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...

Monday, June 30, 2014

"Almost Heaven..." And an Open Note for PSU "Higher Ups" (Pass it along!)

I'm here in glorious West Virginia again reading about all the great vacations others are taking.  Oh well, West Virginia has many things to offer too!

Did I tell you about the first time I was here, buying batteries for my camping lantern at Wal Mart?  As I was reaching for my wallet, and I'm not masking this up, in the door walked a man covered from the top of his head to the bottom of his boots in coal dust.  Did I tell you I'm not making this up, or embellishing it in any way?  Straight from whatever mine was closest to Wal Mart, without even thinking of changing clothes or taking a shower.  The funny part was that I was the only person in the store that reacted as if something was amiss. I didn't have a cell phone for photos at the time but my wife will vouch for my complete and honest portrayal of events.  Imagine a photo of some big guy and then insert a silhouette instead.  And did I tell you I'm not making it up?

West Virginia Jokes (With apologies to Jeff Adkins, WV's Mr. Football in 1977.)

How do you know tooth brushes were invented in WV?  (They would be called teeth brushes if they were invented anywhere else.)

Why do so many get away with murder in WV? (The DNA always matches everyone and there are no dental records.)

Did you hear that the governor's mansion in West Virginia burned down?  (It almost took the entire trailer park with it!)

Why do Marshall grads keep their diplomas on their dashboards? (So they can park in handicap parking spaces.)

What's the difference between a Marshall University sorority sister and a scarecrow? (One lives in a field and is stuffed with hay.  The other frightens birds and small animals.)

Did you hear about the fire in University of West Virginia's football dorm that destroyed 20 books? (The real tragedy is 15 of them hadn't been colored yet.)

And I must reiterate how great it is to see that Casimir Loxsom finished 2nd in the 800M at the USATF National Championships.  And Mohogany Jones taking 5th at the 200M also.  It was another glorious PSU Track and field season.

And in near unanimous fashion PSU Track and Field Alumni Golf Officers are all-in for Coach John Gondak becoming the new Head Coach (or Director, or whatever they are calling them today...) of the Penn State Nittany Lions.  He has demonstrated superb coaching ability, logistical planning, wonderful rapport with family and alums, dedication and work ethic, as well as unbelievable recruiting abilities during his last 8 years.  I have seen him sustain a small cut and he bleeds blue and white.  He has earned more than a chance to head up one of the finest T&F teams in the nation.  I have no doubt that he would bring honor and acclaim to everyone affiliated with PSU.  Remember what Coach Groves said about Athletics in college:

"Athletics is for education and recreation, nothing else. Winning is important only in that you learn more." -Coach Groves.

And in that regard, Coach Gondak shines even brighter.  If you look at the young men and women who have graduated from PSU in the past 8 years, you will see some of the finest America has to offer.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Track's Hot! So is the runway...

Track temperature surfaces estimated at 120 Fahrenheit today in Sacramento.

Just a few moments ago Mahagony Jones took fifth in the USATF Outdoor 200m final (22.64). One heck of a way to go out as a senior.

Just less than half an hour ago Casimir Loxsom took second in the USATF Outdoor 800m final (1:45). Duane Solomon took the bell lap at 49 seconds with Cas on his heels. Always one to get out hard, Cas' agressive running paid off in big ways as Charles Jock caused a bit of a stumble from the middle pack with 500m to go. Congrats Cas.

Meanwhile back here in Bucks County, the airport runway was hot. The afternoon heat was tipping over 90 degrees as Owen and Kyle Dawson took 1-2 in the Bucks County Mile — an out-and-back on the Johnstown Naval Air Base Runway in Warminster, PA. Hobbling on the sideline but cheering nonetheless was me.
These two remind me of that scene in Happy Gilmore where Happy keeps throwing big checks in the back seat of his car as he hops from tournament to tournament trying to buy back his Grandmother's house.

How do I get one of those big checks?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Murmurs From Javelin Nation: (and What's Coming Next?)

I have had the longest dry spell of my blogging "career".  And it isn't through writer's block or anything.  I actually haven't had enough time to get to it.  I have been busy at work trying to get ready for my annual trip to Harper's Ferry (aka The Land of Internet Lost).  My day job really is interfering more and more with my blogging!  Here's gory proof of my latest work yesterday, an endoscopic plantar fasciotomy for recalcitrant plantar fascitis.  Despite what "know-it-alls" tell you, it's 94% successful at eradicating the scourge once-and-for-all.

