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, November 30, 2015

Rain And Pain: Guest Post By Ron Moore

Rain and Pain - Pinhoti 100 Race Report - 7-8 Nov 2015
"Friction is a Bitch."
-Physicist Ron Moore.

Don't Forget to honor Ron Moore for his efforts by donating to his fund destined to the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation.

How is he HAPPY?
Running 100 miles was not done on a whim.  I ran my first ultra (50K) in 2010, but it’s only in the past 2 years that I have really become an ultramarathoner.  Running a 100 was just the next step in the insanity.  When putting together my 2015 race calendar, I added Pinhoti to the list based on recommendations from a few of my trail running friends - not an easy 100 as a first one, but a good challenge at an established, well organized event.
The Pinhoti 100 is (normally) a point-to-point race in the Talladega National Forest in northern Alabama - from Heflin to Sylacauga.  Over 85 miles of the course is single-track trail, 11 miles of dirt/gravel forest service roads, and about 4 miles of asphalt mostly at the end.  There are 18 aid stations along the way, 5 of which are “drop bag” locations.  For those unfamiliar with the term, a “drop bag” is a bag (hopefully waterproof) that a racer prepares in advance with items that they may want during the race - extra shirt, hat, shoes, special food, batteries for a headlamp,  The race organizers then deliver those bags and “drop” them at the designated location(s) along the course.  After the runners come through, support crews pick up their runner’s bags or the race staff bring all the bags back to the finish line.  It is an incredible logistical challenge to organize such a race and coordinate all of the volunteers needed to pull it off successfully.

Bags of Joy!
I traveled to the race with a friend who was also running, her husband (and crew), and her pacer (another friend).  Originally, Patty and at least one of my daughters were going to come and serve as my crew, but two weeks before the race, Anna made the middle school hoops team and they had a tournament on race weekend.  No big deal - I was prepared to go without support, but it is nice to see a familiar face or two along the way.
Due to the rather rainy forecast, the race organizers and forest rangers pre-emptively changed the start location since it would have been difficult to get the race vehicles to the start on the dirt roads.  So, we would start at aid station #2, run back to aid station #1, and then turn around and run the rest of the course as planned.  In addition, road conditions led to three of the aid stations becoming unstaffed with jugs of water left for the runners to help themselves.
The rain?  Yeah, it rained a little.  It was heavy enough to wake us up at 1 am in the hotel.  Fortunately we got back to sleep quickly for our 5:15 rise time.  It was only a 15 minute drive to the start thanks to the change of location - plenty of time for a shower, McDonald’s drive-through, and pre-race porta-john visit(s).  A nice downpour started as we lined up 10 minutes before the start, so I was glad I brought a cheap poncho to wear just for that reason.  At 7 am, we were off.  There were nearly 260 people signed up - race was full with a wait-list, and it seemed like everyone was there.  The single track trail began less than ¼ mile after the start - that led to a lot of congestion, but that helped me from going out too quickly.  Gradually I got into a good position and rhythm, and after slogging through the crowd again after the turn-around, I got back to aid station #2 - less than 2.5 hours for 13 miles - good.  It was still raining off and on, but the trail was in pretty good shape overall.

More than 250 runners!
The first 40 miles were very runnable.  I was running very comfortably, right where I wanted to be.  Still raining, more on than off.  I changed shirts at the 27 mile bag drop to put on the PSU alum shirt

Excellent use of the Alumni Singlet.

