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, September 29, 2014

Coach Groves Improving

I had Greg Fredericks pass along my best wishes to Coach Groves in the hospital.  Which he did.  AND sent along this pic of Coach and Gunny.  He relates that Coach salutes all of us alums.

My personal joke to Coach was letting him know how lucky he is that Mrs. Black is here in York with me, rather than his nurse there again!

Cross Country and Track Have Outlasted Saturday Morning Cartoons!

The reports of the demise of Cross Country and Track and Field in the US are premature!

Both Cross Country and Track have outlasted Saturday Morning Cartoons, at least.  The kids today don't even know what they are missing.  A morning in PJs eating chocolate-frosted sugar bombs and watching super-heroes defeat foes only slightly less ridiculous than today's terrorists was a staple of the American Dream.

But no more. 

And our political betters are gunning for the cereal next.  It will be gluten-free kale flakes with almond milk for the future generations while watching State-run propaganda films in the work camps while the village elders break rocks.  Or something.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cross Country Is a Great Sport

Actually, as pure a sport as there is.  A lone, individual effort, transformed into a very nice team sport with a scoring system easy enough to understand and yet complicated enough to be interesting.

I have been to many levels of the sport so far this year:
  • Junior High/Middle School practice
  • High School Junior Varsity races
  • High School Dual Meets
  • High School Invitationals
  • Division III Invitationals
  • Division II Invitationals
  • University Club Meets and Invitationals
  • Open Invitationals
And I'll soon be visiting Happy Valley for a Division I Invitational the same day as the Penn State University Athletic Conference Championships.

Yesterday I saw several races at the Carlisle High School Invitational in Carlisle, PA.  There were more than 100 teams there from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey and  New York.  And that's the States I'm sure about.  There may be more!  All of them converged on a high school in the middle of Carlisle, PA!  There were 7 separate races run, one of which had more than 500 runners. (217, 356, 189, 527, 157, 397, 435 for a total of 2,278 runners!)  Go ahead, I know someone will check my math...  My daughter's team placed 2nd 4th in the whole meet! (The Boys team did get 2nd overall!)

1/4 of the start of the Girls JV race. Freshman Daughter the Younger somewhere to the left... the same slot that the PSU Alumni team will have at the Penn State National!

Just the first of 7 races.
 Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golfers were there in force, but I only had the opportunity to see a few because there were so many people.  (Yogi Berra would say "You can't see anyone, there are too many people!")  But I did run into Artie Gilkes and Rebecca Donaghue, coaching the State College High School Little Lions.  Artie has been hired as my personal security force for the next golf outing also.  He's bringing the foil.

Artie "Knuckles" Gilke

Rebecca Donaghue
Literally, a 1/10th of the buses involved.
Artie had come from spending time with Coach Groves at his hospital room on Friday.  He assures me Coach is feisty and they won't be able to keep him long.  All of us at the blog with it all are wishing him a speedy recovery.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Vote For Penn State Track's Mount Rushmore! And Stop Sniffing Glue!

The poll is up on the left sidebar.  Vote for 4 from all the nominations, which are listed in the order in which they came.

And in the olden days, because money was tight, I used Shoe Goo to get a few more miles out of all my running shoes.  Anyone else?

Well, it's still around, but only those over 18 years-old are allowed to purchase it.  With one kid in college, I'm going back to using it again!

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Long Needed Update on the Blog

I'm not talking about the look or content.  Growing up in German-influenced Central Pennsylvania, I hate change for change's sake.  (I'm heading from this post to the New Eastern Market, a Farmer's Market which was built in 1956!)  The very same look, cramped style and hopefully mirthful content will continue as is. 

But there are plenty of things on the horizon for us.  I thank my muses, both named and unnamed, for steering me in a direction I might not otherwise take. Even my critics have helped immensely with this.  This started as my personal blog, and to an exten, it still is.  But newcomers and "old-comers" alike have transformed it into something on the brink of something better. Thanks to all of you!  I hope more of you will help.  Simple stories, photos, videos, quotes, and just thoughts are appreciated.  I can't believe all the stuff people send me.  Send more!

