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, November 30, 2016

A Loss In The Golfing Community

Ron Moore sends us some word on the horrible fires throughout the Southeast, this time centered on the loss of a piece of his Penn State world.

I'll let Ron tell it in his own words...

For the 1992 Dogwood Relays, the PSU track team stayed in Gatlinburg. Three of us were not scheduled to run on the first day, so we stayed in Gatlinburg for the day. (If I recall correctly, it was me, Aidan O'Reilly, and Andy Scott???). Anyway, the three of us played mini golf on this course. Sad, very sad. I had told my family about this course, but we hadn't played it since moving to Knoxville.

Beloved miniature golf course destroyed in Gatlinburg's historic fires

When I was married in State College in 1988, my "Bachelor Party" was a mini-golf outing where everyone was invited.  I even won the "tournament of the known world" that evening.  Now that Hillbilly Golf is no more, I invite Ron to a trip to Central PA and another unbelievable mini-golf haven, Village Greens as part of a package to the Alumni Reunion and Big Ten Championships!  Bring the whole family and golf is on me!  There are quite a few other Alums nearby and we could have another "tourney for the known world"!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cheating Is Rampant, But In An 800M!!!

Big news from Flo Track on a case of recurrent  high school cross country cheating.  But this kid takes the cake when he cheats in an 800M indoor race in the Armory!

 Watch him cheat at an 800M race!


Monday, November 28, 2016

I Am Only Speculating In This Post

Track and Field lost another legendary coach last week with the passing of former Tennessee head coach Stan Huntsman.

Here's my speculation.  I am basing this on nothing other than observations of Coach over the past 39 years.  I'm hoping Greg or someone in State College can confirm or deny any of this!

  • Coach Huntsman and Coach Groves did not have a 100% friendly relationship.
  • They each had immense and grudging respect for the other.
  • Coach Groves still smiled a just bit when he found out, noting that he out-lived another contemporary.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Let's Admit It, Coach Groves Was Never A Fashion Icon

From our future Blog Official Physicist, here's a couple of pics from the NCAA XC Championships from 25 years ago.  It introduces a few new names to our Universe and demonstrates that Coach Groves did not devote much time in thoughts of being "dressed for success"!  Penn State finished 10th in the Mens race and the Women were 13th.

Ron Moore and Coach Groves.

Phil Mellott, Andy Scott, Ron Moore, Rob Gough, Aidan O'Reilly, Coach Groves, Mark Wimmer, Austin Morrow.

As always, anyone getting in touch with any of these guys, be sure to invite them to our Reunion and Golf Tourney in May.  This year we will be there in conjunction with the Big Ten Championships!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Turkey Trots And More

First up is the phenomenon known as the York YMCA downtown Turkey Trot.  This year it brought in more than 5,100 runners for a brief tour of the city!  There were acquaintances who joined in and told me it took them more than 5 1/2 minutes to reach the starting line!

I would bet that less than 5,100 people venture into downtown York in all 364 other days of the year added together.  I have patients who live north of York and visit my office south of York and circle the entire city to get there.  A significant number haven't been into the city once since 1969 and the riots.  And as Dave Barry says, "I'm not making that up."

There are more than 5,100 behind that line!

Daughter the Elder and her ex-York Suburban teammates.

Mary Kate Curran dominated the snow, wind and the roads in Peru, NY with a dominating performance in the John P. Adams Memorial Turkey Trot 10K.  And I already know she's on Santa's good list for a great gift in a month or so!

The Fuller Bros. (Inc.) again owned the New Cumberland Turkey Trot.  Not sure if the entire harem was involved but Mary Dell also won the women's division.

The results photo was sent by Jeff Sanden (whose clan also can in New Cumberland) and turned in a world record time for someone just 2 or so weeks following an appendectomy!

And although it was a week earlier, the Dawson twins also turned in splendid performances in the Philadelphia 8K!  Close enough for a turkey! These results were supplied by our Chief Laundry and Morale Officer, who may begin his comeback in 3 years or so!

