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, February 29, 2016

It's Leap Day!

Instead of taking the day off, I will present not one, but two topics.

First up, taking time off when you are sick.  I learned the hard way back in 1978 when I went for a "short run" at night with a fever and difficulty breathing.  The run went fine in the darkness, with the snow falling and I kept my streak of nearly 2 years intact!

And then 20 minutes later, I fell apart.  Pneumonia and pleuritis ensued and I was out for a whole week!  The pleuritis actually scars your chest wall and to this day when I get a cold or worse you can hear the wheezing and the rubbing every time I breathe. 

So don't be stupid like I was!

And why not a little levity on this extra day?

Turns out that the research is very valuable and shows that overweight penguins are more clumsy than those that are not overweight!

Last year's meeting of the Group's Idiot Officers.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The 800M Was The Highlight Again! PSU Is 8.....

I had the pleasure of watching the B1G Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships from the Spire Institute in Ohio on BTN2GO, the mobile app for the B1G Ten Network!  I actually negotiated all the pitfalls of the technology to stream the event in fabulous high definition on my big screen TV utilizing Chromecast via my phone.  I can't believe I actually got it all to work.*

There were quite a few highlights for Dear Ole State thrown into the mix on the event's second day.
  • Brannon Kidder (Brandon according to the experts at the B1G Ten Network. Hope they correct that in post production.) won the Mens Mile, leading the entire way.  He was also on the winning Distance Medley Relay on Friday night.
  • Freshman Colin Abert ran a brave race and dug deep in the Mile also and passed two near the finish to gain another team point in eighth. Julie Kocjancic also placed eighth in the Mile for the Women. 
  • The Men scored significant points in the sprints (60M and 200M) for the first time in a while.  Xavier Smith placed 5th in the 60M and Malik Moffett joined him in the 200M where they finished in 3rd and 4th. 
  • Tori Gerlach and Tessa Barrett repeated their 2nd and 3rd place finishes in the 3000M on Friday with the same places on the 5000M Saturday.  The duo accounted for 28 points in just those two events.  Tessa impressed me again by running with the leader for the first half of the race before fading back to the trailing pack, including teammate Tori.  Just when you thought she was fading out of the scoring places, she rallied to place just behind her Senior teammate.  A gutsy performance by someone learning to race with the Big Guns!
  • But again, the highlight for many of us was the 800M.  Not only did all 3 runners in the Finals run PRs, but the Mens leader impressed everyone with a facility, B1G Ten and School Record.  The previous 2 record holders, Ryan Foster and Casimir Loxsom were both impressed via Twitter with Freshman Isaiah Harris's 1:46.24 victory in the event. Ryan's fellow Aussie Jordan Makins and Sarah Jane Underwood also set PRs with 4th place finishes for both.
    Isaiah Harris, on top.

* I actually was on the treadmill for my usual "spirited" 3 miles during the 800M. My heart rate elevated to near max during the finish. Pretty cool to see that reaction recorded for posterity. And I was still only doing my usual 11:00/mile pace at the time.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

It's Never Too Early To Think About The Penn Relays!

Both the Men and Women got off to a good start at the B1G Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships on the first day.

But what struck my eye was Track Historian and Friend of the Group (and possible future star of Hoarding: Buried Alive!) Mike Fanelli's photo post on Facebook yesterday.  It shows PSU's winning 4 x Mile squad at the 1926 Penn Relays.  I have set my Interns off on a quest to learn more, but they seem to be packing for Spring Break already...

1926 4 x Mile victors.
Our Interns have come through!   Now they are asking for a ride to the Airport, in addition to 2 weeks off in Mexico...

1926 4 x Mile: 18 minutes 14 seconds and THREE-FIFTH...Fouracre, Reis, Barclay, Stewart!!!