As we started the climb up Mt. Cheaha (the highest point in Alabama), the rain started coming down harder and we got into the low cloud deck.  The terrain became rather rocky near the summit, but it wasn’t too bad - just more slippery.  It was really pissing down as we had to run across a 500 meter long boardwalk to reach the parking lot for the next aid station and bag drop. Still on track - just over 8 hours for 40 miles. The rain and clouds completely obscured what is apparently a fantastic view.  As I changed my shirt and hat, I huddled under a tarp that another runner’s crew had set up over the bed of their truck.  Ultrarunners, their crews, and the race volunteers are great people - always willing to help.
At that aid station, my friend from Knoxville came in as I was changing gear.  Her pacer joined her there, and they left a little before I did.  I caught with up with them after a short stretch of road, and we started down the steepest bit of the whole race - lots of big rocks and flowing water thanks to the rain (it’s called Blue Hell because of the blue blazes marking the trail).  That kind of terrain is tough for me - treacherous and slow going, but thankfully I stayed in one piece.  A relatively flat section of road afterward was very welcoming - and so was the soup at the next aid station.  After that, it was back into the forest on single track trail.
Did I mention it was raining much of the time?  Anyway, the memory starts getting a little fuzzy here.  Somewhere between 45 and 50 miles, it was dark enough to need my headlamp.  The trail was becoming more difficult and rolling with plenty of rocky sections and low-lying areas with soggy ground and creeks/run-offs - I lost count of the water crossings, but only 1 or 2 were knee deep.  At the 55 mile bag drop, it was pissing down rain (again) - I vaguely recall eating some warm soup and chips.  I changed shirts, picked up my trekking poles, and got fresh batteries for the headlamp.  The next section was all dirt/gravel road, but it was so foggy that I couldn’t see more than 10 feet in front of me.  I passed a few people, but I couldn’t tell they were there until I was nearly on top of them and the light from their headlamp reflected back toward me in a faint glow.  It was rather surreal.
At this point I should mention the food at the aid stations. Some of the volunteers go all out on what they prepare - it can be incredible.  Other than the usual oranges, bananas, PB&J, chips, pretzels, dixie cups of Coke, candy, and Ramen, I also enjoyed chicken quesadillas, a chick pea mash in a pita, potato soup (a few times), warm beignets with powdered sugar (How the hell was that guy making them in the middle of the forest?), grilled cheese and bacon.  Believe me, there’s nothing like a warm grilled cheese and soup late in a race - much better than the Gu Roctane gels I was squeezing in between stations.  The volunteers are the lifeblood of races.
The 75 mile aid station is at the top of an extended climb - plenty of switchbacks.  That station is well-known for setting up a speaker blaring really loud music.  I’m not sure how long before I reached the top that I started hearing the music down below - an hour?  As you traverse the switchbacks, you approach and then move away from the music several times - it was hysterically frustrating at times. They had really good potato soup there.  Bacon, too.  They thought I was a genius when I asked them to crumble some bacon onto the soup.  Maybe they were sleep-deprived.  Maybe I was a sleep-deprived.
After that aid station, we were essentially on top a ridge for quite a while.  It was raining.  It was windy.  It was chilly.  I was starting to slow down.  I was noticing the chafing in my crotch.  I was so happy at about 82 miles when the trail turned back into the woods and started down the mountain where the wind was blocked by the trees.  At the bottom was the 85 mile aid station and last bag drop where I changed shirts again, dropped the trekking poles, and switched to the larger clown-sized shoes.  (I needed them.)
It was difficult to start running again after that aid station.  Guess what?  It started raining hard again.  Ugh.  Thankfully the 89 mile aid station had a nice fire burning and I could warm up my hands.  After some soup and goodies, I started down the dirt road again.  I realized that I just could not run any longer, so I started walking/wobbling it in.  Daylight started to break around 6 am.  I think I heard some turkeys in the woods nearby.
When I reached the 95 mile aid station, I ate a fantastic fudgy brownie.  (Anything I would have eaten would have been fantastic.)  I also grabbed some vaseline to relube what needed it.  I knew I had some chafing, but I wasn’t expecting what I saw when I pulled back my shorts and tights.  A volunteer heard me say “Wow, I’m bleeding.”  She came over to check on me and gasped.  She got a baby wipe to clean my upper, inner thighs to make sure “that you still have skin there”.  I did - it was just blood and ooze leaking out what was now apparent to be my rather *swollen* upper, inner thighs.  I never realized that could happen like that.  No wonder it was hard to run with that extra slapping going on.  In addition, I realized that I had actually *worn holes* into my compression shorts - 4 inch wide holes.  Now, I had lubed up with body glide before and during the race.  I was also liberal with vaseline, desitin, or whatever product they had at earlier aid stations.  I can only guess that all the rain loosened up the compression shorts a bit and caused the rubbing to begin.  Friction is a bitch.  But wait, there’s more to the story.  That aid station volunteer said - “We’ve got to get those tights off of you.”  Fine, sounds like a good idea.  After 95 miles, I wasn’t exactly limber enough to disrobe efficiently, so she got a pair of scissors.  Before getting up close and personal to my crotch with sharpened metal, we introduced ourselves.  (Her name was Mercy.)  Hold back the sack (my job), pull shorts away from skin, snip, snip, snip, grab the shorts from the front, pull up, around and out, bada boom, bada bing, throw ‘em in the trash, scrub liberally with hand sanitizer.  Amazing -  you gotta love volunteers who go the extra mile.  You know what else she said?  “Believe it or not, that’s not the oddest thing I’ve done at an aid station.”
OK, still 5 more miles to go.  No way I could run.  I kept up the bow-legged waddle along the roads to the finish at the Sylacauga High School track.  The rain had actually stopped for those last few miles, but the breeze made it rather chilly.  I was starting to shiver a bit, so I called my friends to ask them to bring me a jacket.  They had started driving around anyway to figure out where I was since I was much later than expected.
In the end, I waddled across the finish line in 26:34:57.  (The video is amusing.)    I think it rained for 20 of the hours I was on trail - sometimes light, sometimes hard.  Mentally, I was just fine.  Physically, the biggest problem by far was the chafing.  My feet were swollen, but that was expected.  Fitness-wise, I was definitely in shape to go sub-24 as I had hoped - when I was running, I was very comfortable.  My legs were never really sore, and I resumed running a week after the race.  Stretching the healing chafed skin was excruciating over the first day or three after the race.  Based on a recommendation, I am now trying a different pair of compression shorts.  This was my first, but not my last 100 miler.

