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...

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Our Store Is Returning Next Week For A Two Week Run Only!

The second opening of our Group Store will be occurring next week.

And it will only be open for a two-week period, so be ready.  The logo will be the same Intern-Inspired logo we use as our Group Emblem on the right sidebar of the full blog.  Ratings from the dozens of items sold so far were universally awesome!

Items this time will include 2 types of jackets, a polo shirt, a stadium blanket and a pre-shrunk cotton t-shirt like the days of yore.  All will be in Mens sizes again, but the selection of sizes includes everyone in our Universe.

The light-weight jacket is the same Nike jacket we sold last time to widespread acclaim.  The newest jacket is a mid-weight rain jacket from Under-Armour.  The t-shirt will be the least expensive item we will have sold, so everybody better order one!

Under Armour Rain Jacket (sans the left breast emblem)

These sales are solely for the apparel and spread of PSU Track Pride.  Our group and this humble blog receive no monies as a result.
 Help spread the word of this upcoming sale by linking to this post or sharing the Facebook Post, especially if you are more well known in our group than I.  (Which is just about everyone!)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Throwers Back In Europe: And Why Time Flies!

PSU Big Men, including Darrell Hill, Joe Kovacs and Ryan Whiting* all traveled to Paris for the Diamond League Meet last weekend.

Ryan was 4th, Darrell was 6th, and Joe was 8th.
That means the current overall standing are:

  1.  Tom WALSH (NZL)
  2.  Joe KOVACS (USA)
  3.  Kurt ROBERTS (USA)
  4.  Konrad BUKOWIECKI (POL)
  5.  Tomasz MAJEWSKI (POL)
  6.  Tim NEDOW (CAN)
  7.  Michal HARATYK (POL)
  8.  Darrell HILL (USA)
  9.  Reese HOFFA (USA)
10. David STORL (GER)
And every year goes faster and faster, doesn't it?  Well here's 2 explanations why:

Why half of the life you experience is over by age 7

*  Yeah, yeah, so he didn't actually go to PSU...

Monday, August 29, 2016

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

I added my modest monies in order for the film of Hanna Humphreys' father Joe to be made.  It's the third film I have helped produce.  Others include Bannister: Everest On The Track and Plan 9.  I'm even listed in the International Movie Database

Sunday, August 28, 2016

News From All Over

More Visitors for Coach Groves!  Including a man with extensive knowledge of Physics originally from York County, PA!  No, it isn't me.  It's Dick Geiger, a teammate of Greg Fredericks and Ken Brinker on Coach Groves' original team at PSU from Spring Grove, PA. Greg Dick is now residing in Tennessee *. (Error pointed out by a real Physicist.  Smartass!  He knew what I meant!)

*Speaking of Tennessee....   They have just refurbished their track with a whole new look.  Just wish they hadn't ended the Dogwood Relays!

And Nick Scarpello won another big race out there on the Left Coast.  My only criticism is that he is wearing a blue band on his wrist that ISN'T a group wristband!  He bested the field at the Qualcomm Corporate 5K Dash.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Long Ago And A Galaxy Far Away

Our Chief Morale Officer brings us this "new" pic (via Jim Crossin) from the days of yore in Fairmount Park.

That's Tim Backenstose in the lead of the 1979 Penn Relays Marathon. It shows him on Kelly Drive nearing what we used to call a narrowing of the sidewalk near the boat houses, "the stenosis" when I ran there every day in Podiatry School.

I was somewhere behind him in the pack, laboring with my left full-foot blister caused by my new Nike racing shoes. It wouldn't have mattered anyway. Tim was "in the zone" that day.  Coach Groves' policy of training Division I capable walk-ons as if we were all scholarship athletes paid dividends that day.  It is a shame that Title IX has been reinterpreted since to make teams shun people like Tim and I.  It has even morphed recently to the extent that it is now residing only in the political world. A way to punish one innocent group in favor of another, for political benefit.

My inclusion on the team, and others that became my best friends in the world, is the main reason I honor Coach Groves every day and continue to do my best, via this humble blog, to make PSUTF/XC Alumni the most active and largest group of its kind in the world.  I hope you find these efforts worthy, enjoyable (and perplexing at times!).  Help spread the word, and send me anything to include in our efforts.

Here's the surprise and precious gift Tim presented to me at the latest Reunion and Golf Tourney.  It shows me and a few others chasing him in the final lap of that race. It is the only pic I have of me running for PSU.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Our Highest Paid Intern Produces A Gem! (Diamonds Are A Lion's Best Friend)

 Updates are coming when my day job allows are here!  And new interns are coming out of the woodwork to volunteer to compile a Women's version!!!

Our Official Physicist Brian Boyer shames all the rest of you as he simultaneously keeps the world safe from nuclear proliferation, raises a family in a foreign land, continues to run at a high level AND produces a post for our humble blog that blows us all away!  He went through all the results of the Berwick Run for the Diamonds to highlight the best performances of Nittany Lions.  Those listed in the top 5 received diamonds!