One diligent Intern did find out that 1926 was the first year that the Shuttle Hurdles were contested at the Penn Relays, at the advice of the visiting teams from Oxford and Cambridge.  The event was won that first year by Moore of Penn State!  And the Interns dug this up too:  1926 480y Shuttle Hurdles...1:05.00...Eggers, Sharp, Lereh, Moore. Now they want lunch money before their flight...

Shuttle Hurdle Champions 1926.

There seems to be no end of the riches that are to be found in Mike Fanelli's garage.  And not a one of us is complaining.  Except maybe his lovely Nittany Lion wife...
Artist's Conception of Track and Field Museum, San Francisco.

Friday, February 26, 2016

B1G Championships Are Here!... And We Got A Couple Fans Ready to Go!

B1G Championships Are Here!... And We Got A Couple Fans Ready to Go!

Today's events run from 10am-6:50pm with the highlights being the Men's & Women's seeded 3K and DMR Finals which start at 5:50!

Saturday hosts most of the finals and starts at 10am and runs till 4:30pm. Mile finals are at 1:20 and 800 finals are at 2:20!

To get a meet schedule click the link below

2016 B1G Meet Schedule

I will be at the event getting interviews and tweeting results for FloTrack!

Tune in on Twitter at: FloTrack Twitter

Stay Blessed,
Billy Cvecko

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Extinct Eating Establishments in State College

It has been more than 30 years since college, and the average lifespan of restaurants is around 4 or 5 years.  So many have come and gone since the good ole days.

Some of my favorites are long gone:

  • Wuv's - Where a Taco Bell now resides on College Avenue.  They had the first ever unpeeled fries and pretty good milkshakes. (Lets not talk about their Wuv Juice!)
  • The Hot Dog Hut (or Weiner World?) Actually Weiner King- Located where Baby's is now.  They once had a 25 cent special which included a hot dog and knit cap (various styles) on a pre-meet Thursday.  We traveled back and forth from the locker room at Rec Hall with quarters to buy as many as possible.  Everybody had a selection of caps that year, which delighted everyone.  Friend of the Group Martha White (Collins) actually worked there, and did not eat hot dogs at all.  Must have been a miserable job!  Maybe she can fill us in? Martha has chimed in that it was indeed a tough job for her!  Which will stimulate another blog post on bad jobs I have had, with a few good ones thrown in...
  • Pedro's - Also located at the current location of Baby's when the Hot Dog Hut closed down (They ran out of hats or something?)  This was also a prominent Thursday meal, sometimes both lunch and dinner.  Thirsty Thursday gave any size drink with a $1 purchase. Taco, chili and chips x2 with a large Mountain Dew was a great meal.  
  • Roy Rogers - Where a Chipotle's (or something like that) is on College Avenue.  A holster of fries at 1:00AM was a staple.
  • The Cattle Car - Where a Jimmy John's (formerly CC Peppers) is now on College Avenue. (This post was stimulated by Darryl Jones' memory of the best sandwich shop of all.)  Introduced me to "The Cosmo", a heated sandwich like in Europe, "cosmopolitan style".  Usually I got the Club with turkey, roast beef and ham with Swiss.
  • The HUB Cafeteria Training Table The Terrace Room - The team at one time could eat here if they were late for the dorms, which happened often when we had our locker room at the Stadium.  They gave free glasses with the Nittany Lion performing various sports during one term.  I'm sure there are a few of you that still have some of them.  The privilege was rescinded for non-scholarship peons and walk-ons once Coach Groves caught heck for our actions.  From then on we hustled to the dorms which were kept open for us and they invariably served us fried perch because the good stuff was gone! (From an anonymous source - Track athletes were allowed $8 less per meal than the football team and $6.50 less than the soccer team.)
  • Arbys - At the corner of Atherton and College. Nothing special but the scene of an everyday dinner by my brother when he lived across the street.
  • Hardees - On Atherton where a dry cleaners is now located.  They had a $2 special of 2 roast beef sandwiches, fries and a drink.  When 2 of them were combined, it was a glorious feast.
  • Hooters - At the current Irish Tavern on College Avenue near University Drive. Formerly Greek Pizza.  This was the scene of an impromptu Awards Dinner in the early years of the Coach Groves Golf Tourney!  We actually had one of the waitresses drive Coach in the Drink Cart at one of the Tournaments also.  I'll hunt for the photo again...
  • The Olde Original Diner - Still there but a mere shell of its former self.  Long lines and late night dinners of Road Kill (omelet with everything) and a pound of fries...
  • The Eutaw House - Just off 322 near Seven Mountains (Potters Mill). My HS Coach treated me to a steak dinner there after the State XC Meet in 1977.  I was still burping that steak early in the Harrisburg Marathon the next day! Edgar Allan Poe actually ate and stayed there one time. Or maybe not. (Check the link.)
  • Train Station Restaurant - The Herlocher keystone restaurant above the Cattle Car.  Introduced the world to Herlochers Dipping Mustard. I don't think I ever ate there. The Herlochers actually closed down all of their restaurants suddenly and moved to Florida.  It was a major shock to the State College community.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sometimes, Doing Things "Wrong" Is Best