The Prize. A belt buckle...
Chafed and relieved.

Finally, thanks to those who donated to the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation.  I am thrilled to say that nearly $5000 was donated as part of my effort for this race.  It was well worth the pain.

For the glory,

Ron Moore

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Some Reminders About The Blog

Now that Thanksgiving is done and Black Thursday/Friday is history, I wish to remind you of some things about the Blog With It All.

  • Although we are not Officially a part of the Program, we are Unofficially Official, and work with the Program to support the past, present and future of it.
  • Anyone can join us at any time, as long as they support the Program and honor its traditions and Coach Harry Groves (the original impetus to our formation).  Join the Facebook Group here.
  • There are no fees or membership dues, although all donations are directed to the Coach Harry Groves Scholarship Endowment.
  • Our once yearly Reunion and Golf Tourney continues to grow, but we need your help for that to keep happening.
  • Our Web Site/Blog is an eclectic mish-mash of news, announcements, stories, hogwash, photos, videos, polls and general mirth.  It is mostly content that I deem appropriate, but I have the help of many people both known and unknown behind the scenes.  I value all the help I can get.
  • The content can be reached by many electronic formats.  The portable methods (phones, tablets) are now starting to take the majority of the page views.  You need to remember to reach the full online website on your desktop occasionally to get the full thing.  You miss much on the sidebars by never visiting the full Web Site.
  • All content on the site is free for reuse according to the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International License.  This means you can freely use things from the blog and even change things as long as you attribute properly and do not make money from it.  See the link for specifics.  Help spread the word!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Is This The Final Listing Of The Greatest Penn State Womens Cross Country Runners Of All-Time?

Short Answer:  Probably Not! 

I'm going to go ahead and add partial results of the 1979 AIAW Championships to the list.  But I will still make efforts to get the full results of 1975, 1976, 1978 and 1979. And 1980 is still missing too. I don't want to miss any of the women finishing in the top 50 but not making All-American status as per the original criteria.

As I suspected, Heather Carmichael (and Here) moves up on the list with the inclusion of 1979, while Kathy Mills Parker moves further ahead of the pack.

Greatest Penn State Womens Cross Country Runners (AIAW and NCAA) Of All-Time

(Red indicates changes from the last version.)

  1. Kathy Mills Parker - 3rd 1976, 1st 1977, 3rd 1978, 4th 1979 for 179.6 points.
  2. Liz Berry Larsen - - 15th 1975, 11th 1976 and 16th 1977 for 97.3 points. 
  3. Kris Bankes - 3rd 1975, 15th 1977 for 74.4 points. 
  4. Heather Carmichael - 8th 1979, 31st 1981, 43rd 1983 for 54.9 points. 
  5. Bridget Franek - 23rd 2008, 26th 2009 for 52.8 points.
  6. Susanne Heyer - 14th 2000 for 36.7 points.
  7. Caitlin Lane - 16th 2011 for 35.0 points.
  8. Liz Cunningham Kisenwether - 12th 1975 for 33.5 points.
  9. Stacia Prey - 23rd 1985, 41st 1987, 31st 1988 for 30.1 points. 
  10. Kimberly Kelly Segiel - 27th 1992, 35th 1994 for 28.4 points.
  11. Kimberly McGreevy - 28th in 1996 for 19.4 points. 
  12. Tessa Barrett - 38th 2015 for 13.0 points. 
  13. Doreen Startare McCoubrie - 28th in 1982 for 12.0 points.
  14. Kelli Hunt - 42nd 1992, 44th 1993 for 11.4 points. 
  15. Colleen Glyde - 41st 1992 for 7.1 points. 
  16. Wendy Nelson - 43rd 1990 for 5.6 points.
  17. Torri Perri - 47th 2012 for 4.0 points. 
  18. Erin St. John - 46th 1994 for 3.6 points. 
  19. Jennifer Weaver - 46th 1993 for 3.6 points. 
  20. Meredith White - 45th 1984 for 2.6 points. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

As God Is My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly

 There were Turkey Trots everywhere yesterday.  Here are a few of them:

Dane Rauschenberg with Ed Whitlock.
Horace Ashenfelter III with Tom Fleming.
  •  The Shirley Mae Taylor Turkey Trot in New Cumberland, PA  There were Fullers and the Fuller Harem and Jeff Sanden and daughter Carissa. 
    Jeff and Carissa Sanden, both age group winners.
  •  The York YMCA Turkey Trot again had a huge crowd of more than 4,700 runners in downtown York.  Daughters the Younger and Elder were both beaten like a rented mule by their mother Barb Black!  ("But I wasn't really trying." was no excuse!)
  • Tyler McCandless was second at his Turkey Trot in Dallas, TX. 
    Tyler MCandless, center.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Another Change To The Greatest Womens XC Runners Of All-Time (Need 1979 and 1980!) The Intern Is Demanding A Pay Raise!