            Men’s 8K Results
Thomas Awad, 22, Philadelphia, PA, 00:24:00
Louis Serafini, 25, Brighton, MA, 00:24:11
Owen Dawson, 28, Coatesville, PA, 00:24:18
Jonathan Phillips, 23, Boston, MA, 00:24:24
Kyle Dawson,
28, Philadelphia, PA, 00:24:25

And not to be left out, Joe Kovacs gets into the holiday spirit by tossing some bird in this promotional photo from USATF!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Why I Don't Run Turkey Trots And Why I'm Not A Physicist

 Don't Forget to chime in with any Turkey Trot results you come across!

As the family heads off to the downtown York Turkey Trot with 5,000 other folks, I am preparing for my usual 3-mile treadmill run.  Trust me, it's better off this way.  I was once disgusted when I entered the Maryland Marathon in 1977 and realized there were almost 2,000 runners.  I was disgusted by the sheer numbers of "joggers" in the field.  I wouldn't fare well in a crowd of revelers wearing costumes and dragging children and dogs with them. At a cost of $25 per runner, with nothing in return but a modicum of police protection, at least while running...

Artist's conception of me in 10 years.

Besides, I couldn't keep up with the "joggers" anymore anyway. 

And I always figured I wasn't smart enough to be a Physicist.  Now, it turns out I'm not smart enough AND don't have the right ingredients either!

What ingredients make the best physicists?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Is There Hope For The Resurrection Of My Running Career? And Who Has The Longest Running Career In Our Universe?

The answer is no, but a satellite that was abandoned in 1967, eight years before I started running, just woke up and started transmitting again!

Satellite Abandoned In 1967 Mysteriously Comes Back Online

 Who among us has the longest continual running career?  I'm at 92% of days since 1975 with an average of 4.8 miles per day.*

*and dropping daily!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Turkey Trots Are Here

I will try to keep up to date with all the Bird Day shenanigans I come across from the Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golfers running Turkey Trots across the Nation.  My family will join the 5,000 or so crazy people in downtown York.  Minus me, of course.  I am no longer that crazy!

Here's a story someone sent in a while back.  I apologize because I can't remember which of my hundreds of readers it was, but I do appreciate the submission!  It involves generations of the family of the very first Marylander to run a sub-4 Mile.  Cool story, even if he was a Villanova Wildcat...

Hereford Middle School standout athlete follows in grandfather's footsteps


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Disappointing, But....

It didn't turn out quite like they hoped, but there was a silver lining at the end anyway.

Tessa Barrett ended up a DNF, although I did see her listed among the leaders until the 4K mark, right with her 2 teammates, Jillian Hunsberger and Elizabeth Chikotas.  There hasn't been an explanation forthcoming, but we all hope Tessa is OK. With the loss of their #1 runner, PSU finished a disappointing 18th in the team competition.

Elizabeth Chikotas ended up in 15th place and Jillian Hunsberger 36th.  That makes for 2 All-Americans for PSU!

Coach Gondak and Coach Reck surround PSU's latest All-Americans.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Animals On The Cross Country Course, And I'm Not Talking Nittany Lions

Tomorrow brings the end of the Collegiate Cross Country season with the NCAA Championships.  Although the Men aren't there, PSU takes a top-ten team to the course in Terre Haute.  And they will escape the blizzard affecting some of the Midwest.  Could be quite windy, though!

I recently lost my dog, Montgomery, a really beautiful Pomeranian.  He was a heck of an athlete, at least between bouts of emergency hospitalizations costing me thousands of dollars. I'm still paying some of those credit card bills...


This little fella looks like Monty did on the run.  I would bet Monty could take him though.  He did up to 6 miles at a time in his prime. He had Kenyan roots somehow.

And the competition can be quite tough in cross country, with the competing runners, the weather and the difficulty of hill and dale.  But now you must look out for wildlife too...

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Me and My Drone, Airship 800U, Have Made The Big-Time!

Well, sorta, kinda anyway...


My interest in bringing new-fangled aerial coverage of the great sport of cross country led me down a road that finally piqued the interest of a major news source.

When I started filming cross country races from above I met with much scorn from people who don't understand the sport or the use of drones to film it.  I realized then that in such a litigious society, it would be better if I had insurance over and above my home-owner's policy in case anything ever happened.