Track and field is a sport with many unique characters.  With many different events, it is easy to see why many different personalities emerge.  But when it comes to techniques and training methods, there is rampant conservatism in track and field.

Once a triple jumper or long jumper wins a world title or Olympic competition after getting the crowd to clap before each of his jumps, you will find junior high athletes doing the same thing.  Rarely will someone blaze their own trail on the track or on the field.

Two such athletes are former world record holders Al Cantello and Dick Fosbury.  Al had one of the most unique styles of throwing and was small in size for the event.  Luckily his delivery maximized the Physics involved and propelled him to the top of the field.  I was fortunate to meet him at his XC camp in the 70s. Old School Coaches like him and Coach Groves are a disappearing breed.

Al Cantello, left.

Dick Fosbury couldn't make the required height of 5 feet to make his high school team as a Freshman, so he experimented on his own and ended up revolutionizing the whole event.  When was the last time you saw a Western Roll or Scissors or Eastern Cut-Off or Straddle?

Dick Fosbury, 1968.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

It Turns Out That Brian Boyer Is The Smartest Of Us All

I hope this doesn't make his head swell more!

When Brian Boyer last visited us at The Reunion and Coach Groves Golf Tourney he got his name on The Cup for the second time, securing his place in the Hall of Honor.  He then immediately left the US to live and work in Austria.  It turns out that his current city was just voted the best city in the world to live!  And I thought he was being punished by the Physics crowd out in Los Alamos for missing so much work golfing!

Our Official Physicist at the Hiroshima Shrine "May these weapons never be used again."

Monday, February 22, 2016

State College Is 800HS

Stephen Shisler has turned his experience and knowledge of the 800M to good use as the coach of State College High's middle distance crew.  The Little Lions invaded the Millrose Games and NYC's Armory and won their heat of the 4 x 800M in 7:51.59.  

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Going For It

It was a very nice race by Brannon Kidder at the Armory in NYC yesterday in the Mel Sheppard 800M at the Millrose GamesDuane Solomon seemed to have the race in hand with 200M to go and seemed not to expect a rush, especially from a college student.  Brannon just missed getting position on Duane at the beginning of the last turn and Duane held him off in a fine time of 1:47.52 to 1:47.59.

Brannon (and Duane) looked relaxed the whole way.

Mel Sheppard.