Thanks to a very observant and conscientious, faithful reader who is working this Thanksgiving, we have the 1975 AIAW XC Championship results to add to the list of Greatest PSU Womens XC Runners of All-TimeKeep them coming.  We only need 1979 and 1980 now, which could boost Doreen Startare McCoubrie and Heather Carmichael and others in the mix!  I don't want to leave anyone out, but I need confirmation of the results before posting.

The criteria and formula used by the overworked math intern are the same as before and similar to the Mens version. (Top 50 women instead of top 20 men being the only difference to make about the same number of people represented.)

Greatest Penn State Womens Cross Country Runners (AIAW and NCAA) Of All-Time
(Red indicates changes from the last version.)
  1. Kathy Mills Parker - 3rd 1976, 1st 1977 and 3rd 1978 for 133.8 points.
  2. Liz Berry Larsen - - 15th 1975, 11th 1976 and 16th 1977 for 97.3 points.
  3. Kris Bankes - 3rd 1975, 15th 1977 for 74.4 points.
  4. Bridget Franek - 23rd 2008, 26th 2009 for 52.8 points.
  5. Susanne Heyer - 14th 2000 for 36.7 points.
  6. Caitlin Lane - 16th 2011 for 35.0 points.
  7. Liz Cunningham Kisenwether - 12th 1975 for 33.5 points.
  8. Stacia Prey* - 23rd 1985, 41st 1987, 31st 1988 for 30.1 points.
  9. Kimberly Kelly - 27th 1992, 35th 1994 for 28.4 points.
  10. Kimberly McGreevy - 28th in 1996 for 19.4 points.
  11. Heather Carmichael - 31st 1981, 43rd 1983 for 13.1 points.
  12. Tessa Barrett - 38th 2015 for 13.0 points.
  13. Doreen Startare McCoubrie - 28th in 1982 for 12.0 points.
  14. Kelli Hunt - 42nd 1992, 44th 1993 for 11.4 points.
  15. Colleen Glyde - 41st 1992 for 7.1 points.
  16. Wendy Nelson - 43rd 1990 for 5.6 points.
  17. Torri Perri - 47th 2012 for 4.0 points.
  18. Erin St. John - 46th 1994 for 3.6 points.
  19. Jennifer Weaver - 46th 1993 for 3.6 points.
  20. Meredith White - 45th 1984 for 2.6 points.    
Elizabeth (Liz) Cunningham Kisenwether.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Updated (But Still Incomplete) Top Penn State Womens Cross Country Runners Of All-Time

Through extensive searches requiring Herculean efforts (Google and even email!) and the actual transfer of legal tender, I obtained AIAW XC Championship Results of 1976 (partial), 1977 (total) and 1978 (partial).

These efforts were facilitated by Sarah Adams and the wonderful people at Eastern Kentucky University Special Collections and Archive.  She has been granted an honorary membership in our group and joins Jeri Elder and Kay Warfel as a Digital Archive Goddess on the right sidebar.  She will probably be somewhat confused by how much I paid for the few specific items I needed, but I am very thankful for them.  It gives me a little street cred when I say I am trying to run all of this stuff down, and come through with at least some of it.  Still looking for the results of 1975, 1979 and 1980! Only a troll under a bridge seems to have them.

So we can add a few names to the listing of the Greatest PSU Womens Cross Country Runners of All-Time!   I had the math intern retire to the basement with a calculator and figure out the results using the same arbitrary, self-serving and non-meticulous method I used before.  There are many ways to answer the question, but this method pleases my friends and infuriates some others.  You are welcome to promote your own listing as you please.  And Pete Rose is still the greatest baseball player of all-time, just in case you wanted to know!

 The Top Penn State Women Cross Country Runners Of All-Time (Including AIAW results 1976, 1977 1nd 1978 and all NCAA results 1981 to present):

New members in red

  1. Kathy Mills Parker - 3rd 1976, 1st 1977 and 3rd 1978 for 133.8 points.
  2. Liz Berry Larsen - - 11th 1976 and 16th 1977 for 66.4 points.
  3. Bridget Franek - 23rd 2008, 26th 2009 for 52.8 points.
  4. Susanne Heyer - 14th 2000 for 36.7 points.
  5. Caitlin Lane - 16th 2011 for 35.0 points.
  6. Kris Bankes - 15th 1977 for 33.0 points.
  7. Stacia Prey* - 23rd 1985, 41st 1987, 31st 1988 for 30.1 points.
  8. Kimberly Kelly - 27th 1992, 35th 1994 for 28.4 points.
  9. Kimberly McGreevy - 28th in 1996 for 19.4 points.
  10. Heather Carmichael - 31st 1981, 43rd 1983 for 13.1 points.
  11. Tessa Barrett - 38th 2015 for 13.0 points.
  12. Doreen Startare McCoubrie - 28th in 1982 for 12.0 points.
  13. Kelli Hunt - 42nd 1992, 44th 1993 for 11.4 points.
  14. Colleen Glyde - 41st 1992 for 7.1 points.
  15. Wendy Nelson - 43rd 1990 for 5.6 points.
  16. Torri Perri - 47th 2012 for 4.0 points.
  17. Erin St. John - 46th 1994 for 3.6 points.
  18. Jennifer Weaver - 46th 1993 for 3.6 points.
  19. Meredith White - 45th 1984 for 2.6 points.   
Liz Berry Larsen, 2nd from left.
Kris Bankes.
*Thanks to Hugh Hamill for the correction of Stacia Prey's name, (not Perry as in the "official" results. The intern has been sacked.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Times Are A Changing (The Reunion and Golf Tourney Weekend, That Is!)

