Thursday, April 30, 2015

Big Ten Athlete Of The Week... Again!

That's twice this season for Darrell HillAnd you know I love the Big Guys now that I are one!

Darrell won the Penn Relays Shot Put for the second year in a row, and had four of the top 8 throws in the nation last week.




TOP 10 MEN’S PERFORMANCES WEEK OF 4/19/15-4/25/15
RankAthleteYearSchoolMark
1Darrell HillSRPenn State20.79m/68-2½
2Stipe ZunicSRFlorida20.38m/66-10½
3Stipe ZunicSRFlorida19.97m/65-6¼
4Darrell HillSRPenn State19.94m/65-5
5Stipe ZunicSRFlorida19.92m/65-4¼
6Darrell HillSRPenn State19.87m/65-2¼
7Jonathan JonesSRBuffalo19.81m/65-0
8Darrell HillSRPenn State19.76m/64-10


Here's Darrell in action in the Ashenfelter complex setting the school indoor record:

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Birthday Present For Coach Groves

With Coach Groves missing his first Penn Relays in 70 years, many people stood up and brought the Penn Relays to Coach Groves.  Mark Hawkins, Nick K., and Larry Mangan  Clark Haley updated Coach live over the phone during the Sprint Medley Relay Championship of America victory.  And the entire team group of alumni at the reception on Friday night made sure to sign a Program for him which was delivered on Sunday.

Addendum:  I supplied Mark with Coach's phone # prior to the event, so I assumed it was those guys who updated Coach on the shenanigans going on at the track.  (See:  Ass, you, me...)

Photo courtesy of Will Rottler. Thanks Will.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Still Another First Hand Account Of "The Race"

We have had previous remembrances of The Race before, from Randy Moore and Steve Shisler. Here's another remembrance of that specific race from David Zeiters, who had just finished his Sprint Medley race and was with Coach Groves along the wall.  Dave even managed to take some pics of the aftermath with one of those old-fashioned film cameras the kids today know nothing about!  Thanks for letting me steal all of this to make the blog with it all more complete!



Vance Watson, Steve Shisler and Chris Mills.

I'm actually in this pic in the first row near the orange guy!


Vance Watson and Randy Moore. "Give me that baton!"






"Thirty years ago today, I saw one of the greatest track events in my life when the Penn State men’s 4x 800m relay team won at the 1985 Penn Relays with the best time in the world that year! A smoking 7:11.17!I had just finished my 200m leg in the Sprint Medley relay race, grabbed my sweats, and rushed back out to the track to watch the highly anticipated men’s 4x800m relay race. We all knew we had great 800m runners and it would be a good race. I ended up standing on top of the back of a bench leaning up against the north brick wall next to Coach Groves. I remember Coach with his Spiked Shoe ball cap on had his notebook and stop watch ready to call out the splits. Vance Watson was our first leg and started the race. I remember Coach yelling, “let’s go Vance!” After a great first leg, Vance handed the baton off to Steve Shisler in first place. As Steve rounded the first turn in front of us Coach yelled “beat’m to the curve Steve!” Steve ran a blazing second leg and handed off the baton still in first place to our young freshman stud, Chris Mills. All the while Coach is barking out split times for Judy or Joe to write down. Chris just went out and ran probably his best 800m split of the year. Chris finished a strong leg and handed off to our All-American 800m runner, Randy Moore. Then it happened. It was one of those perfect runs you maybe see a few times in your lifetime. Randy busted out an unbelievable 800! As he fought off the Georgetown runner on the last lap down the straight a way we were screaming our lungs out until he crossed the finish line in first place. I looked over to Coach and he had this elated amazed look on his face and said, “my God he ran a 1:45.”As the four guys started their victory lap, I grabbed my camera and snapped some pictures as they jogged past us. I was standing by Coach and remember Vance yelling over to him, “Coach we did it!” I saw Coach have a tear in his eyes and a smile from ear to ear. I have never seen Coach happier. Thirty years ago today."
 
-David Zeiters.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Shout Out To Another PSU Track Alumni Golfer

Owen Dawson is on The Cup with his recent victory in the 2014 Coach Groves Tourney.  But he was also in the mix of an exciting finish of the Olympic Development Mile at the Penn Relays Saturday.   Well done!  I hope he is golfing with us again this year! 