This one was really smooth, taking 6 total minutes!
First up, we forgot to mention the fine PSU finishes in the Javelin at Day 2 of the USATF Championships.  Karlee McQuillen placed 8th with a toss of 181' 0" and Laura Loht finished 12th with a best of 163' 8".

I'm also working on a few posts of times gone by.  One is a detailed look back at the Phi Psi 500 again, this time through the eyes of a new internet friend and real-life friend of Pete Bortolotti and Charlie Maquire.  It turns out there is a healthy Hash House Harrier group in State College sponsoring frequent "Beer Miles".  That's something this near teetotaler never knew about.  I'll try to bring you more while on vacation, while complaining about camping as usual!

I'm also working on a look back at the 1975 NCAA Cross Country Championships, which were hosted at PSU's Blue Golf Course. The classic dual between Craig "Surgin" Virgin and Nick Rose was featured.  I had an opportunity to speak with Craig several years ago and you may be surprised by what he remembers most about that day!

And I'll bet Matt is sleeping in, but will bring us the news from Day 3 of the USATF Championships when he finally rouses. (Hint: nice run Cas!)

Friday, June 27, 2014


I'll keep short and sweet today. Yesterday was a solid day for the Alumni competing at the USATF Outdoor Championships. In the men's 800 meters Cas Loxsom advanced out of the first round coming second in his heat with a 1:47.92. The semi-finals are tonight at 11:26 EST and can viewed on USATF.tv.

Bridget Franek won her heat of the steeple prelims in 9:39.56 to auto qualify for the final on Saturday.
Kara Foster competed in the 10,000 meter final and took 10th in 33:11.18.

 And probably the biggest headline of day 2 was Alysia Montano, who is 8 months pregnant, running the 800. She came last in her heat in 2:22.13, which is about 35 seconds slower than her PR but still faster than what the average non-pregnant person can run for a half mile.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

National Champ!

Athlete NameMark
1Joseph Kovacs
Flight: 1
72-3 ½

2Kurtis Roberts
Flight: 1
70-5 ¼

3Reese Hoffa
Nike / New York Athletic Club
Flight: 1
68-2 ¼

4Jonathan Jones
University at Buffalo
Flight: 1

5Richard Garrett
Flight: 1
66-9 ¼

6Jordan Clarke
Flight: 1
65-9 ¾

7Nick Vena
Flight: 1
65-9 ¾

8Cory Martin
Flight: 1
65-3 ½

9Zack Lloyd
National Athletic Institute
Flight: 1
64-5 ¾

10Curtis Jensen
Illinois St.
Flight: 1
64-3 ¼

11Darrell Hill
Penn St.
Flight: 1
64-1 ¼

12Albert Fournette
Flight: 1
61-2 ¾

Via Image Of Sport
Via TrackAndFieldPhoto
Joe's throw is also a new Alumni Record, which I'm sure has been one of his goals for awhile now (he also has the indoor shot put record). The previous best was held by C.J. Hunter with a 21.87m (71' 9") throw in 2000.

He had this to say on his victory.

“Things might not have looked as pretty as last season but it’s starting to come together. Just taking a while to line everything up. But this season, I’ve PR’d a lot and things are really starting to line up but at the same time, you want to do it big. Especially at this venue. I’m glad to have come away with a win.”

Tonight is Cas Loxsom's turn to represent Penn State Track and Field Alumni with the 1st round of the 800 scheduled for 7:40 PM EST. Once again the meet will be broadcast live on USATF.tv.

Thanks, Coach.

Matt Groves and David Baskwill asked that I share some thoughts with you all, the Penn State Alumni, the athletes and friends of the program, and that I might be able to impart on you some of my experiences here running for Coach Alford-Sullivan these last four years, and what her departure means to me as one of her final graduated Penn State runners.
Coach Sullivan and a some of the distance crew at the 2013
Stanford Invitational. (From left to right: Matt Fischer,
Tyler Corkedale, Coach Sullivan, Me, Kara Foster,
Natalie Bower, Tori Gerlach, Emily Giannotti,
and Abbie Benson)

First, obviously, I must simply say thank you, Coach. Thank you for your dedication to us, especially for your great leadership of our distance contingency and of our whole program.