You youngsters don't even know who Bob Dylan is, I suppose.  But he was once really big.  A counterculture icon before counterculture icons decided to all think alike.  Thus becoming non-counterculture! A Jewish boy from Minnesota who made it big in the Music World despite having a voice worse than my great grandmother and guitar skills somewhat like the 6th graders in the local middle school.  (He isn't half bad at the harmonica, even if he's wearing it around his neck like a doofus.)

John "DNA" Kauffman (mentioned on these pages before), once sidled up next to him at a State College bar (the Saloon, I believe) before a show in 1980 and told him that he heard a guy by the name of Robert Zimmerman had a show in Rec Hall that night but he didn't really like him very much.  He was rewarded with tickets and a few drinks from a smirking Bob Dylan and hung around backstage during the "Slow Train Coming" Concert, (his probably brief dalliance with Christianity, although I'm not certain about that)

All this to introduce the change in dates for the 15th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament.  

The date is being changed to the following weekend of May 20 and 21 from the original date of May 13, 14.  Please help spread the word and mark your calendars.

In way of explanation for the inevitable scorn we may encounter...  It is never easy to pick a date for the Reunion.  There are always problems with any dates we choose. Each year we try to pick dates as early as possible , but we need to keep several things in mind: 
  • Can never have it during Graduation weekend! No hotel rooms! (May 6-8, 2016).
  • Never want to have it during weekend of Mother's Day due to lower turnout (May 8, 2016).
  • Never want to have it during Memorial Day weekend due to lower turn out (May 30, 2016).  
  • We also try to coordinate the off week between the Big Ten Championships (May 13-14,2016) and the NCAA Prelims (May 26-28, 2016) so that the team can be part of our festivities. This off-weekdate was sketchy when we made our determination and it has now been finalized to the May 20-21 weekend. So the change is being made!

Monday, November 23, 2015

There Sure Has Been A Lot Of AIAW Stuff Lately! Or Two Halves Make For A Full Post

And rightly so!  Because these women are still running well today.  I try to never disclose a woman's age, but won't prevent you from doing the math required.

First up, Janet Norem, who may have the Alumni (Golfer) record for miles run on the Continent of Africa.  Somehow she ended up on the Left Coast from hometown Pittsburgh when she isn't overseas, and placed third in her age division at the USA San Diego Half-Marathon. At school, we probably spoke 3 or 4 words to each other, and she never realized how much I admired her.  Still do.  Someone who has done wonderful things for this world.  A Nittany Lion ambassador of the finest order.

Janet Norem.

Secondly, and closer to home was Doreen (Statare) McCoubrie's age-group victory at the Philadelphia Half-Marathon in an unbelievable time of 1:27 and change.  Doreen has been a big help with our Mid-Atlantic Division USATF team.

Doreen McCoubrie, left.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

XC Season Is Over: Onward To Track!

The Nittany Lion Women ended up 16th in the nation.  A fine season overall.  Big Ten Champions, Mid-Atlantic Region Champions and ranked as high as 9th overall in the USTFCCA voting.

                                      38- Tessa Barrett 20:26.7
                                      98 -Tori Gerlach 20:49.3
                                    102- Elizabeth Chikotas 20:50.4
                                    151- Jillian Hunsberger 21:12.8
                                    157 -Stephanie Aldrich 21:15.1

Billy Francis! Lady Lions!
Tessa Barrett, All-American.
Billy Francis and his Syracuse mates.
Our very own Undersecretary of Fun Billy Francis drove 1,700 miles to watch his graduate school mates from Syracuse win the title in an upset only to those who weren't paying attention. He found the time to charm the Lady Lions also! Including PSU's newest All-American XC runner, Tessa Barrett. (thanks to Coach Reckart for the pic!)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Rooting For The Pink And Black

We all know (Well, most of us know...) the original school colors were pink and black.  And no one brings that to life better than the Womens Cross Country team at today's NCAA Championships in Louisville.

And they are a sight better than one of the earliest versions of the Nittany Lion in 1910.  (Made of Paper Mache.)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Hanging Out In Our Member's Lounge

I think that's what we eventually need.  An actual space somewhere in Happy Valley where we could hang out, sip beverages, work away from the office, meet for runs, and hold group festivities.  It would kinda be like the Member's Lounge at Bushwood Country Club.  It would be a lounge, library, locker room, meeting room, media center and club house all-in-one!