I did my research on the rules and gradually learned how to fly the drone at a level skilled enough to be NEAR groups of people such as at a cross country race.  And I stumbled across a product that met my needs exactly, and was easy to use right off the starting line!

Verifly is an $1,000,000 insurance policy for drone flyers that can be purchased in hour long increments right from your cell phone and right before any drone flights.  The app is easy to use and self-explanatory to even a novice like me.  Those who will be joining me in the drone enthusiast club because of the dramatic drops in prices for the holidays, would be wise to bookmark this post.  Soon the app will allow longer durations, wider coverage areas and even higher overall coverage amounts. It really is a fine product, and I recommend it highly.

After my first three meets, Verifly contacted me for a survey on my thoughts on their product.  Following this, they contacted me directly for a more thorough understanding of my use and critiques.  When they in turn were contacted by Reuters for a story of the need for drone insurance, my name was submitted as someone to talk to.

That's how I was contacted by Beth Pinsker, an editor for the Money section of Reuters.  Our conversation was candid and comfortable and centered on why I felt a need for the insurance.  The angle of a hobbyist like me using the drone for a purpose like cross country filming intrigued her.
As it turns out, her story was remarkably well-written and researched, and I recommend it highly for anyone interested in the topic. She was thorough and quoted me accurately in the article.  My respect for the field of journalism was enhanced greatly by my experience with her.  And it turns out we share a childhood in the Susquehanna Valley, although she grew up on the opposite shore!

I will continue to think about ways to bridge the gap between my drone ideas and the authorities who have safety in mind, but end up arbitrarily banning drones completely.  I ask you, wouldn't it be great to have drone footage of PSU's greats on the cross country course?  Imagine footage of Curt Stone, Horace Ashenfelter, Greg Fredericks, Alan Scharsu, Charlie Maguire and others, if only drones had been invented in time.  We may be denying such footage of the current crop of athletes at PSU, who could well turn out to be worthy of the previous list of greats!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

NCAA Championships On Saturday

The 8th ranked Penn State Women will be lining up with the best in the NCAA on Saturday in Terre Haute.  Good luck to all of them.

Photo by Robert Sabatino.
I will be watching on FloTrack Pro!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Rest Of The Story

We have already covered the news of St. Joseph Academy's victory in the PIAA A Cross Country Girls Championships.  Coached by Jayson Jackson and Matt Groves, the Lady Wolves also had the overall winner in Sera Mazza.

And it turns out that the team had an extra motivation for performing well.  Coach Jackson's newborn infant Ophelia was hospitalized due to respiratory issues due to her premature birth in the weeks leading up to the State Meet.  I am no stranger to the issue of premature birth.  Daughter the Elder came 9 1/2 weeks early and spent her first 6 weeks in the ICU.  She is currently in her PSU Junior year studying wildlife and fishery science.  Hang in there Jayson!

Jayson Jackson, top left, Matt Groves, bottom left.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Final Results For PSU At The NCAA Regionals

  1 Penn State               36    1    3    4   12   16   60   80    20:32    1:06
  2 Villanova                93    7    8   17   22   39   40   43    21:05    1:04
  3 Penn                     99    6   10   20   28   35   56   69    21:06    1:08
  4 West Virginia           112    2   11   21   37   41   47   82    21:07    1:36
  5 Georgetown              141   15   24   26   30   46   74   83    21:25    0:47
  6 Bucknell                174    9   19   33   42   71   73  111    21:30    1:26
1. Penn State
    1  Tessa Barrett, So          20:00    5:22
    3  Elizabeth Chikotas, Jr     20:17    5:26
    4  Jillian Hunsberger, Jr     20:23    5:28
   12  Kathryn Munks, Fr          20:53    5:36
   16  Greta Lindsley, So         21:06    5:39
   60  Victoria Crawford, So      22:03    5:54
   80  Julie Kocjancic, Sr        22:19    5:59
Total Time = 1:42:39     Total Places = 36