He has earned the first ever Pierre de Coubertin Intern Bonus!  The funds will be transferred via an unmarked C-130 transport plane in the dead of night in small bills of Chinese Yuan and Cambodian Riels.

Penn State XC and Track Field and Alumni Berwick Run for the Diamonds All Time List
    Rank  Year/ Place   Name                                     Time:
1.      1980-2        Fredericks, Greg                    43:41
2.      1983-3        Snyder, Robert                       44:41
3.      1981-4        Black, Gary                            44:56
4.      1993-6        Wimmer, Mark                        45:18
5.      1980-8        Mangan, Larry                        45:28
6.      1979-6        Cooper, Jim                            45:42
7.      1993-9        Crescenzi, Michael                 45:46
8.      1985-6        Mackley, Paul                         45:54
9.      1984-11       Hudson, Robert                      46:13 
1          10.   1990-3        O'Reilly, Aidan                        46:16
1          11.   1979-11       Boyer, Brian                           46:31
1          12.   1977-12       Felice, Dave                           46:40
1          13.   1978-12       Clelland, James                      46:41
1          14.  1988 -9        McGarry, Rick                        46:44
            15.  1984-13       Haley, Clark                           46:59
            16.   1984-14      Smith, Harry                           47:07
             17.    1980-20      Kvashay, Bill                          47:12
1          18.   1991-11       Radzwich, Robert                   47:18
1          19.   1949-1        Stone, Curtis                          47:19
1          20.   1949-2        Ashenfelter, Horace                47:22
1          21.   1977-16       Krombel, Ray                         47:27
2          22.   2013-5         Ryan Foster                           47:34
            23.  1983-16       Virbitsky, Tom                         47:47
2          24.   1992-11       Pritchard, Jon                         47:50
2          25.   1988-14       Singletary, Patrick                  47:57
2          26.   1977-19       Backentose, Tim                    47:59
2          27.   1978-22       O'Brien, Kelly                         48:04
            28.  1981-17       Haywood, Mark                      48:09
2          29.   1992-15       Cooper, Ken                           48:14
Yellow means PSU student at the time of the run.

Herm Goffberg ran in Berwick but was not timed but had to be over 49 min…as only the first three had times that year.

FLYING FINNS  (Olympic champions)
1916-1      Kolehmainen, Hannes                49:22
1921-1      Ritola, Ville Willie      49:24

Would not be Flying Lions (Nittany that is)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NOTE This Groves character….1951

1       Ross, Browning         46:40
2       Lillikas, Valdu        47:00
3       Jones, Selwyn          48:58
4       Alymer, Ed             49:00
5       Kelley, Johnny         49:34
6       Dunnett, Keith         49:54
7       DiComandra, John       49:57
8       Mitchell, Don          50:33
9             Groves, Harry (21)               50:49

In 1979 this guy ran….at age 49
102        Groves, Harry                      54:08

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"Old School" Cross Country Uniforms

The season is underway in Happy Valley as evidenced by Owen Dawson taking splits while wearing an old fashioned singlet.  Notice the blue piping in addition to the logo.  These were almost exactly like those I wore in size XS back in the day (1977 to 1981).  The logo is larger than it used to be. The XS Dolfin short shorts (not these extra long basketball-like ones Owen is sporting!) and the old school jock strap* (Yeah, we really wore those for even the 18 milers in the Mountains!) are the only things missing!!!  Although for practice, the blues cotton shorts and grey cotton t-shirts were the uniform of the day. Every day. Rinse and repeat. At least we were told they were washed daily...


A Tale Of Two Falls

I'm not one for syrupy stories, but this time I'm all in.

Compare the two examples of falls during Championship Womens distance races from 32 years apart! Pay attention to the reactions of the two runners involved in each.

  • Zola Budd vs. Mary Decker - 1984

  • Nikki Hamblin vs. Abbey D’Agostino - 2016

Some of us old-timers remember the scorn, animosity and horrible vitriol thrown Zola Budd's way in the wake of Mary Decker's crying and whining following the ordeal.  It turned out that it was mostly a psychological thing on Mary's part and she wasn't hurt as much as she feigned.  And following a years-long delay, they finally did reconcile.  Zola is still running at a remarkable level while coaching in North Carolina.

Meanwhile, Abbey immediately was thinking of the other athlete.  The milliseconds it takes to decide what to do in an unexpected situation reveals much about the person involved.  Maybe ALL about the person involved.  Gives me hope for the generation I have routinely trashed! (in a hopeful curmudgeonly way...)

Nikki and Abbey have thus received the Pierre de Coubertin Award for sportsmanship, making grouches like me smile when no one else is watching.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Tribute And A Dedication

There has been so much happening lately in our Universe.  The beginning of Cross Country Season, the Olympics and a passing of note are just some of them.

First up, we lost an honorary member of our group Friday with the passing of Paavo Wildthorn Donaghue-Gilkes.  The Vizsla was the long-time family member of Artie Gilkes and Rebecca Donaghue. Paavo has run more miles than many in our group and was better looking than almost all of us.  RIP Paavo.