But until then, this digital site seems to be the only place to hang out.  I'm very happy that our ranks have grown steadily and some doubters are finally starting to jump on board.  I can't tell you how happy I am to have all the help and support from all of you.  But keep sending me things!!!

The dividends of being a somewhat reluctant herder of cats following a long period of hermit-hood following my years at PSU, is the great people I meet who I missed while I was hidden away. Kim and Kris Kelly were certainly 2 of the women I missed in the early 90's.  It is so nice to have Kim Segiel and Kris Danilovitz as frequent readers of the blog now.  Looking forward to meeting them at the Reunion in May.  And we would be remiss if we didn't ask them to golf with us too!  Don't worry, you both are much better golfers than I! Ask anyone.

Kim and Kris Kelly

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Very Top

Thanks to Bob Radzwich and our very own Golden Putter Attendant for alerting me to another high honor to one of our own.

I've told the story before about how my very first run after matriculating at Penn State was with Mark Parker (I'm certain), Tim Backenstose (I think) and Campbell Lovett (I'm pretty sure).  Each of these guys were 6' 4" at least and every one of them were at least 60 pounds heavier than I was.  I was scared to death and didn't utter a peep as they took me on a 10 mile tour of the pine barrens that lasted for 2 hours at 6:00/mile pace.  Even my lowly math skills alerted to me that I might have bitten off more than I could chew!  None of them would remember me at all, but they left an indelible mark on this Freshman.

Mark Parker was just named Fortune Magazine's Business-Person of the Year.  Congrats Mark.  But can you golf?  (Hint: You're a better golfer than I .) Hope to see you one day at the Coach Groves Golf Tourney and Reunion!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I'm Going To Call Him "Coach" From Now On

The title "Coach" is one that deserves much more respect in our current world.  But not from me.   I already hold Coach Groves in as high a position as anyone except my parents and grandparents when the guidance of my life is concerned.

Coach Groves being interviewed by yours truly.

No one had as much impact on my personal journey through life other than my family members. He often taught me positive values and rarely taught me what negative values can mean.  Both are very valuable lessons which don't come about easily if no one is there to guide you.  As a lowly walk-on, Coach took as much time with me as others who were recruited.  He met with me individually many times and instilled both praise (occasionally) and criticism (often) of what I was doing.  This rarely had anything at all to do with my running.

Two years ago he summed it up by saying, "Athletics (track and field) is for education and recreation, nothing else. Winning is important only in that you learn more." This was from an 82 year-old coach emeritus who had dedicated his entire working life to track and field coaching.  Powerful stuff really.

And his tradition is being continued at Penn State right now by another coach.
Coach John Gondak.

I first met Coach John Gondak in the meeting room of the Hampton Inn at our Friday night Reunion prior to one of the earlier Coach Groves weekends.  He had just been hired as the distance assistant coach by Coach Sullivan.  He actually took the time to meet with us haggard rabble and even golfed with us.  (He is a very good golfer BTW!) Our admiration began then.

In the intervening years, his blood has gradually turned blue and now he is a full-fledged Nittany Lion.  I quietly lobbied for him when the head coaching job opened up, and I couldn't be happier to see what he is doing for the program.  Integrity, excellence and yes, education, are at the core of his tutelage. May it continue for many more years.I'm going to call him "Coach" from now on, even if he blushes as I do it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My Thinking Cap Must Be Broken

As the mornings appear more and more frozen in nature, it was only a matter of time until the Spring Penn State Tuition Bills came.  Sure enough, the emails have flooded in this AM to all my various accounts.  Now that bills come mostly in the parent's name, I get to relive those glorious days again like in 1977.  But back then the $333 ($500/semester) or so* tuition per term barely fazed me, even though they were in my name.  Now it's $6,359 per semester.  And it's the government that you have to pay back at more interest than there should be! 

But then our thoughts invariably turn to academics, and in my case Physics.

*I think tuition was actually $750 for my first year of college.

Monday, November 16, 2015

What's Old Is New Again

When the Nittany Lions started their Womens XC team, they were a top ten team for the entire first decade.  And now we are back!  The Lady Lions defeated Villanova, Georgetown, Princeton and all the others at the Mid-Atlantic Regional to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

The Penn State women’s cross country team will travel to Louisville, Ky. for the 2015 Division I cross country championships Nov. 21.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

AIAW History: Rememberinbg Cross Country's Own Marshall

This barely registered with me in 1985 because I was already out of PSU and finishing up at Podiatry School.  I vaguely remember it.  Reading it recently made me cry.

When PSU started its Womens Cross Country program in 1975, Iowa State was a powerhouse in the sport. (I see they made the NCAA team competition this year!)

1985 Iowa State XC.

30th Anniversary of the Tragedy of the 1985 Iowa State Women’s Cross Country

Saturday, November 14, 2015

AIAW History I Came Across During My Search For Results (With More To Come)

The history of Penn State Womens Cross Country began in 1975 with its AIAW sanctioned team. The team began with aplomb and was among the organizations strongest teams throughout its history until the NCAA took over Women's Sports with a bitter coup in 1981.