Coach's legacy precedes her and I won't detail all of it. But fifteen years, 8 with the men. I was here for half of them and I was a part of a record-high finish for the men's team in the Big Ten. I've watched almost our entire record book be rewritten. We've been ranked in the top ten in the country and I got the special opportunity to travel with the men's cross country team that got us back to the NCAA Championship in 2010. You've affected such great and positive change for Penn State both on the track and in the community. It's been an honor to run for a team that truly embodies the core values you have attempted to instill. Writing about them in a blog could never do them all justice, but I will try to at least get us started.

I know for certain that if she was asked to list her core beliefs or mottos, these would undoubtedly have to be included:

1)”Don’t miss the moment.”

One of her favorite lines leading up to every conference and NCAA championship. It all started when I was a freshman at the Penn State Indoor National. I just got done running one of the best mile runs of my life, winning the slow heat. Before I could celebrate too much or start to walk over to my gear, Coach had me by the shirt.

"Good Scarp, now don't miss the moment. I want you to watch this next race and learn something. You're about to watch a very special mile."

The next thing to happen was that Ryan Foster, rabbitted by Luke Watson, crossed the line in 3:58— good for a school record and Penn State's first ever sub-four minute mile indoors. I was so excited I thought my head was about to explode. At the time, believe it or not, I had never actually dreamed I would witness a sub four minute mile in college, let alone by a teammate!

Coach Sullivan made sure I didn't miss the moment. Coach Sullivan told us being a part of these moments was our choice— to live in it, or to wish that you had, as both a competitor and a teammate. Wake up. Look alive. Dream with your eyes open and live in this moment. One of Coach Sullivan’s favorite quotes comes from T.E. Lawrence, author of Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

2) “Have Penn State Pride in all that you do.”

Every school talks about pride. But the depth of the pride here is different. Coach Sullivan wanted every athlete to feel the weight that this name carried.

"For each of you there's got to be at least 100 other kids at this school that want to do what you do and think that they have what it takes to represent your school and your team. Trust me— I get emails from them every day."

Coach demanded we treat it as a privilege, and took a moment to recognize pride for our program everywhere that she saw it. Back in the spring we had our senior recognition ceremony before Jim Thorpe Invite on the infield of Ashenfelter Track. There in the stands stood not only my Mom and Dad watching it, but also a few Aunts and Uncles, my Grandmother, and two little cousins. Maybe some people thought it was a little unusual. “Why is Scarp’s family here? It’s just Jim Thorpe – not that big a deal.”

Coach Sullivan knew that it wasn't unusual at all actually. She has known from day one and appreciated the way my families here at Penn State and at home are so intertwined. My mother Beth, along with her seven brothers and sisters, were all Penn Staters. At school many of them knew my Dad, and his nine siblings, because they too were all Penn Staters. I myself have attended school here with six different cousins and with my brother Justin. My brother Pat starts his freshman year at main campus this fall.

Grandmom (MaryAnn) Scarpello and I at my senior sendoff. Grandmom and my Grandfather Joe (Pennsylvania State College '38 Alumnus) raised 10 proud Penn Staters: their names Joe, John, Jim, Jeff, Jerome, Jude, Jason, Janine, Josh, and Jeremy. Jerome gave birth to the first grandson, Justin (my brother, named in honor of my late Uncle) and he graduated Penn State this past December with a degree in Supply Chain.

Joe Paterno, whom Coach Sullivan identifies as one of her great teachers and mentors, always preached that you play for the name on the front of your jersey. Coach must have taken that lesson from Joe and applied it one step further. She knew that any Scarpello, with our storied history, was proud to be playing for that name on the back. Throughout my time here at Penn State I was beyond honored to race for both the Scarpello family and the Penn State family names.

3) "Be a good teammate."

Coach wanted our teams to be close like family. Combining the men's and women's programs, in her eyes, was only the first step. Coach Sullivan knew that every name on this carried with it a one-of-a-kind story that added meaning and depth to the significance of our ties to Penn State Track & Field. Coach knew every athlete's story. She made it a point to do so. Meanwhile, Coach held us accountable for doing the same. In my time here, I watched our team finally internalize this value before my very eyes.