1Duane Solomon

2Brannon Kidder
Penn State

3Alex Amankwah

4Sean Obinwa

5Noah Kauppila
Princeton University

Addendum: Nittany Lion Millrose Additions

 Millrose Record Book:
4 × 800 metres relay 7:21.37 Penn State
Brannon Kidder
Casimir Loxsom
Za'Von Watkins
Ricky West
 United States 16 February 2013 [16]
Millrose Hall of Fame: 

Athlete Country Event Career notes Millrose highlights Inducted
Horace Ashenfelter  United States 2 Miles Olympic gold medalist, Steeplechase (1956) 5-time winner 2001

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Here Are Two Ways To Fight Cancer

With all the bad news lately about how bad high mileage running is for the heart, there had to be a silver lining in there somewhere.

And if you can't get back into the athletic scene, you can always donate to the largest college philanthropic organization in the world...

Paulina and Tyler at The Thon.
Addendum:  My daughter's high school had a "mini-thon" on Friday night and raised over $24,000 in just 12 hours.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A "Smarty-Pants" Joke And 2 Reminders

Ladies version is blue with white lettering.  T-Shirt has same lettering as Mens Singlet.

Reminder #1:  There are only a couple of days left to order your very own Alumni Singlet or Alumni T-Shirt.

Reminder #2: The best place to wear your new Alumni Singlet or T-Shirt is at the Alumni "Run" at the Reunion and Coach Groves Golf Tourney in May.  Be sure to set aside your weekend for all the festivities!


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

It's Still Hot In LA

The Olympic Trials Marathon and the LA Marathon have come and gone, but not all the Nittany Lions have left town.  Since I rarely do anything of interest or fun, I figured I would pass along the exploits of Paul Souza in La La Land.

First, some one dug up this blast from the past featuring two very young Nits.  Notice that Ted Lyon may have given Paul the hair styling tip!

Paul Souza, left. Ted Lyon, right.
And it turns out that Paul was in LA for the Marathon and the Grammys!  With some down time to shoot some hoops with his son.

And apparently Paul is only the second most interesting man in the world!

Addendum:  After several years of waiting, my time has finally come.  Plan 9 has arrived in America.  Plan 9 is a remake of "the worst movie ever made", Ed Wood's 1959 "Plan 9 From Outer Space".  This is the movie that Director John Johnson thinks that Ed would have made if he had the money (and talent) at the time.

Plan 9 has put me on the Big Screen (in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand so far).  And I am now listed in the IMDb  (International Movie Database!!) as a Producer.

The movie is a B-movie (shown in the old days before the feature) with plenty of gore and some bare female chests in the tradition of such fare. It will not be a great film, but a fun diversion for those who remember the original and can bear the tumult of blood and gore and schlock.

Plan 9 can be rented or purchased on all the various film distribution sources, Hulu, Netflix, Google Play Store, Amazon and WalMart etc.  Hulu and Netflix will be coming in 90 days!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

It Was A Hot Time In LA Yesterday

A warm weather marathon can be miserable.  And a first marathon is almost always a miserable experience. My very first came the day after the State HS XC meet and I was totally untrained and tired.  My great 20 mile run in 2:25 pace was spoiled by my 2:56 finish! 

Four Nittany Lions and a Group Friend ran the Olympic Trials Marathon  (and Women HERE) yesterday through the streets of Los Angeles. Four loops with sharp turns and a substantial number of first-timers in the race made this a unique race.

Both Tyler McCandless and Nick Hilton failed to finish in the heat and both were near the front more than half-way through.  Tyler went for broke and led for 6 or 7 miles and reported being chilled despite no longer sweating after 20 miles. At least 61 men dropped out!

Matt Fischer, in what I think was his first marathon, finished first for the Lion contingent in 2:25:34 in 43rd place.

Kyle Dawson, also in his first foray into the event, finished in 2:37:36 in 89th place.

The top Lion was Elizabeth Herndon who finished in 2:45:32 and in 40th place. She has earned another post-race beer!

The television coverage of the event was poor, the streaming options abysmal and the difficulty of getting full results from the USATF nearly impossible.  Still, any 4 from our group with a keg of beer could run things better and with more fairness. And with the continued antagonism (whether warranted or not) by 4th place finisher Kara Goucher to Nike Inc., maybe we haven't heard the last of this race.