Hopeful enhancements in the future:

  • Original reporting, with real stories and real input into the workings of Penn State Track and Field/XC.  Every one of us has the potential to help the present and future. We'll have representation at future media days for the team and multiple events.
  • A re-entry into the Podcast Field.  I have several ideas and guests already lined up.  The pressures of a professional occupation, new college offspring, and high school offspring have made it difficult to pull the trigger on these.  Those will high pressure jobs, kids, or both, will know what I'm talking about. But I'm getting closer.  Fair warning to those I've contacted.  I hope to interview a wide range of people on their track careers, their present lives and their hopes for the future.  I'm pretty sure all of you will find them as fascinating as I do.
  • I hope to enhance our revenue somewhat.  Costs of some of the services we depend on have risen to several hundred dollars a year.  I hope to encourage some to click on the ads on our web site and possibly even become a consumer of some goods and services.  We have made about $50 a year without ever really pushing it, so we could probably up that to $150 to $200 a year with little effort. (All monies raised go directly to upkeep on those blog expenses. I have never used the funds for anything personal after the $4 donation I was instructed to get a Wendy's chicken sandwich with!) I strictly adhere to the terms of the ad service and don't click myself to artificially raise some revenue.  I'm an idiot that way.  But the rest of you can click away.  It is secure and if your personal security settings are even at the Normal level, there is no risk of nefarious things happening. Some of the advertisers are entities you already have used in the real world.  Of course, you can always donate to the group at any time on the right sidebar.
  • Our Group Store will be enhanced some time soon.  A new logo without the word golf will be commissioned soon.   That should help entice a wider range of clientele. This can help the revenue a bit too.
  • Continue to support our USATF/Mid-Atlantic team Penn State Track and Field Alumni.
  • I'm also up for any suggestions and recommendations from anyone.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Who Belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Penn State Track?

Via comments, make your nominations for inclusion on the mountain monument of the 4 greatest Penn State Track greats Make as many nominations as you wish and we will vote later.  We'll worry about commissioning a sculptor later.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Call To The Hall

In his first year of eligibility Vince McNally as been inducted into the Conestoga Valley High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Of course that comes as a surprise to no one.

From the schools press release.

"McNally graduated from CV in 2008 after earning eight varsity letters in cross-country and track. While running for the Bucks, he was a bronze medalist in the 1600m at the PIAA State Meet his sophomore year, a silver medalist his junior year and a gold medalist his senior year. He was also a member of the State Championship 3200m relay team in 2005. McNally received All-State Honors four times.
After high school, he competed in cross-country races for Penn State University. In 2009, he was voted MVP of his Nittany Lions Squad. He was selected to three All Big Ten Teams and was named to the NCAA All-Regional Team four times. Throughout his collegiate career, his race times qualified him for the National NCAA Cross Country Meet."

Vince's arrival at Penn State, in my opinion, helped revive the cross country program and put the school back on the radar for many of PA's top high school runners. He was a key cog in two national championship qualifying teams and he competed at the NCAA Cross Country Championships all four years of his career.

Vince and his high school coach.
P.S. I would like to hear his acceptance speech. I'm sure it was a doozy.
UPDATE (7:19 PM) - The acceptance speech has been found

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Biggest and Most Stupendous Alumni Singlet and T-Shirt Sale Yet*

*With Your Help!  Please forward this post to your friends who don't know about it!   Order Here!

Now that about 120 members have one, we need to turn things up a notch.  Not only should you have one, you should also have a workout shirt (or 2!).  So fill out the form and get started.

Remember, this isn't a store and all of us have real jobs, more or less.  So this is how the whole procedure goes down:

This workout tee-shirt comes with the same lettering as the singlet above.