"If your race is over, we need you over by the backstretch cheering for the Javelinas. If you're in line at the snack bar while everyone's over here hootin' and hollerin' in the stands, I'm going to be asking you what you're doing."  (-Or something like that)

"Jumpers: you ever stop and talk to one of the throwers in the locker room? 'Hey, ol' Wilbur, how was practice? How many thousand pounds did you squat today?'"

"Ask yourself how engaged are you in this Big Ten Drive? Because when it's noon time on Saturday, it's game on, gamers. We need to be rocking and roaring on this BTD, and it starts right NOW, Penn State!"

Here at Penn State, it is a prerequisite that newcomers learn track & field is NOT an individual sport. Not on this team. If you ever had trouble understanding that, Coach knew how to quickly get you up to speed.

4) "Honor our tradition."

Coach Sullivan would have been remiss to had not recounted the great accomplishments of some individuals:  Ashenfelter, Franek, Fredericks, Mills, Ewell, Moore, the list goes on. That day after the senior send-off ceremony, I did a walkabout of the Ashenfelter Track accompanied by my two younger cousins. As we walked beneath those banners that our team hung just two years ago, I pointed up at the black and white photos of national champions. I was able to recite many of their stories and accomplishments. Coach was the one who taught me this history. She would just point up at the banners one day while we were stretching down after a run and start talking about Larry Shields or Shana Cox. I didn't necessarily ask to learn, at least not at first— I think she just figured, hey, people really ought to know about these guys and gals. They did some pretty cool stuff. Four years later I'm still craving to learn more.
Coach printed out this black and white photo for everyone on the XC squad in 2011. The 1942 XC National Champs. "Hang it in your dorm room," she said. "Be glad I don't make you wear the singlets that the freshmen in this photo are wearing." (In case the photo is too grainy, there are at least 10 singlets that
contain the single word "FRESHMAN" emblazoned across the chest.)

TIME LAPSE:  58 years later, I too stood alongside my XC teammates as a wide-eyed
freshman taking our annual Lion Shrine photo. 

5) “Every day for 15 years I have awakened with your dreams, your aspirations and your goals pushing me to be better at what I do.”

One of the very first things Coach will tell you about herself is that she likes a challenge. Well, Coach, you certainly came to the right place because we gave you plenty of them. Never mind all the great challenges placed upon Penn State Athletics these last two and a half years. Every challenge that the members of this team endured, whether brought to us by an opponent or brought upon ourselves, Coach also endured. She shared our burdens in self-doubt, injury, discipline, motivation, stress at home, stress at school, anything. Her willingness, her eagerness, to carry that enormous weight placed upon her, by addressing these incredible challenges each and every day is what made her such a great leader of the Penn State Track & Field family. Four years later I understand now the lesson she has always tried to instill in us about never giving up on the dreams you set out to accomplish.

Coach never gave up on us, and so we learned to never give up on each other. I would be lying to say everyone always got along. At moments my teammates and I fought like siblings. But that's what families do. And Coach Sullivan, you helped make that experience of a true (and competitive!) track family real for us. Thank you for sharing our dreams, and for teaching me and so many others what it takes to be a true Penn Stater. Thank you for your service to the team. Your time with the team doesn't end, it just changes.

Wishing you all the best at Tennessee, Coach. You will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Shot Put Capitol

The USATF Outdoor Championships begin today with the men's and women's shot put. Qualifying begins at 10 am for the women and 11:30 am for the men, the finals are this evening 4:30 pm for women and 6:15 pm for men. The event will be broadcast live via USATF.tv.

Now what makes this years shot put intriguing, besides the fact that Joe Kovacs and Darrell Hill will be competing, is the venue for the event....

The throwers will be competing at the foot of the California State Capitol building. Is Arnold still the Governor? That would be great to see him come down from his office and see how far he can put it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Slaw And Fries On The Sammich

From Onward State

"Penn State bros everywhere suffer a major loss today. After weeks of speculation, multiple sources have confirmed to Onward State that the Gingerbread Man will close its doors this summer to make way for the iconic Pittsburgh sandwich shop and bar franchise Primanti Bros....."

Looks appetizing enough.