Owen Dawson (left) with Doug Kent, Artie Gilkes and Curt Allison.


1 Reed Connor NJ/NYTC 4:01.02 (3:44.65)
2 Owen Dawson Bryn Mawr RC 4:01.08 (3:45.07)
3 Shawn Roberts NJ/NYTC 4:01.16 (3:44.94)
4 John Nick Happe Speed Factory Athletics 4:01.20 (3:45.55)

Just When You Thought You Were Finally Safe From The Steeplechase Pit

More steeplechase goodness!  Our friend on the Left Coast Mike Fanelli found another gem in his garage to share with us.  Here's the program from the 1952 Olympic Steeplechase.  I swear they spell the USSR's entry differently every time I see it.



Sunday, April 26, 2015

Just a Foot Away From Contending

The foot just happened to be injured!

The 2015 PSU quartet finished 10th in the 4 x 800 Championship of America on the 30th anniversary of the record run by Chris Mills, Randy Moore, Steve Shisler and Vance Watson.

It was a disappointing end to a otherwise very good appearance at the Penn Relays Carnival for the Program.  It all came down to the lead-off leg, where Western Australia's Jordan Makins injured his foot and still managed to finish in 1:55 and change.  Those precious seconds meant the difference in such a competitive field.  Heal up, Jordan, there are plenty of great days ahead!

10 Penn State 7:26.54 Jordan Makins (1:55.01), Robby Creese (1:49.01), Robert Rhodes (1:52.75), Brannon Kidder (1:49.78) 

But there was some good news on the Javelin Field.  Michael Shuey placed 2nd in the Championship event with a toss of 241 feet, 9 inches.


Michael Shuey with Coach Patrick Ebel.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Watches And Wheels! Good Start To Penn Relays Carnival

Elizabeth Chikotas, 5000M Champion. 16:05.46

Darrel Hill, repeat Shot Put Champion, third longest mark ever. 68' 2.5"

Sprint Medley Relay Championship of America, Alex Shisler, Xavier Smith, Sancho Barrett and Brannon Kidder.

2 Generations of Wheel Winners, Stephen Shisler, Alex Shisler and Beth Shisler. (Photo from Larry Mangan and Mark Hawkins.) 
Michael Gross, Wheel and watch from 1997 Corporate DMR!
Stephen Shisler brings us the video of the Sprint Medley!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Cream Of The Crop: Penn State At The Penn Relays

From the vast Penn Relays web site, here are the most celebrated Nittany Lions of all-time:

Elaine Sobansky, 1984.

"The Race", 1985.
Casimir Loxsom, Athlete of the Meet 2013.

Horace Ashenfelter with Horace the Golden Putter.
Barney Ewell.
Lee Talbot, PSU 1909.
Alan Helffrich
"Anchored the Penn State 2-Mile Relay team to a world record at the Penn Relays in 1923."

Wall of Fame Inductees
2000 1985 4×800m Relay
Vance Watson, Steve Shisler, Chris Mills, Randy Moore
2007 Lee Talbott (1910)
2008 Elaine Sobansky (1984)

Olympic Gold Medalists
participating at the Penn Relays
1920 Antwerp Larry Shields  3000 Team
1924 Paris Alan Helffrich  4x400
1948 London Barney Ewell  4x100
1952 Helsinki Horace Ashenfelter  SC



Athletes of the Meet
2013 CM-R Casimir Loxsom     

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Meow Is The Time For My Penn Relays Story

My only run in with The Law was because of the Penn Relays...

In the early 90's, I was carefree and unencumbered by kids and old age.  I had been bragging to a running friend about how great the Penn Relays Distance Night was for track geeks and we decided to go down after work and check in for all the festivities.

It was a great night running in to old PSU friends, Podiatry School friends and even Coach Groves in his usual spot along the wall under the clock.  Jim Clelland was even running in the Corporate DMR!  We had a wonderful time and I explained to my friend how great the Cold Molsons Party was.  It was still going on at that time!  We had a ball.