  1. You order a shirt on the on-line form I have so conveniently placed on this post and at the top of the whole web site.  Fill out all the fields, your info is secure.  I actually pay to have an up-to-date form site that fills our needs and provides good security.  None of your info is used except for fulfillment of your order!
  2. There are 3 styles of shirts available:  Mens (white shirt/blue lettering)  Womens (blue shirt/white lettering.  This shirt is more complicated with built in bra, etc.) T-Shirt (white dry fit fabric with blue lettering, like the Mens Singlet.)  Each shirt has a PSU "S" on the back collar, reflective trim and dri-fit fabric. It has been pointed out how great the t-shirt is even if you don't work out.  Like I always say, "The golf is optional..." Maybe I should add, "The workout is always optional..."
  3. No monies are required when ordering.  We will consolidate the orders over several weeks and then order the shirts to save money by buying in bulk.  We will get monies prior to disbursement and you will be contacted. costs are around $45 dollars as of the last order.
  4. The shirts will then be taken to the State College shirt maker and finished.
  5. Remember to include your last year or graduation year with your order!
  6. There is a new block to fill with questions, general queries, scorn or adulation.  If you have questions about sizing etc. ask them here.
  7. Patience is a virtue, just like mom said. We'll get back to you. Orders will be taken for several weeks.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Pattee Library Murder: 45-Year Mystery

The Pattee stacks as I remember them.
As Halloween approaches we will be inundated by many "ghost stories" and murder mysteries in the effort to sell cheesy lawn decorations and costumes.  But in reality, Penn State has had its own real murder mystery which has remained unsolved for 45 years.

I was once taken to the site of the murder in the stacks of Pattee Library.  I have no way of knowing if it was really the place where Betsy Aardsma was murdered, but it was still creepy enough.  The youngsters today have the benefit of hours-on-end of CSI programs to refer to when analyzing such events.  But the cops of the day were unprepared for the whole thing and thoroughly bungled the entire investigation. A murderer escaped justice entirely.

There have been several books on the subject and a new one purports to reveal the killer once and for all. And here's a trailer for the full-length feature film that debuted in State College this past Winter.

And another Penn State Murder from 1996 on the HUB Lawn...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Another Vintage Pic From 1972

Following yesterday's vintage Women's team picture, i thought I'd post a Men's team photo to kind of balance things out.  Our Left Coast and Oregon Duck friend Dan Martinez came through in the nick of time with this beauty.  I've seen the pic before, but not on the cover!

And the internettie thingie again led me back to this one, which was reposted from our very own blog some time ago!

1975 AAU Champs. in Annapolis MD, 4 PSU alums in top 17.

Friday, September 19, 2014

50 Years of Women's Sports at PSU

The celebration is on in Happy Valley this weekend.  It's been 50 years since Women's Sports blossomed at Penn State.  Congrats to everyone.  Send some pics our way if you are there!

To highlight the festivities, here's a pic from the intertubes I came across yesterday.*  I think I know 4 of the PSU runners, but I'm not going to risk the embarrassment of failure and the scorn of my detractor(s) by posting them.  Let's all chime in and fill in the names via the comments!

*These youngsters were not around at the beginning of PSU Women's sports. This is approximately 1979-80??? 1982 (Missed it by thaaaat much.)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Off-Season Enjoyment

Interview from SPIKES with new outdoor 1000 meter alumni record holder (he also has the indoor and outdoor 800 records) Casimir Loxsom. Fellow Brooks Beast training partner Garett Heath also answer questions about some behind the scenes events and what they have planned for the off-season break.



A Lion Returns and 50 Shades of No

State College native Alex Kenney joined the Nittany Lion track team last year after 3 years on the Lion football team.  Now he returns to the gridiron at Beaver Stadium ON THE OTHER TEAM!  