Yinzers rejoice, you finally have a Pittsburgh staple to enjoy. I always thought it was weird there wasn't a Pittsburgh favorite in State College, considering half of the student population is from that area. I mean we have cheesesteak and pretzel places for the Philly folk and the locals associate more with Western PA than Eastern (unfortunately).

As for losing the GMAN. Can't say I am to upset as I never really went to the place. So no tears shed and I am kind of looking forward to seeing if Primanti Brothers is worth the hype.

As I was writing this post I have found out that Beth Alford-Sullivan will be leaving Happy Valley for Rocky Top as she as accepted the Director of Track and Field/Cross Country position at Tennessee. We will have more on this soon.

Just a Frivolous Post to Buy Some Time

I'm actually working on a few posts, but haven't had the time to do them correctly.  So talk amongst yourselves in the comments, or something.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Should We Have A Beer Mile at a Future Reunion?

Our previous post about the old Phi Psi 500 must have lit a spark with Steve Bratt, as he dug up some old records of the event.  One in which he won the Independent Division with a fine 5:48 effort.

Of course, the Beer Mile has gone on to become a 21st Century phenomenon with rigid rules and arguments and generally unnecessary encumbrances.

It has crossed my mind that our group would be a wonderful organization to sponsor a real Beer Mile some time.  Of course, this would have no ties to PSU or The Team, but I feel it could be done in a way to bring honor and mirth to just about everyone.

First off, we could obtain permissions, insurance and even card everyone involved.  We would have a non-alcoholic alternative (I submit that Mountain Dew would be a suitable replacement with similar carbonation to normal beers).  We would have designated drivers available for everyone imbibing, and clean up fully afterward.  We would charge nominal fees going to our favorite destination, the Coach Groves Scholarship Fund.  (Have I covered all the bases necessary?)

Should our group sponsor a Beer Mile at a future Reunion?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Penn State At The 2014 USATF Championships

A bunch of PSU Track Alumni* have qualified (or nearly qualified) for the National Championships  on June 26-29 in Sacramento, CA. Here's a complete** rundown:

                                Event               Mark        Status
Casimir Loxsom 800M 01:46.8 qualified
Brannon Kidder 800M 01:46.9 qualified
Brannon Kidder 1500M 03:38.8 qualified
Joseph Kovacs Shot Put 21.52m qualified
Darrell Hill Shot Put 20.57 qualified
Ryan Whiting Shot Put 22.11 qualified
Michael Shuey Javelin 72.69 accepted
Rob Cardina Decathlon 7,508 not qualified
Mahagony Jones 100M 11.29 accepted
Mahagony Jones 200M 22.97 qualified
Kara Foster 10000M 32:37.2 qualified
Evonne Britton 100M H 13.09 qualified
Evonne Britton 400M H 57.41 not qualified
Kiah Seymour 400M H 55.88 qualified
Tori Gerlach 3000M SC 10:03.5 not qualified
Bridget Franek 3000M SC 09:41.2 qualified
Brittney Howell Long Jump 6.37 not qualified
Laura Loht Javelin 54.41 qualified
Karlee McQuillen Javelin 53.59 qualified
Brittney Howell Heptathlon 5,625 not qualified

*Utilizing the all-inclusive definition of anyone having matriculated at a particular school, not just male graduates!


**Go ahead, be a jerk and point out the ones I've missed! I won't mind.

Those in red have scratched or just missed qualifying.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Back To The Future, Almost

These Back to the Future Nikes are not the shoes that just arrived on my doorstep.  But the ones that did are still taking me back to 1980 and are a facsimile of the origianl Nike Internationalists that I have deemed "the best running shoe ever made".*

My new Nike Internationalists, 2014.

My original Nike Internationalists, 1980.

I will run my usual 3 miles on them while watching all the off-sides calls and the 70 or so mortal injuries on the pitch between Italy and Costa Rica.  Then I'll give a complete critique after a week or so of my 20 miles/week slogging I call running.

*from both a runner's and a podiatrist's perspective.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I'm Being Cheated Again

In case you have not noticed, things in America have changed drastically since the 1970's.  Very little has remained unchanged except for the number of people in front of you in every line you find yourself in.  Being self-employed has become such a burden that fewer and fewer small businesses, especially in Medicine, are being created.  As a lone, dying*, independent health-care provider in the wellness universe, I just found out I'm being cheated even more!