Penn State Women’s Cross-Country History
PennState fielded its first women’s cross-country team in 1975.  The team was an immediate success, winning regional championships from 1975 to 1985, and finishing in the top five nationally from 1975 to 1980, and the top ten through 1982.  In their first season, under coach Chris Brooks, the Nittany Lions finished second in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) National Championships.  Under Brooks, Kathy Mills, one of PennState’s all-time great runners, was a four-time All American, won the 1977 AAU National Championship, and was the winner of the prestigious Broderick Award as the best cross-country runner in the nation in both 1977 and 1978.

Gary Schwartz replaced Brooks in 1979, but the regional championships and superior national performance continued, first as part of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) and then, starting in 1981, with the NCAA.  A highlight of his tenure was a number three finish at the national championships in 1979. 
Coach Gary Schwartz.

Coach Groves and Coach Schwartz at a previous golf tourney.

Teri Jordan started her illustrious coaching career at PennState in 1984.  Over 16 seasons, she won numerous coach of the year honors, the team won three eastern regional titles, and then joined the Big 10 in 1991, finishing second or third from 1991-1996.  In 1996, Kim McGreevy was the Big 10 cross-country champion and athlete of the year. In 1999, Jordan was head coach of the USteam that competed in the World Championships. She is now Penn State’s Coordinator of Disability Programming and the Assistant Coordinator of the Ashenfelter Track Complex.
Matt Groves, Coach Teri Jordan, Coach Groves and Dan Jordan.

 Both Coach Jordan and coach Schwartz will be with us at the next Reunion and coach Groves Golf tourney in May.  spread the word and let's have the best ever turn-out of Women team members ever!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Some AIAW Results Coming Soon!

I have found 50% of the AIAW Cross Country Championship results !  I will turn the math intern loose when I receive them and we can add a few of Penn State's early pioneers to the ranks of the "Best of All-Time List".  I will use the same subjective criteria I used before and add them into our listing of the All-Time NCAA listing we reported earlier.  And I'm still trying to find the other 50%, having only had to supply a bounty of $42 for the first batch.  It was delivered in a parking garage in Washington DC to another intern (corporate espionage edition!) wearing a long trench coat even in the warm weather over the weekend.  Follow the money...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"Scientists" Are Giving Us A Little Lee-Way

Before, when we talked about the heart ramifications of endurance training, "scientists" and "doctors" were telling us that 20 miles per week was the maximum anyone should do to avoid irreversible damage to our hearts.  Certainly, other "doctors" and "scientists" disagreed. And with the recent loss of one of our own, we need to take these things seriously.


Now, another group of "scientists" and "doctors" has come up with a number slightly higher and more palatable to the running masses (or is it asses? hee hee hee). But they do show increased atherosclerosis in cardiac vessels with increases in the amount of endurance training past a certain point.  Here, they say 35 miles/week.  That is MORE hardening of the arteries in runners than in couch potatoes, other factors being equal.

I find these theories quite reasonable, even if trying to quantify the exact number is probably fraught with chaotic uncertainty.  Just as "scientists" with a gun to their head can't tell you the temperature within 2.0 degrees for certain 3 days from now, others will attempt to tell you the temperature with conviction 85 years from now within 0.01 degrees.

I say use butter to fry your eggs and have an extra helping of bacon. Then go out for a ten-miler later today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Trail Dominance Both Domestic And International By Group Physicists

When the tracking thingie showed no motion at all after 41 miles or so, I despaired that an injury or accident had befallen Future Official Group Physicist Ron Moore.  He was running the Pinhoti Trail 100 in the wilds of Alabama.

But do not fear.  It takes a lot to stop Ron in anything he does.  He continued on even if his beta trail tracker didn't.  He finished the 100 miles in 26 hours and 34 minutes.  The buckle he won would be worn by me even on my pajamas or running shorts at all times! 

Best of all, Ron raised money in the fight against cancer.  He met his goal in donations and his desire to join the 100 mile group.  Congrats Ron!  (Now, can you golf?)

And current Group Physicist (Nuclear Engineer) Brian Boyer has been running on some unique Trails in Vienna with his dog.  On successive days Brian ran on the Stemmerallee Prater and the
Zieglergasse with his Staffordshire Bull Terrier Nikki.

Stemmerallee Prater
 No word on if the trails were named after 70's icons Paul Stemmer and John Zeigler?

Addendum: Looking at the results tracking page still shows poor Ron stuck at the 41.1 mile mark at the bottom of the biggest mountain on the course. And here's Ron running in the rain! Note the Alumni Singlet garnering him a certain nomination for Performance of the Year on the right side-bar (hint).


Monday, November 9, 2015

I'm Motivated. Just Not Enough To Do 40 X 440yards!

40 x 440yards with brief rest between them was a staple of Coach Timmons repertoire for Jim Ryun and his teammates.  IN HIGH SCHOOL!  And I'm told they sometimes actually lifted weights in the rest interval instead of jogging.  I think that would set the whining college students at Yale and Missouri on a more correct path!