Alex Kenney
*And here's a cautionary tale of woe (warning, scary, lengthy Article!) involving a promising track athlete, a Freshman romance, 50 Shades of Grey, and Title IX (used as a cudgel!).  No means no, maybe means no, and if you are a smart male college student, yes means no now.  Learn why influential intellectuals advise against any male college student having sex.  Most colleges, including Penn State, now have no due process rights (aka Constitutional Rights) for male students.  An accusation is now a conviction and there's almost nothing to be done about it.

Here's another tale of trampling of Constitutional Rights at Penn State. Or maybe just the Rights of a card table?  Or something?

*This post has been amended by the addition of new material that has come to my attention.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

PSU is 800 U: Let's Make It Track and Field/ XC U

Congrats to Coach John Gondak on being named Head Coach and Director of PSU Track and Field and Cross Country

New Athletic Director making the announcement to the team.

USTFCCCA Rankings Week 1

The USTFCCCA national and regional rankings are out for week 1 and both the men and women are being awarded for their victories at the Harry Goves Spiked Shoe meet. Each is coming in at number 3 in the Mid-Atlantic Region; the men were 5th in the preseason regional poll while the women were 4th.

Nationally the men who were un-ranked in the preseason are receiving some votes, 13 to be exact, for their win over previously ranked Georgetown. I believe this is the first time the men are listed on the national rankings since 2010 when the they finished 30th at the NCAA meet. The women meanwhile have a nice streak going of being nationally ranked and their weekend victory bumped them up two spots to 27th.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Not Your Everyday Wimpy Runner!

As a runner, Mike Pfaff was much, much closer to the 4-minute mile than I was.  But he is also someone who should not be messed with, as evidenced by his Stunt Reel he posted on Facebook. Enter the Lion!

This is his warning that I'm coming for him soon! (with a Skype call for another in our critically acclaimed podcast series).

Coming Soon: Podcast 4: The Hollywood One.

Rocky Never Received A Particpation Medal

As documented on this blog in the past (here and here) the famous run taken by Rocky Balboa when training for his two fights with Apollo Creed was approximately 50 kilometers. So naturally some hardcore running enthusiast did a 50k in the movies honor last December that followed the approximate route based on the movies well known montage.

Even more naturally, dare I say more American, some have decided to take it to the next step and sissy it up for the masses while handing out medals for participation. The Rocky Run 5k/10k ladies and gentlemen.

Rocky didn't receive anything for going to distance. All he got was a re figured face to show for his effort.

Stallone is shaking his head in disapproval
P.S. Even the 76ers Nerlens Noel is getting in on the trend. At least he did it for marketing purposes.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hall of Fame Accolades For a Lion: With a Twist!

Our very fine Laundry and Morale Officer alerted me to the recent induction of Michael Wyatt to his High School Hall of Fame in Suburban Buffalo.

Mike belongs in many more Halls of Fame for his accomplishments on and off the track.  I was always amazed by his range from 800M to the Marathon.  I was pleased to run the first 20 with him during his marathon in 1979, his first ever run over 15 miles. And learning he played tennis in his first 2 years instead of running track is priceless.  Congratulations, Mike!  My high school would confuse me with the janitor nowadays.

Mike Wyatt

Notice the tennis in place of track in his first 2 high school years!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Coach Grove Behind the Wheel at His Meet

I let the (good) details to others, but I wanted to pass along this good pic of Coach Groves sent to us by pole vaulter Don Skerpon. But as I told Don, step away as quickly as possible when Coach is behind the wheel of a golf cart!

Coach Groves behind the wheel.
He's hardly changed a bit. I think that's 1980, but I'm not sure!
I spent the morning and early afternoon in Suburban Pittsburgh for the Penn State Greater Allegheny Invitational There's a whole other world out there in PSU cross country.  And I'm pleased to see it.  It may not be quite as fast as the University Park Division I team, but it is thriving none the less.  There were teams from 7 PSUAC branch campuses and several other Division III teams in McKeesport for the race.  Daughter the Elder placed 7th with another big improvement under Coach Preston's tutelage.  The entire PSU Mont Alto team had improvement from last weeks very competitive race at Division II Shippensburg.  It is great to see cross country is thriving at every level.  It very well could be the best sport of all!