It turns out that despite sleeping more than anyone I know, I'm still not getting an average amount of sleep for an American**, and I'm working more than twice as much as an average American.  Needless to say, this sucks.  I just want to know who the people are that sleep 8 1/2 hours a day and only work 4 hours a day?

*only in the existential sense.
** I do run an average of 31 minutes a day, for what that is worth.

No You Get Out

In case you haven't heard USA Men's National Soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann comments on American sports and how they cater to overpaid superstars read about his them here. Apparently his thoughts set off one Michael Wilbon of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption (whatever get's ratings these days). Apologize for the poor sound quality but this is the only video I could find. Going to have to turn the volume way up.

How very American of you Michael, you disagree with him therefore he should leave the country. We've seen that train of thought played out before over the course of history. Good to see that in 2014 xenophobia is alive and well. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Training For A 5K Or To Officate The World Cup?

From Runner's World

"To make the most accurate calls during a soccer match, a referee is told to stay no more than 20 yards from the ball at all times. The only way to do this when the ball whizzes from player to player through 90 minutes of nearly non-stop motion? Run.

When the World Cup starts on June 12 in Brazil, soccer players representing 32 countries won’t be the only ones performing impressive feats of athleticism. In each game, the referees will cover six to eight miles while scrutinizing every move of the action. Players average an estimated seven miles per game, but typically stay within assigned zones, which can allow for short rests. Referees are in constant motion, tracking the ball all over the field....."

Everyone knows how physically demanding a world class soccer game can be, but you never think  the referees. They need to be in top physical shape to keep up. Naturally using the standard distance runners workouts of intervals, fartleks, and tempos

Also from Runner's World, the average distance run per game in various sporting events.

Baseball: .046 miles (psh)
Football: 1.25 miles for receivers and cornerbacks
Basketball: 2.9 miles
Tennis: 3 miles
Field Hockey: 5.6 miles
Soccer: 7 miles

I'm thinking a challenge is in order between world class soccer players and distance runners. Maybe a mile race, with points assigned to your time, followed by a soccer game. See if the soccer guys can score enough goals to make up the difference from the mile race.

"I Done Told You"

I didn't want to use the phrase "See, I told you so" because that's a book by Rush Limbaugh and I would take far too much abuse for that. (I never owned or read the book BTW)  So I stole the phrase from Gene Simmons for the title to the post.

I have often stated that stretching offers no protection from injury and no benefit to running speed.  (It can offers benefits of "feeling" better and flexibility in the elderly.)  Some of you may remember me ranting about having to stretch in Rec Hall before some runs back in the late 70's.  (That is until Dick Harter threw us out of Rec Hall for practices so he could poorly coach the basketball team and molest cheerleaders without the public's knowledge!)

Well, this was just in the news again.  Isn't Science wonderful, even if placed in Runner's World?

And here's another in the thousands of "studies" trying to make you think that changing your foot-plant may cure cancer and make you an Olympian!  (Remember, my favorite heel-striker is Greg Fredericks, after all!) The study seems to say that it doesn't matter much, as there is benefit and cost to each of the scenarios.  But then the author says "Ignore it all and run on your forefoot because I know better".  As I've always said, if you finish the race ahead of the competition it doesn't matter if you ran on your hands, your heels, or your knees.  Injuries happen with each "choice" in foot strike types, with those among forefoot strikers being overall more severe and permanent.*

*Results may vary. Consult your users manual.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Alumni in the News! (Well, my news anyway...)

Back on the track!
Bridget Franek has returned to the track.  It's almost like she never left, as she won last weekend's Portland Classic 3K Steeplechase.  This comes after graduating from MBA school at Oregon.  Yeah, she's sorta kinda a Nittany Duck! Congrats Bridget.

Paul Ryan becomes a Velveteen Playboy fan!
Paul Souza sure does get around.  And although I don't know Paul's politics, I'll bet they don't completely align with Mr. Ryan.  This also gives me an opportunity to espouse a piece of mine.  We should all relish that we can live in a Country that has at least 2 opposing political heritages.  When I look around the world and try to find places that have only 1, I am amazed to realize that there isn't a single one of those places I would choose to emigrate to. The best example is, of course, North Korea.