Jim Ryun was the keynote speaker at the USCAA Cross Country National Championship banquet on Thursday.  I was lucky enough to meet him for the second time.  The first time was at a Podiatry Political Action Committee conference in Washington DC just after he was elected to Congress.  He was really pleased with me when I was the only person to ask him about his politics instead of his running career.

He also handed out the certificates to the Academic All-Americans and my daughter got to pose for a picture with him.  Her coach's wife is good friends with Ann Ryun, Jim's wife.  After, when I told her about the 40 x 440yards repeats he did in high school, her jaw just about hit the floor.

Daughter the Elder, center, with Jim Ryun.
Coach Bill Preston greets Jim Ryun.
Here's the introduction and actual speech he gave, rendered in my usual poor camera method.  It's nearly a half hour long but worth it because there is video of his last mile world record (3:51.1) in black and white in the middle of the video (at the 5:45 mark of the video).  Or "before they invented color" as my young daughters used to say!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Hat-Tip To Coach Groves: Penn State Track And Field Alumni Golfers Make Great Coaches: Part 2

It was a bang up day again across the fruited plain for Coach Harry Groves' coached athletes.  Honestly, I think this has a little to do with Coach Groves himself.  He instilled a love of the sport(s) in each and every one of us.  He taught us values, organization, goal-setting, and hard work, even when we disagreed and b*tched about it among ourselves.  All of us came out of it much better off than when we entered his domain.  (Even prodigal sons are welcomed with open arms to our Group!) Here are a few of the recent coaches achieving great things on cross country courses with a little help from Coach's past tutelage:

  • Coach Mark Haywood's Class A Camp Hill boys won the PIAA State title for the first time in school history. Here's his wife's thoughts on this.  I was at their wedding and did I mention it was a great affair?
    Mark Haywood, right.
  • Coach Jayson Jackson's St. Joseph's Academy won the PIAA Class A girls title.  Jayson is another Nittany Lion I have had the pleasure to meet because of my efforts at herding cats to our Reunion and golf outing.  You should think of attending too so you can realize just how great members of our Group are! Absolutely everyone is invited to join.
    Jayson Jackson's St. Joseph Academy victors.
  • Matt Lincoln's Chandler Wolves won the Arizona Division 1 title.  A Canadian in Arizona via Happy Valley!
    Matt Lincoln, right.
  • The State College boys were 9th in the PIAA Class AAA race.  Coaches Steve Shisler, Dave Felice and Nick K. keep the Little Lions near the top of the game!
    Dave Felice, Steve Shisler and Nick K., right.
  • The State College girls were 5th in the PIAA Class AAA race with Artie Gilkes and Rebecca Donaghue guiding them.
    Artie Gilkes, Rebecca Donaghue, left.
  • Dominic Hockenberry repeated as Class A Champion and will be headed to Syracuse in the Fall.  Dominic was is coached by Bill Kvashay until his retirement this year.
    Bill Kvashay, left.
  • Gettysburg's lone runner placed 10th in the PIAA Class AA race.  He is coached by Group Friend and William and Mary liaison Brian Mount.
    Brian Mount, center.
  • I'm sure I missed some.  Let me know!
  • John Mahoney, Assistant Coach of Central Bucks West, helped his team to 3rd in the PIAA AAA race.  (Thanks to Beth Shisler for the update!) 
  • Here's an update from Tom Rapp on his season: 
    I wanted to bring you up to speed on our recently-concluded season. After winning the state meet last year, we stepped into this year knowing we were a bit depleted by graduation. Add in a couple of injuries and illness and basically we lost numbers 1,2 5, 6 and 7 from last year. Still we had a very successful season winning our league, district and regional (SW Ohio - one fourth of the state) meets. We scored the second lowest total ever at regionals - 35 points.
    We finished runner up at state to Cleveland St. Ignatius, a perennial power currently ranked #10 in the country. We actually scored 25 points less than our championship team last year but couldn't quite match St. Ignatius. In Ohio, only two teams make the podium and receive medals and trophies. We were thrilled to be one of the two. We have been on the podium three out of the last four years. I feel like this might have been my best team ever, but part of winning a championship is picking the right year to be good. Guess we didn't quite do that. We lacked a solid number one and had four different guys at that spot this year. However, our 1-5 split was usually between 15 and 25 seconds. Lots of pack running which made it fun, but sometimes hard to coach during a race because they would all zoom by at the same time - tough to give individual instructions like that.
    Anyway, thanks for reading.
    Run Happy!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Brutal Global Warming?

There were brutal conditions at the small college USCAA XC Championships in Lakeland, Florida today. Ninety degrees and 95 per cent humidity led to many collapses and heat stroke among the runners. Six ambulances  not including the 2 originally there. One ankle fracture too!

Daughter the Elder did not fall victim to the heat but to an aggravation of her wrist fracture after getting bumped 2 miles into the race. I'm really proud of her season anyway, and especially her Academic All-American status for the Conference.

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