Greater Allegheny Invitational, PSUAC

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Swim Meet

The weather was different, Penn State runners traded sticky sweat and dead bugs for cold rain, but the results were the same. For the first time since 2003 both the men's and women's team won team titles at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational. Great confidence boost moving forward.

Men's Results
Women's Results
The 2014 Spiked Shoe women's champs! #PSUXC #WeAre pic.twitter.com/iO9eccGpi6
— PennStateTFXC(@PennStateTFXC) September 13, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

More Stuff Coming My Way: Updates

I won't be at the Coach Groves Spiked Shoe Meet this weekend, so I'm hoping Matt will cover it with his usual aplomb.  Don Skerpon will also be there, so we will be well represented.  And I'll add my hat-tip to Coach Groves also.  A meet named for him is the very least he deserves.  Just don't let him drive the van!

And I've received some more neat items on previous posts.

1.  Our great friend from Canada (a Yank up North, as it were) George Brose helped us pin down a little more on the Willie Nelson running thing.  While it isn't rock hard confirmation, it gives credibility to the authenticity of that photo!

David,  I connected with a friend in Austin to ask about Willie Nelson's road racing days.
This came back.

Well, I never actually saw Willie in a race, but I have heard that he has participated in some races or fun runs, and he has been spotted on the Austin Hike & Bike trail in running togs.  But that was years ago.  Do you want me to research it for you?  A former law partner of mine  has represented Willie off and on for years.  I could check with him.  But I can tell you with some confidence that he has done some running in his day.

2.  Also from George's blog  Once Upon a Time in the Vest comes this great look back at the 50th anniversary of Bob Schul's 5000M Olympic Victory.  That's the same race that Bill Dellinger leaned just enough to get the bronze in his 3rd Olympics.

Bob Schul heavily influenced teammate and good friend Tom Rapp.  Tom in turn has been continuing the coaching techniques of Bob Schul quite successfully in Ohio.  Tom is married to former Nittany Lion star Mary (Rawe) Rapp.  Quite a pedigree there!

3.  After several weeks with my Best Running Shoe Ever Made, I can report that I am quite pleased with them.  They really do give me the impression of those great shoes from 1980, despite the many years and pounds since then.  And they have provided me with about a 6% increase in running efficiency, as measured by stride length and heart rate.*

And apparently others have a hankering for those old beauties too.  Nike has announced a new-fangled version of them to be introduced soon.

4.  Tim Johnson continues to write 3000% better than I do.  Here's his article on a recent local cross country race in Central Pennsylvania.

5.  Bear stories (like mine!) are always welcome at the blog with it all.  Especially when they also involve golf.

*Not scientific, but anecdotal evidence.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lost and Confused: Our Very First Platinum Group Member Guest Post

By Brian Boyer, PSU 1980, 1982, 1984, 1992 (I kid, I kid...)

Intro by Skwilli,

Brian successfully ascertained that it was Willie Nelson running quite well in a road race in the late 70's or 80's in the photo in the previous "I hate Mondays" post. I am assured that this is real.  His reward was a frivolously made up title of Platinum Group membership, which I have now made official.  Like everything else around here, I'm likely to forget about it after awhile, but for now it's real.

Part of the spoils of attaining Platinum status is a chance to write a guest post for "the blog with it all".  I asked Brian for anything and suggested he rip me for the time he beat me in an indoor 5K at Syracuse.  I assume it was his PR, as it is mine.  He only alluded to it, but opened up more on my other suggestion of discussing those times he became lost during mountain runs back in 1979 or so.  I think he actually did it 2 weeks in a row and has previously discussed the ruining of Coach Groves' car on the rutted back roads of Bear Valley, or wherever the heck he, Jim Clelland and Dave Felice ended up.  I remember hearing that they only made it back to campus by nightfall from a 9:00AM run!  Probably missed the Chicken Cosmos in the dining hall.