Next, and I'm not making this up.  In his first interview after finishing, much credit was given to Happy Gilmore for the Bronze Medal accomplishment by Galen Rupp.  Perhaps , despite 3 (?) kids, he hasn't really grown up yet.  We can only hope!

And future  Official Physicist Ron Moore traveled back to western Pennsylvania for his high school (Hempfield) cross country Alumni Run.  His ninth place finish despite a sore hamstring probably schooled a few of the youngsters in the crowd.

And speaking of high school Alumni Runs, here is the Big Dog Run for Daughter the Younger's York Suburban XC team.  Quite a field turned out!


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Is This All That Kept Joe From Gold?

I don't think so, but there are some with considerable knowledge who say so.

Did Joe Kovac's foot touch the top of the board?  Joe didn't think so at the time and was quite vociferous about it to the judge seated next to the circle.  The mark wasn't measured when the red flag went up and the appeal was denied.  The throw was certainly past the 22 meter mark, but was it enough to pass Ryan Clouser's 73' 10.75" toss?  When I saw it, I didn't think so, but others with more knowledge say it might have been.

Let's hope our resident Throws Expert Official and Director of Security Mark Heckel will chime in and put some knowledge on us!

Here's Mark Heckel's Verdict:
 From this single photo, it's hard to determine of this a foul or not. My personal preference is to see it as a no-call, since there is nothing conclusive that this is a foul. From this angle, and remember there was probably another official on the other side, there is nothing to indicate that he was on top of the board. My general rule is that if the sole of the shoe does not crease or bend, then there was not weight on the top of the board, hence there is no contact. We are always sure to tell each other "if you think you saw something, then you saw nothing." I find it difficult for someone to be able to say, CONCLUSIVELY, that this was a foul when judged at full speed. Sadly, the same can be said for the appeal - there just wan't enough evidence to overturn the call, so it stands as a foul. Very questionable call by the officials, and should have been a no-call. BTW, a similar thing happened to Kibwe Johnson in the hammer. Some of the officiating was a bit suspect.
Thanks Mark!

Friday, August 19, 2016


Or should I say....


Joe Kovacs rallied for a throw of 71' 5.5" to place second in the Olympic Shot Put Finals.  To win the gold, he would have had to throw further than any athlete ever has in the Olympics, as Ryan Crouser set the Olympic record with a heave of 73' 10.75"!
Congrats Joe!
Joe Kovacs, Darrell Hill.

Ryan Crouser.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Olympic Update And Opinion On A New Addition To The Next Games

Darrell Hill failed to make it out of the Prelims of the Shot Put in Rio just a while ago.  While this must be extremely disappointing to him, I do think that the Shot Put has a very deep field this year.  My hat is off to him for the tremendous season he has had.  He possibly has a few more meets in Europe to come???

Joe Kovacs was one of only 6 people to auto-qualify for the Finals tonight.  Some big names round out the other 6 spots to make it to the requisite 12 finalists.  Go Joe!


Darrell Hill USA    19.56        18.99       19.56    19.50

Joe Kovacs USA    20.73 Q      19.59       20.73    -

And my choice for a new Olympic Sport for the next Games in Tokyo is Buck Buck. Possibly we can eliminate Rhythmic Gymnastics?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

It Feels Good Having An Ashenfelter Back On The Team!

The Penn State Nittany Lions have another Ashenfelter on the team!  Freshman  William Ashenfelter is the grandson of Olympic Gold-Medalist Horace Ashenfelter III.  He is a middle distance specialist from Needham, Massachusetts.

Namesake Bill Ashenfelter, grandfather Horace Ashenfelter and Curt Stone.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Physics Helped Jeff Henderson Win Gold!

But of course it did!  As Sheldon Cooper has taught us, "All is Physics."  But in Henderson's case, he actually trained with the aid of some Physics from USC's Science professors.  I think they actually stole Dr. Cooper's white board.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Caddyshack: 36 Years Old Today!

Ten Things you didn't know about Caddyshack!

  1. Bill Murray improvised the entire "Cinderella Story" monologue with only one sentence of direction.
  2. The gopher noises in the movie were the same noises made by "Flipper" the porpoise.
  3. Bill Murray's brother wrote the screenplay.
  4. Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield and Chevy Chase were originally signed to do cameos.
  5. Tiger Woods once did a commercial as Carl Spackler.
  6. Harold Ramis wanted the musical score to be entirely Pink Floyd music.
  7. The second story of the Bushwood Clubhouse was a fake facade.
  8. The movie was supposedly in Nebraska, although it was filmed in Florida.
  9. Cindy Morgan at first refused to appear topless in the film.
  10. Chevy Chase and Bill Murray had to have the scene of them meeting in the equipment shed added at the end of filming, or they would not have ever appeared in the film together.
  11. Bonus!  Sarah Holcolmb only appeared in 4 movies before retiring.  Two were the best 2 films ever made.*
  12. Bonus 2!  The initial bad reviews led to the suicide of main writer, Doug Kenney. RIP

* Opinions may vary. But not by much...
Web Statistics