We stayed way past what we should have and the events were behind schedule.  Both of us had work the next day. I had 3 surgeries the next morning starting at 7:00AM.  We got on the road at Midnight or so and I actually used a fuzzbuster to blaze the Turnpike home as fast as I could.

Finally back to York, I prepared for the exit, which was only 1/4 mile from home when I saw the lights flashing.  I pulled off the side of the exit ramp and waited as the cop behind me took more than 5 minutes to do anything at all.  When he finally came to the window, he announced I was going 75 mph, something I almost never have done.  Oh well, IT WAS THE PENN RELAYS AFTER ALL!

He asked for my license, insurance and registration, which I had at the ready.  I expected a ticket and the points to go with it and then be on my way.  But he was taking even longer sitting in his car behind me this time.  It was at least 10 minutes, and I was getting nervous.

Turns out that none of my information matched.  I had moved 3 times in the previous year and had not yet bothered to update anything.  The address on my license, registration and insurance were three diferent places and he was a little miffed at this.  I was really nervous now and he said, "Which is your current address?"

The answer was, of course, none of them!  I had moved just 2 weeks before and was at my fourth place.  The cop was now laughing, thank goodness.  He said he was kinda new to a situation like this.  He knew he should throw the book at me but he didn't know how to do all the paperwork.  Or he didn't want to do it!  So he told me that if I promised to update all of this in the next week he would let me off with a warning.  I didn't even get a ticket.  The Penn Relays are wonderful!
 




Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Alumni Singlets Bring Out The Best

Blog contributor Nick Scarpello has kept in touch with us with his frequent posts from his new life on the Left Coast.  Despite a new environment, a new job (welcome to the wild world of work, a four-letter word ending in k!), Nick is still burning up the roads and track and working out like a maniac.

Enough that he set a 5000M PR at the Mt. Sac Relays last weekend wearing his Alumni Singlet.  I thought someone here at the blog with it all should mention it.   14:14.83  ain't half bad for a working stiff!

And Nick also has started a new blog which I will link on the right sidebar.  It's always good for us ancient types to know what the youngins are up to.


I hope this doesn't mean he'll forget all about us!

Monday, April 20, 2015

"The Race" Was 30 Years Ago


 "We made Harry cry"
-Randy Moore.

There's a great article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about our 1985 4x800M Relay Championship of America victory at the Penn Relays.  They really did a wonderful job, and we helped just a little bit here at the blog with it all.


Two were walk-ons, two were from the local high school!



The photo is from Walt Chadwick's vast stash.  And Walt does have extensive ties to our group from multiple angles.  Randy Moore's recollections of the event in the article come from an exclusive essay he provided to me for use on the blog.  It was a well written, humble and enlightening piece of prose from the most elusive of the 4. You need to read it all.
Other aspects of our blog were used for background also.  Be sure to check out all our previous posts on the topic.



Don't forget, you can still get your "PSU is 800U" t-shirts in the group store.  This single item both inspires and pisses off all the right people.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Couple Of Nice Pics Before I Bore You With Another Personal Penn Relays Story: It's Penn Relays Week!

Doreen Startare McCoubrie shows off her Alumni Singlet!
 Another round of Alumni Singlet sales will be coming once us Idiot Officers get together at the Reunion and Coach Groves Tourney Join us on May 15 and 16!  Remember there are also T-Shirts available, and we may just add a jacket next time!  Let me know if you are interested.

A really great photo! Michael Shuey
The addition of the Javelin corps and the Multi-Eventers make the team even more formidable than the Indoor version!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

There Sure Has Been A Lot Of Steeplechase Stuff This Year

And it continues, with Bridget Franek returning to the track in Oregon with a victory and an early season good time of 9:51.56


Friday, April 17, 2015

Gatorade And Muscle Milk (which has no milk) Better Watch Out!

There's a new Recovery Drink coming to the market, and the Big Boys better watch out!  Penn State's Dr. Pete Bordi has been working on the ultimate concoction for 13 years.  With the help of the PSU football team, Coach Joe Paterno and ex-star Franco Harris and his RSuper Foods company, the beast is about to be released to the public at the Berkey Creamery.  I'll be bringing a review when I get some during the Reunion weekend.