So here's Brian's first ever Guest Post:

Syracuse 5k loved that race….

I still get lost….
I got lost in Germany in the dark in the woods in the rain….
I miscalculated in Czech Rep.  and made a hour run into 2hr.   Kept thinking a bridge would show up and I could cross and go to the pension…had to backtrack and run across a RR bridge to get over the river and not run for another 30 minutes.
Got lost Germany again in the woods in the gray of Nov.  Ran into hunters in the woods.  I barely made it to our tour of Karlsruhe that day.  My legs were killing me.
Got lost in Vienna in the city a few times.
Got lost in the woods in L.I.  Even a bit this summer.
Got lost in the woods in the dark in Los Alamos years ago before they burned down.  I have miscalculated the trails here still….longer than I expected to run….more than once a year.
I got lost in the snow in the setting sun in the woods in Lithuania.
I got lost in Oregon in the woods in the mountains as it was getting dark.
I got lost in Richland WA…18 mi run….wanted a long run but not that long in the dark.
I miscalculated the distance in Oak Ridge and I had to follow some runners with headlamps out of the woods.

I would have gotten lost more places in Europe but they had signs and it was impossible to get lost in the city or town in some places.  Or I would have.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cost Of Running

From LetsRun

"On the cost of running he says, “What should be the cheapest sport is running. A good pair of shoes, a decent pair of shorts (is all you need), but you know what a good pair of shoes now that you need to be a serious runner are probably 140 bucks.”

A co-host, Danny Balis, throws out that the New Balance 993s as the best running shoes on the market and then they start discussing running shorts, the high prices of Lululemon, and it starts going downhill fast. We don’t want to ruin it, but here are some quotes sure to entertain along the way, “It’s not like I’m crapping my pants” and “if  a ball falls out the side so be it.......”"

Running expenses are whatever you make them to be. You can spend a lot on unnecessary gear and travel/hotel/entry fee to race the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon if you want. You can be reasonable and get the essentials and get a lot of miles out your trainers and do a few local races for fun. If you are like me all of your running clothes are leftover from college or shirts came with the entry fee for a road race. Either way running is pretty cheap when compared to other hobbies.

Monday, September 8, 2014

I Hate Mondays: Here's Some Blog Memes To Ponder

I really hate Mondays.  But I have accumulated some things related to previous blog items to post.

1.  Celebrating early is stupid.  But celebrating early after you passed the other guy that was celebrating early is stupider!

2.  These two guys from Arkansas celebrate a classic movie character.

3.  It's good to know that the Ohio State Marching Band didn't miss a beat following their hazing scandal.

4.  Stephen Hawking says we could be doomed after all.  This is from the same paper that just solved the Jack the Ripper murders!

Stephen Hawking, pondering.
Aaron the Ripper

5.  Guess who this is in second place of these three runners in the comments! (Thanks to Malcolm East for the photo!)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Thats's (Sort Of) How You Run A 1000

 1000 Metres – Men
1 Kszczot , Adam POL 2:15.72
2 Aman , Mohammed ETH 2:15.75
3 Lewandowski , Marcin POL 2:15.79
4 Rotich , Ferguson Cheruiyot KEN 2:16.88
5 Musagala , Ronald UGA 2:17.11
6 Hathat , Yassine ALG 2:17.15
7 Bett , Reuben KEN 2:17.98
8 Olivier , André RSA 2:18.11
9 Kitum , Timothy KEN 2:18.33
10 Robinson , Paul IRL 2:18.46
11 Loxsom , Casimir USA 2:19.16
12 Chemut , Anthony KEN 2:19.55
Som , Bram NED DNF

Ok so maybe Cas Loxsom was hoping to place better at the 2014 Memorial Van Damme in Brussels, Belgium. The last Diamond League meeting featured a 1000 meter race with some of the years top mid-distance runners, despite it not counting towards League standings. Cas at least was able to find a silver lining in his performance.