Which reminds me....  Former javelin heaver Todd Leggett is now spending 2 weeks every month in the area just south of that blank spot in the center of the map above.  He is doing business there in a big way.  And he has a few thoughts about South Korea:

So I am in South Korea for two weeks every month !!! I have had a great experience so far and learned so much in a short period of time!!
1. No bars carry Makers!! I found one.....
2. The people here are very awesome, hard working, helpful and super nice to dumb foreigners.
3. Traffic sucks
4. Skype sucks here but is a must
5. Sling box really works....
And is a must for traveling
6. Jet lag is real...
7. The subways and airports are very efficient in Seoul
8. You must Learn to drink soju
9. Coffee is a drug here
10. Too many people smoke in Seoul

My best to everyone back in the States!!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Long Weekend

For Penn State the collegiate season and competition year are officially over. While our elite alumni are rounding into form for the summer.

First let's start with the Nittany Lions that earned an All-American certificate at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

First Team
Mahagony Jones - 100, 200, and 4x400
Kiah Seymour - 400 hurdles, 4x400
Dynasty McGee - 4x400
Tichinia Rhodes - 4x400
Laura Loht - javelin
Steve Waithe - triple jump
Robert Cardina - decathlon

Second Team
Brittney Howell - heptathlon
Melissa Kurzdorfer - hammer throw
Evonne Britton - 100 hurdles
Brian Leap - triple jump
Darrell Hill - shot put
Brannon Kidder - 1500

In the team score Penn State was 12th in the women's competition and 44th in the men's.

Also competing in Oregon, at the Portland Track Festival, were Cas Loxsom and Bridget Franek. Both won their event, Cas taking the 800 in 1:46.74 and Bridget the steeple in 9:41.21, and a local brewery served as a great prize for first place.

And finally the IAAF Diamond League meeting at the adidas Grand Prix in New York had Shana Cox taking 6th in the 400 with a time of 52.11.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ten Things I Learned From My Dad

  1. If you are not 15 minutes early, you are late.  Also known as Vince Lombardi Time. (Here and Here) Vince was  coached against George and Joseph Paterno's high school basketball team.  When he became an NFL coach, Vince would call for a 7:00PM team meeting and lock the doors at 6:45PM.
  2. A baseball game isn't worth going to unless you see batting practice. (corollary to #1)
  3. It is possible to see a large column of numbers, and supply the total without use of a pen or pencil OR a calculator.
  4. Breakfast is a suitable meal at any time of day.
  5. Chewing gum in class used to be the worst thing that could ever happen in a school. (AKA, the good ole days.)
  6. It's OK if the first time you ever heard the MF-swear-word was when you were 21 years old.
  7. Underhanded free-throw shooting is better than any other method. (I never beat him in a free throw shooting contest, and that would probably be true if we tried later today.)
  8. Lobster is one hell of a meal.
  9. Computers aren't the end-all, be-all of civilization.
  10. A Penn State degree ain't bad at all.
Dad and Me 1979.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Calling all Running Shoes

A fellow alumnus, class of 2014, wants to help you empty out that closet of old running shoes!

If you are anything like me, you have burned through so many pairs of trainers that they are EVERYWHERE you look around your apartment. Many of these sneaks, while no longer sufficient for the kind of training you are doing (whether that's walking 18 holes or running 100+ mpw), are still in perfectly acceptable condition for some less fortunate locals in Cochabamba. So before you toss those trainers or golf shoes over the power lines, think of the children.

Mysterious, abandoned Pegasi and Zoom Elites dangle
from power lines outside a State College apartment building.
I'll be in State College until Monday, before heading back to Bucks County to visit some family and race a local road mile with sub-4 man Owen Dawson. Leave a comment below or just get in touch with me before then, and I can arrange to relay the shoes to Gwenn on your behalf.

Also- if you see Gwenn before she leaves on her mission trip, make sure to wish her luck. Next year, she will be pursuing her Master's at The University of Illinois, studying Biobehavioral Kinesiology as a fully-funded research assistant in the Exercise Psychology Laboratory. Pretty sweet, eh?