Our Group's very own Jeffrey Dover is intimately involved in the final stages of bringing it to the public through his job as Chef at the Bryce Jordan Center and in charge of the dietary needs of the Men's and Women's Basketball team training tables.  He raves about the stuff, and my Daughter the Elder (yeah I actually have progeny who maintains a near completely vegetarian diet!) can't wait to try the stuff.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

There's Only A Week Until Penn Relays!

My favorite time of year!  And to start off the festivities here at the blog with it all is a photo from our very good friend Mike Fanelli from the garage of his California home.  Mike and I have crossed paths numerous times throughout our lives, and just missed meeting face to face probably dozens of times.  I wonder if actually meeting me will really disappoint him too much?  Mike even had the good sense to marry a Nittany Lion.

Anyway here's a pic of two runners from the early 1950's at Penn Relays:


The Army runner is Richard Shea, a very accomplished runner who paid the ultimate price for America on Pork Chop Hill in Korea soon after this.  Army's track is named in his honor, Shea Stadium. Shea won the 1952 2-Mile at the Penn Relays.

The Nittany Lion is Lamont Smith, a 1953 All-American teammate of the Ashenfelters and Curt Stone, who enticed many onto the teams that won many titles.  Lamont was second in the 1952 2-Mile race at Penn.

Mike Fanelli has such a large stash of memorabilia in his garage that he went looking for more on Shea and Smith.  Although he didn't (yet) find any more, he did come up with a great program for the 1952 Millrose Games:


This stuff is gold, isn't it?

Physicist Joins Monty Python

There is a connection between Penn State Track Alumni and Monty Python I hope one day to report, but in the mean-time, here's Stephen Hawking singing the Galaxy Song from "The Meaning of Life".



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

There Aren't Many 6' 9" Joggers In French Lick

But there is one.  Never knew Larry Bird ran Cross Country in high school.  And he continues to run 4 times a week until today.  Once ran a 32 minute 5 miler in Boston.  AND he was the penultimate fundamental basketball player of his era.  Great trash talker I also hear.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Reunion And Golf Tourney Board Member Places 21st At Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

Even though they have added many other race distances into the mix, the 10 Miler is the classic race in Washington DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival.  You really do need to see the blossoms at least once in your life.  The last time I saw them was at 75 mph as I streaked by on the way to Reagan Airport to fly to China for my adopted Daughter the Younger.  Seeing just a glimpse of them in that fashion taught me that all would be OK on the trip.  Except for the food poisoning...  That story is for another day.  It's a long one.

Brian Fuller is now on the Board for our Golf Tourney and Reunion Committee, and had a very good run this year even though the race was abruptly shortened due to a car accident on the course.  His 48:01 9.5 to 9.75 Miler is estimated to be a 50 minute 10 Miler.  They will remeasure the course in the coming days for all of us OCD types.  And he is a much better golfer than I also.  Damn.  Nice run Brian.

21      BRIAN FULLER   48:01    CAMP HILL, PA


Join Brian and me at the 14th Annual Reunion and Coach Groves Golf Tournament on May 15, 16. Possibly get your name on the Memorial Cup with both of us even if you have little to no golf experience!  See this post from 2 months ago for all the info you need.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Honoring Two Great Coaches

First up is a celebration of Coach Groves' long string of Penn Relays ending this year.  Rather than dwell on the negative, Greg Fredericks has arranged a celebration at Coach's residence in State College to celebrate all the Carnivals he has attended.  This will be the first that Coach Groves has missed in about 70 years.  Coach started attending as a Grade Schooler in a 8 x 55 yard relay.  He ran there in high school and college, even running the same leg of a 4 x 880yd. against my father-in-law.  He also coached his Army team, his William and Mary team and, of course, the Nittany Lions.  Following that he was an honored trackside Official until last year. Not many people have as much history of their own at the Penn Relays.

Help Greg honor Coach on his birthday:

Penn Relays will be here soon and we all know what that means... Coach Groves birthday!

Coach's birthday is Friday April 24th and he will be 85.  We are planning a little celebration at his residence.  It would be really nice if you could drop him a card or give him a call.  He is a bit disappointed he will not make it to the relays so we can help cheer him up.  I believe he has missed Penn Relays only once in the past 70 years!