8 second PR!!!! ...for second to last. That's what happens when you line up with the best in the world! What an great experience #moretocome
— CasimirLoxsom(@cazzylox) September 5, 2014

Not only was it a PR but it also a new Alumni Record as he bettered the 2:19.72 run by Randy Moore in 1986. Certainly a successful first pro season for Cas with a good foundation to build on. Two years till Rio.

Meanwhile, back stateside, Owen Dawson took 3rd place at Teri's Run 5k in Downingtown, PA. His time was 15:02.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Two Great XC Tune Ups in Central PA

The Nits had a very good start to the season at the Dolan Duels in Lock Haven. Robby Creese defended his individual title and Abbie Benson bettered last year's 2nd place finish with her victory.

Lock Haven is a Division III Cross Country paradise.  Their program is very special.  It's great to see the excellent relationship that PSU has with them.

Just after the results from the Dolan Duels beeped onto my phone, I was at another great Division II/III cross country race in Shippensburg, The Galen Piper Challenge*.  I was pleased to see the high level of competitiveness of the race involving large teams from Shippensburg, York College, Elizabethtown, Kutztown and others.  Cross Country is still a wonderful sport, no matter how many Division I schools drop their program.

Personally, the race was the debut of the new Penn State Mont Alto XC teams.  Coach Bill Preston looks to have them on a fine path.  When word gets out to the school population, I expect their numbers to increase.  Daughter the Elder had a good race, and learned a valuable lesson involving pacing in her first college race.

Daughter the Elder with her HS teammate Sam Gehly running for Elizabethtown.
*Possibly the greatest challenge was the bagpiper playing the entire time of both races!

Friday, September 5, 2014

How About Some Night-Time Cross Country Running?

That's right.  I'm heading to a cross country race this evening at Shippensburg University's Outdoor Recreation ComplexThe Galen Piper Challenge is the early season appetizer run at night on a 1K lighted loop.  It's 6 loops for the men and 4 loops for the women.

It will be the unveiling of Penn State/Mont Alto's brand new team and my Daughter the Elder's very first college race.  I'm excited as she has been doing repeat 1,000s all summer, so she should be comfortable with the format.  And I always loved running at night.

But has anyone else here ever run a XC race at night?

Are You Ready For Some Cross Country!?

The first meet of the year for the Nittany Lions is this evening at the West Branch Cross Country Course in Lock Haven, PA. The annual Dolan Duels as Penn State races Lock Haven for fishing rights on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River (not really).

The women's race has a gun time of 6 pm while the men follow at 6:30, they will be running a 4k and 6k respectively.

Previews from GoPSUSports and the Daily Collegian

The USTFCCCA preseason rankings have the women at 4th in the Mid-Atlantic Region and 29th nationally while the men come in at 5th in the region. Personally, I think both will be better than that when it matters in November but tonight is the first chance to show off a little of what's to come.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Last Day of Off-Topic Drivel Before XC Season: Fermilab To Figure Out If We Live In "The Matrix"

I credit the movie The Matrix (1999) for ruining movies for all time.  The CGI of people dodging bullets led directly to the 3D slow motion CGI of a rotating axe coming toward you in the theatre in every movie you see, even the chick-flick love stories!

For some reason, there is no longer the need for writers at all in movies, just scads of 13 year old computer geeks making up story boards on green backgrounds that actors feign moving in front of.  If you don't believe me, just get ahold of the script of a modern movie and read it.  It is an incomprehensible mess of meaningless drivel.  Compare the script of Transformers (2009) (any version) to The Maltese Falcon (1941), or even The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984).

Now, the former home of Ron Moore, the Fermilab is trying to figure out if we are actually living in The Matrix.  God, I hope not.  I don't belong.