"Breakthroughs don't happen without taking a risk. Today I took a risk but a breakthrough didn't happen. I dropped out at mile 20 when I felt I had chills but wasn't sweating anymore. The marathon is humbling, but the incredible support from friends and family is more humbling. Thank you all and I'll be back and striding towards new goals again soon."  -Tyler McCandless.

Friday, February 12, 2016

2016 US Olympic Marathon Trials

Three Four former Nittany Lions will be lacing em up tomorrow at the 2016 US Olympic Marathon Trials

Name              Affiliation     Status     Decalation
Kyle Dawson                      qualified   declared
Matt FischerBoston Athletic Associationqualifieddeclared
Tyler McCandless Boulder Harriers qualified declared
Complete entry list .

The men's and woman's races will be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET. If you are like me and want to watch multiple sports at once you can stream the event online via NBC Sports Live Extra (the Live Extra app required to watch on a mobile device).

Another great way to follow the entire Trials experience is to check in on the Tyler McCandless social media empire. Which should be in full force over the weekend.

Edit: Elizabeth Herndon is a declared entrant in the women's race. Competing for Cleveland Elite Development.

So Does This Mean Time Travel Is Possible?

This news is deemed more important than even the "discovery" of the Higgs Boson by many Physicists.  And the news is that Albert Einstein is even smarter than he thought!

With the discovery of the first ever evidence of gravitational waves recently, Einstein's General Theory of Relativity was further confirmed.  Even Albert himself was hesitant to support the existence of them even though his own Theory predicted them.  Double-crossed by himself!

The evidence and the extreme engineering, computations and effort to find them is truly a remarkable tale. It is summed up well in this Salon article, especially for us Physics-challenged peons.

I hope to hear from our Group's Physics advisers about what this means for the Quantum Theory, String Theory and Dr. Brown's DeLorean.

Update:  I asked Ron Moore how this affects quantum physics, if at all? (General Relativity and Quantum Physics cannot be merged.  The Universal Theory still eludes us. And String Theory laughs at all of us!)

Ron Moore
If you mean "Do we now have a complete quantum field theory of everything?", the answer is no. It's another beautiful confirmation of general relativity - extremely strong gravity, but not on tiny (Planck-length) distance scales where quantum gravity effects become important. Nevertheless, making the first *direct* observation of gravitational waves is Nobel-worthy. One can make a limit on the graviton mass (the quantum particle of gravity, akin to the photon for electromagnetism), and they do it in the paper, but it doesn't improve on limits from other indirect means.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

What Do You Call Someone From Maine?

A Maine-iac, a Maine-ian, A Maine-an...    (I looked it up after I thought about it a bit AND I was right!)

According to our research engine:
People from Maine may be properly called the following term(s):
Down Easter or Downeaster
Pine Tree

But the real answer is, of course, FAST.

Brannon Kidder and Isaiah Harris.

Penn State Freshman Isaiah Harris (Lewiston, Maine) joined Brannon Kidder in the top 5 in the NCAA this year in the 800M this past week on the Ashenfelter oval.  Middle distance running in America is doing fine.

And my quest to collate and analyze 800M training through the decades continues.  The newest class of interns hasn't arrived and they already have a Spring Break looming, so it will take time.  But I think I have the 60's, 70's and 80's covered.  I would love to hear from some 800M guys from the 90's and 00's! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A College Team With 4 Runners Under 3:59 For The Mile!

With 4 runners from Georgetown under 3:59 in the mile last week, that makes a team with 4 runners under the "magic mark" in the same race.  A rather incredible feat.  And I really hope they continue to perform all the way through the indoor and outdoor season.  Will we see an attempt at the Collegiate 4 x Mile at Penn (which race is being run this year?) or maybe even an attempt at the WR??? (Cumulative 15:52.4)

Ahmed Bile leads.