His address is:
Mr Harry Groves
c/o Juniper Village
610 West Whitehall Road
Room #132
State College, PA 16801

We are...

Thank you all.

greg
 The second way to honor Coach is to attend our 14th Annual Reunion and Golf Tournament.  Now is the time to get your check in the mail to Clark Haley.  All the details are in this post from 2 months ago!

And in a happy coincidence (?), the Memorial Service for ex PSU Cross Country captain and long-time State College Coach Jackson Horner will occur during our reunion weekend.  Many PSU Alums are also State College High Alums and will get a chance to honor Coach Horner and still attend all our festivities!

A service of remembrance for Coach Jackson Horner has been set.

Jackson Horner memorial service & luncheon
Saturday May 16, 2015
11:00am
Grace Lutheran Church, State College, PA

http://www.glcpa.org/

Sunday, April 12, 2015

New Time Steeple Goodness, With Early Season Big Performances

Director of Operations Assistant Coach Ryan Foster broke out his Alumni Singlet and won the Steeplechase at the Bison Classic yesterday in 9:10.76!  I'll have to help him with his water jumps...  hee hee hee


In other top notch action, Director of Operations Laura Loht won the javelin at the same meet.  Robby Creese ran the fastest 1500M in the NCAA so far this year (3:41.74, with Brannon Kidder at 3:44.57) and Joe Kovacs opened his season with a PR toss of 73' 3" (23.35m)  in the shot put out west!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Old Time Steeplechase Goodness, Finally In English!

We have had the video of Horace Ashenfelter's steeplechase victory in the 1952 Olympics several times before, but it was never narrated in English.  Here's a new version picked up by our Director of Fun Teddy Quinn with commentary by Mr. Ashenfelter himself, in English!



Come join Teddy Quinn and me at the Reunion and Coach Groves Golf Tourney on May 15, 16. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

It's Time To Get Your Entries In For The Reunion And Coach Groves Golf Tourney

Remember, everyone is invited. Even You.  I guarantee a good time to be had by all.  Supporting the Penn State Track and Field/XC Program has become my hobby, but my first job with the blog is to herd every cat I can to attend Clark Haley's original vision to honor Coach Groves in a fun and playful way.

We have had our ups and downs over the years, with the lowest year of attendance spawning this blog.  We've grown steadily since and our overall list of attendees is rather impressive.  This year looks to be a good one despite the "off" year meaning the team will be away for the Big Ten Meet.  Everyone already knows the challenges we are up against with our choice of weekends to hold the events.  We have much to avoid, meaning hard decisions being made excluding some of our best friends.
  • Mother's Day weekend
  • Graduation weekend
  • Memorial Day weekend
  • High School District and State Meet weekends
So, it falls on the May 15, 16 weekend this year, with apologies to everyone that gets left off because of it.  But I have heard from many old and new friends, which means we will have a good turnout and a good challenge to get your name on the Coach Groves Memorial Cup for all time.

Remember, the golf is the easiest part to qualify for.  Come join us even with minimal or no golfing experience.  The best ball scramble method we use evens the scoring so much that even non-golfers find their names on the Cup quite often.  The real intent of the event is to get everyone to interact for several hours with "new" and old friends, honor Coach Groves and the past, present and future of PSU Track. The Friday night Meet and Greet,  Alumni "Run" and the golf tourney accomplish this goal in a fun, family-friendly way. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

More 80's Pics Sigh....

One of these guys is John Jon McKay, a former hammer thrower. But which one?
Addendum: Greg Reyner and Todd Leggett report that John Jon McKay is the middle cheerleader, second from the left.  Thanks to Judy Lynn Weaver for the correct spelling of Jon's name.


Gregg Garrity was on my dorm floor with Alan Scharsu and Don Skerpon.  There was always something happening in his room, but I don't think any of it was studying!  Gregg would have made a very fine PSU Trackster, as he was very, very fast.  In his Senior year he caught around 51 passes with 50 of them for first down or touchdown.  This was his last college catch.