I would be remiss to post without giving a mention to the great things happening in Eugene today, and all weekend so far, for the Nittany Lions. TV coverage for the final day of the championships today starts at 5 p.m. EST on ESPNU. But Steve Waithe and Brian Leap will be in the TJ starting at 3:30 p.m. Meanwhile Brannon Kidder takes on Oregon's defending champ Mac Fleet and last night's 5K champ from Arizona, Lawi Lalang, in the 1500m at 5:18 EST. Next up is Mahagony Jones in the 200 at 5:49 p.m., and concluding with Women's 4 X 400 at 6:55 p.m.

On Camaraderie and Rusty Boots


noun: camaraderie - mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together.

Our recent introduction to the newest author here, Nick Scarpello, and his very first post, got me to thinking about many things.  Which is one of my biggest weaknesses, I suppose.  The more I think, the more trouble I get into.

Nick's post was excellent, and reinforces what this whole blogging effort is for (among a few other things that are personal and not even understood by me!).  He rightly points out that:

  • Golf is very low on the scale of importance at our group.  Even to the point of being irrelevant.  It's there to honor the origins in Clark Haley's Golf Tournament to thank Coach Groves for all that he did for him (and for the rest of us!).
  • We all still have a passion for running, jumping or throwing, even if we can't do it any more!  At least we have a passion for others doing it, and doing it well at PSU.
  • Our group is a starting line for reconnecting ALL ex-PSU Tracksters.  And although we are closer to the starting line of that, we have taken important strides towards the goal.  
  • There is something special about those in our group.  I have realized in the past 6 years that PSU Track Alumni (Golfers) are the most accomplished, interesting and intelligent people I have come across.  And that's despite being exposed to the higher reaches of academia and medicine.
  • He realizes I have an unhealthy appetite for  1-Star (or less) movie comedies.  Especially with Adam Sandler or Will Ferrel. I cannot stand slasher movies or CGI Super-hero flicks.
  • All of us will eventually be overtaken by high-schoolers (girls, 3-legged dogs, old men, old women and....)
  • Nick and I have not met yet, but I already know a lot about him.  And not through stalking!  I know many things about him just by his being a PSU Track Alumni (Golfer)!  I have also seen him run a couple of times (Unless that is considered stalking?)  And I know from social media sources that he loves his school, his teammates, and his family. There can be no finer member of our Group.  
Nick also brings up Rusty Boots.  Which has been a meme around these blog pages for quite some time.  Our efforts to run down the meaning and origins of Rusty Boots have previously met with less than success.  It turns out that placing last in the recent Coach Groves Tourney was a boon to the search for the fountainhead of our beloved chant.  All 3 of my foursome-mates knew more about the beginnings of Rusty Boots than anyone else I have run across.  I will be in touch with each of them in the near future to try to bring more definitive news to everyone, including names and dates  And even a photo of a facsimile of the original Rusty Boots, dating back to before the time when color was invented! I may offer a reward for the near-originals for bronzing and inclusion with the Coach Groves Memorial Cup!

Friday, June 13, 2014

NCAA Day 2

Another All-American certificate was earned in Eugene as Robert Cardina finished the decathlon in 8th place with 7666 points. Just a freshmen and in his first year as a multi-eventer, expect big things from Cardina in the future.

Advancing out of the semi-finals held was Mahagony Jones in the 200 meters and the women's 4x400. Brittney Howell is in 3rd place after day 1 of the heptathlon.

Tonights coverage begins at 7:30 PM EST on ESPNU or the WatchESPN app on your smartphone.

Full Results

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Diamond League Winner

Congratulations for Joe Kovacs for earning his first career IAAF Diamond League victory at the ExxonMobil Bislett Games in Olso, Norway. This victory, along with his second place finish at the Prefontaine Classic, puts Kovacs at the top the Diamond League standings for the men's shot put. Also, he now has eternal bragging rights as the first Penn State Alum to win a Diamond League event.

Diamond PointsDiamond Ranking 







LAURO Germán Luján




PRÁŠIL Ladislav


CANTWELL Christian





Meanwhile Penn State already has one All-American at NCAA's as Laura Loth finished 5th in the javelin with a school record throw of 54.41m (178'-6"). Robert Cardina currently sits 6th in the decathlon with 4087 points after day. Mahagony Jones advanced to the finals of the 100 meters while Kiah Seymour moved on in the 400 meter hurdles.
Full Results
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