World Record:
4 x Mile+ 15:49.08 Ireland Dublin, Ireland 8/17/85
(Eamonn Coghlan 4:00.2, Marcus O’Sullivan 3:55.3,
Frank O’Mara 3:56.6, Ray Flynn 3:56.98)

Collegiate Record:  

 [America CR 16:15.14  Oregon  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  4/24/10
(Mac Fleet 4:03.3, Michael Maag 4:04.1,
A.J. Acosta 4:02.5, Matthew Centrowitz 4:05.2)]

4 x Mile+ 16:03.24 Oregon Eugene, Oregon 5/09/09
(Matthew Centrowitz 3:59.53, Andrew Wheating 3:59.60,
Shadrack Biwott' 4:05.20, Galen Rupp 3:58.91)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The King, The Prince And The Jester

Coach Groves (King)  and Greg Fredericks (Prince) at the PSU National. Photo by Jim McClelland.

I missed the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup and the Coaches Reception yesterday because I volunteered for a lobotomy-like Podiatry Conference to obtain 30 hours of continuing medical education credits. I still am in a haze and may not even watch the game today.

It seems that everyone else was there for the festivities and had a wonderful time.  Le faucon d'orange Mark Hawkins even jumped into the open 3000M on Friday.  The good news is we are finally having another Alumni Singlet Sale (2 weeks only!!!) Click on the link and fill out the form NOW.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Groves Watch List Has Always Meant More To Me

Brannon Kidder has become the first Penn State athlete to be named to the Bowerman Watch List.  That's the track and field equivalent of the Heisman.  (But without the television show and millions of dollars!)

But when I saw Brannon's 800M victory at the Penn State National,  Coach Groves indicated that Brannon Kidder was at the top of his Watch List. And to paraphrase Coach and his view of Mike Sands vs. a potential American Relay Record,  "I'd rather be at the top of Coach Groves' list than any Bowerman List!"

Congrats to Brannon for making BOTH lists.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Association of Amalgamated Curmudgeons Meeting Has Me Trapped Like A Rat

Actually I am attending an All-encompassing CME Podiatry Conference at the Philadelphia Airport for the next 4 days.  I will try to post when I can and we may even get some updates from those attending the Sykes and Sabock Meet and the Coaches Reception.

Here's my dog Spott already missing me and a surreptitious view of some other Curmudgeons.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Can I Piece Together 800M Training Through The Decades?

I at least have a start.  With Phil Passen's impetus, we have learned a little about Yevgeni Arzhanov's training for the 800M back in the early 70's.  I spoke with Steve Shisler at the Penn State National who will be able to give us an inkling of his training in the early to mid 80's and his coaching of his current high school athletes.  George Brose has a treasure trove of records from the 4 x 880Y record holders from Oklahoma State in the 60's.  And I can contact several recent PSU grads to ascertain more recent training methods. Anyone with any records or remembrances can contact me for additional input.

I figure this will be a long term product project much like the Greatest PSU Women Cross Country Runners of All-Time late last year!  But I plodded on until it was complete.  With my new set of Interns, we should be able to complete this new task easily.

At my first glance, the training throughout the years is really consistent.  Much more so than distance running as a whole.

Monday, February 1, 2016

I Never Bother To Try To Take PSU XC/Track Photos Anymore

When I attend XC of Track events at PSU, I hardly ever take any pictures of the action anymore.  There are so many people much better at it than I am.

One of those is Jim McClelland, father of Mike McClelland.  I briefly saw both of them at the Penn State National.  Mike is getting ready for his last outdoor season.  Remember he will be returning the Golden Putter at this year's Reunion in May!

Here's a sample of Jim's work.  PSU had 4 Women pole vaulters over 13' 1" at the meet this past weekend! This is Kasey Kemp's PR!

Think On Photography: Penn State Nationals 2016 &emdash; Kasey Kemp PR 1
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