Names people, I need names.
Addendum:  Tom Shiffer and Hugh Hamill respond!   1986 I believe is Mark Overheim, Dave Coney, and Steve Shisler. 1985 looks like Rick Kleban and Randy Moore. (Here at the blog with it all, we use more sources than the Rolling Stone!)

Dave Masgay mid-leap.

.
Quaint handout from the years before the Internet! That's Randy Moore on the bottom, isn't it?

Hugh and Tom:   1985 looks like Rick Kleban and Randy Moore.
All photos from Greg Reyner.

Monday, April 6, 2015

More Photos Saved From The Dustbin Of The Early 80's

Chris Herr at Villanova.

Todd Shenk Mike Valenti, with spectators John and Jim Reyner, above .Unknown Jumper, below!
Todd Leggett rightly points out that the thrower is Mike Valenti, not Todd Shenk.  Greg even told me that in his email.  I have no excuse for getting it wrong other than I'm an idiot.

Zeb Stewart, below. Unkown runners, above.
Fact checkers Alert.  You know what to do!  (A little help with identification...)  All photos by Greg Reyner.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Nittany Lions return to the Sunshine State, and Alumni unite at the Carlsbad 5000

I was thrilled to see some great results from this weekend's Florida Relays for the Nittany Lions.  It's actually been four years since the team made the trek down to Gainesville for this meet, and so to put that time elapse in perspective, I'll recall a few quick memories from that meet in 2011...

1) Chris Cipro, Sam Borchers, Tyler Corkedale, Connor Revord and I almost got eaten alive by an alligator.


2) Cipro ("Kipro" as announced by Flotrack's play-by-play broadcasters), Corkedale and I all toed the line for the men's 5K at about 11pm (delayed by five hours after the race was scheduled to start) Actually the cool air of the late evening probably benefited the whole field quite a bit.  That weekend was scorching hot I recall.  Race vid here:  http://www.flotrack.org/coverage/238228-2011-Florida-Relays/video/481893-M-5k-H01-1403-Winning-Time#.VSDB8vnF9u4

3) Cip ran an inspiring anchor leg of the DMR in his first (and maybe his only ever?) collegiate 1600m/mile.  But the MVP was the lead off, Connor Revord, returning to his home state, for his first ever collegiate track race, running a solid 1200 leg, then letting BBG and Borch the Torch handle the middle stages of the race.  Vid here:  http://www.flotrack.org/coverage/238228-2011-Florida-Relays/video/482142-M-dmr-H01#.VSDCcPnF9u4

Lo and behold, four years later, I'm sharpening up for a 5K once again, only this time it will be Mt. SAC.  The alumni singlet has been getting some love over here in San Diego, by the way.  This past weekend at the Carlsbad 5000 I had the pleasure of meeting the 2006 PSU grad, and 3:38 1500m man, Matt Lincoln, who picked me out from the crowd as I was sporting the singlet on my cooldown.  Small world, eh?
Classic Scarp tactics- hanging back early.  The neon green singlets are my track club buddies.  I go rogue w/ the white jersey.


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Friday, April 3, 2015

I'm All In If They Bring Back Franklin Field's Old "Mens Rooms"


 "When I was a kid, I saw an illegal dice game in the bathroom at Franklin Field."
-Matthew Groves, 2013, remembering the Penn Relays Carnival

Turns out the University of Penn wants to apply for the NCAA Championships in 2022.  They never have been able to host the event because of the limitations of their track.  This is despite the fact that the Penn Relays have always been the best run sports event in the nation.  Anyone sitting in on Saturday's early events and seeing a 4 x 400 relay go off ahead of schedule every 5 minuts for 2 hours at a time knows this.

There will need to be a major overhaul of the facility, moving the brick wall back 3 rows, and putting the steeplechase pit on the inside of the oval. (yeah, I know it's not an oval.) Of course that will mean lane one will finally be the inside lane for the first time in many, many years.

I'm just hoping they bring back the original mens rooms, where there was never a line!


Thanks to George McWilliams for the tip on this one.  George also relates he is pictured in the previous 2 photos from Greg Reyner.  And another of Greg's is coming soon!

Updated All-Time Indoor Top 5 Mens Performances: Middle Distance/Distance




 
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