 5-Mile loop on one of only a few paved roads on the continent at the time.  Most of the "Official" ones today aren't even on the continent, they are merely within the Antarctic Circle.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ready For NCAA's and Don't Give My Wife Any Ideas

My new Golf Cap.

Instead of investing in lessons or many practice rounds, I have decided I will purchase a new Nike Dri-Fit Golf Cap.  I'm hoping that will elevate my game next year, likely the next round I play!  I had the wonderful folks at Lids add the motto, which confused them beyond belief.  They were quite happy with it once I told them that it somehow tees off people at other schools.  They even put a rush on the order.  Turned out pretty nice.  I'll wear it during next week's opening round of the 800 heats.

The 800 M may be the Men's premier event this year with 3 representatives, but don't forget the Women's premier event, the Javelin also.

And whatever you do. don't let my wife know about the Mt. Everest Marathon.  The Walt Disney World Dopey 4-event weekend in January will be more than enough. And here's a great 3-D tour of Mt. Everest.

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