Here's a proposed scene from a remake of Erich "The winner of this race will be wearing socks" Segal's Love Story as envisioned by 13 year old computer geeks.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Beast Of A Tune Up

Flotrack recently caught up with Cas Loxsom as he completes a workout in Teddington, England. With the outdoor track season coming to an end Cas is hoping to end his first professional year on a high note.

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Yesterday in Roverto, Italy at the Palio della Quercia meeting he placed 5th in 1:48.57. Placing behind fellow Big Ten alum Eric Sowinski (Iowa).

18I1MOHAMMED Abdulaziz Lada1991M KSA SAUDI ARABIA  1:47.12
26I33KUCIAPSKI Artur1993M POL POLAND1:47.68
43E32CHEMUT Anthony1992M KEN KENYA1:47.99
51I40SECK Mor1985M SEN SENEGAL1:48.57
75E38RIFESSER Lukas1986M ITA ITALY1:48.58
82I37ROTICH Andrew Kiptoo1987M KEN KENYA  1:49.04
94E59MOTSAU Jeremiah1990M RSA SOUTH AFRICA1:49.37
101E39RICCOBON Enrico1995M ITA ITALY1:49.78
112E36VOJTA Andreas1989M AUT AUSTRIA1:50.61
123I3BENEDETTI Giordano1989M ITA ITALY1:51.00
135I34CRONJE Joahan1982M RSA SOUTH AFRICA  1:51.22


ISTAF Berlin

Following their final Diamond League competition Joe Kovacs and Ryan Whiting took to the throwing circle at the 2014 ISTAF Berlin meeting.

Shot Put – Men
1 Storl , David GER 21.41
2 Whiting , Ryan USA 21.06
3 Walsh , Tomas NZL 20.77
4 Richards , O’Dayne JAM 20.72
5 Majewski , Tomasz POL 20.64
6 Marcell , Jan CZE 20.46
7 Kovacs , Joe USA 20.18
8 Dahm , Tobias GER 19.54

Outdoor track is winding down. Cross country is winding up.

Will Barr's Discus Lands In The Big Ten*

Will Barr will stay within the Big Ten family* with the announcement of his hire by Rutgers University (Newark)of his position as Assistant to the Athletic Director and Assistant Throws Coach of the Track and Field team.  Congrats to Will!

*Rutgers-Newark.  Not the first error I've made, and not the last. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

RIP Jane Welzel

5-time Olympic Trial Marathoner and former Nittany Lion and winner of the 1979 Nittany Valley Marathon Jane Welzel passed away recently following an aggressive onset of pancreatic cancer. 

I remember her as an honest and extremely friendly runner, always eager to lend a helping hand.  Her adopted home-town of Fort Collins Colorado is in mourning for this running pioneer and Colorado Running Hall of Fame member.

Does anyone have any memories of Jane and her time in State College?

It's Hard To Go For A Run When You Can't Leave Your Yard

Several years ago I read a report on the gradually shrinking play areas of children over 4 generations in Great Britain.  The first generation was allowed to roam over 4 towns and 16 square miles, while each generation was restricted more and more to the point of a restriction to the immediate neighborhood.  The trend continues today, with many children not being allowed to leave their yard even when mom or dad is watching.

And now 68% of Americans say that parents allowing their children to play unattended at a park should be arrested.

I was never restricted from playing anywhere in rural Pennsylvania and can remember playing "War" over the whole town.  Now, I would be arrested for carrying a "gun" made from tinker-toys, and all the adults would be locked up for allowing all of us to roam.

This is not an effective way to stimulate interest in, and promotion of distance running.  It's a wonder the sport even still exists.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day!

Enjoy your holiday and eat plenty of hot dogs and burgers as we close out summer. After today it is officially fall (according to me) and that means football, pumpkin everything, and cross county!

Here's to the working man!

P.S. Why is it a fashion faux pas to wear white after today?
P.P.S. Should you thank Lenin or Marx for this day off?

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