  1 Georgetown               66    2    7   11   16   30   35   46    31:06   0:45
  2 Navy                     74    8   12   14   19   21   23   33    31:10    0:17
  3 Princeton                97    3    9   18   22   45   58   74    31:13    0:55
  4 Penn                    111    6   10   28   29   38   55   68    31:18    0:39
  5 Penn State              190   15   27   32   49   67   79  109    31:37    0:56
  6 Bucknell                193   20   39   42   44   48   50   63    31:36    0:29
5. Penn State
   15  Timothy McGowan, Jr        31:13    5:02
   27  Colin Abert, So            31:24    5:04
   32  John McGowan, So           31:29    5:05
   49  Brandon Tubby, Fr          31:47    5:07
   67  Billy McDevitt, Fr         32:08    5:11
   79  Conrad Lippert, Sr         32:21    5:13
  109  Bobby Hill, Jr             33:15    5:22
Total Time = 2:38:01     Total Places = 190

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Veterans Day Victory

Both Nick K. and Greg Fredericks were able to spend the day with Coach Groves who was honored at his residence for his service in the military.  And they also spent an afternoon on the Penn State Golf Course with him taking in the Mid-Atlantic NCAA Cross Country Championships.

The action was especially great for the PSU Womens team who won the event handily!  Tessa Barrett led the way with the victory.  The team will thus move on to the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana on Saturday November 19th.  The Men battled to a fifth place finish in a competitive field. No drones were spotted at the event.

Mid-Atlantic XC Champions!

Coach Groves served in the same unit as Willie Mays! Photo by Nick K.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Penn State's Individual Cross Country Champion 1926, 1927

Even though Mike Fanelli is in Vietnam right now with his Nittany Lion wife, his garage can still be forthcoming.  Here's some news from days of yore involving our alma mater.

Penn State's Bill Cox won the ICAAAA (IC4A) Cross Country Championship in 1926 and 1927 at Van Cordtlandt Park.  That was the National Championship at the time.  He also won the Indoor and Outdoor one mile track championship in those years.

His star burned bright but didn't last long. And they weren't exactly understanding at the Pittsburgh Press.

My best guess, and it is just a guess, is that he met the future Mrs. Cox. He still is a hero of mine now.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Odds and Ends

  1. Penn State has taken quite a few hits following the scandal involving former Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky.  And they keep coming.  Recently, Mike McQueary prevailed in his suit against the University for (more than) unfair treatment following his role in the whole thing.  More than $7Million was awarded to him, which eventually comes from all of us. During last year's golf tourney, those climbing Mount Nittany were greeted by Mike and his dog at the top.  They found a broken man, a mere shell of his former self.  ...There are so many victims of that hideous and corrupt man, children at the top of the list...
  2. And yet Penn State still moves forward.  The most recent compilation shows the much hated (by finger wavers everywhere) Penn State football team shows the best in the Academic Bowl, graduating 80% of its players in 6 years.  That is far above the national average FOR ALL STUDENTS.  They also show no difference in graduation rates by ethnicity, an unheard of statistic across the nation.
  3. A new eating utensil has hit the market. Panda Chinese Kitchen is introducing the Chork, a combination of chopsticks and a fork.  I will be obtaining several! This is a fabulous addition for Spork owners everywhere. 
  4. The NCAA Regional XC Meet will be on the Golf Courses this Friday.  Because drones are banned, I will not be attending.  Please consider berating those in charge to change their stance and not just demean and cast aspersions about things they do not understand and have not intelligently considered. Their rules are arbitrary and without merit. Good luck in repeating as Mid-Atlantic Champions to the Women!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

If The Election Doesn't Destroy Us, Maybe CERN Will: (With State College XC Accolades)

The election is thankfully over today.  And while I believe this is the dawn of a new era in the USA, those doomsday forecasters prophesying the coming of SMOD (Smoking Meteor of Death) were wrong, so maybe the Large Hadron Collider in the Swiss/French alps may have to come to their rescue.

An act of Physicists?

A bizarre conspiracy theory has it that the latest plasma blasting experiment at the CERN facility is causing the spike in significant earthquakes in Italy.  The original experiments before the power was turned up failed to manufacture the proposed black holes, so earthquakes will have to do for those determined to see the world end.

And hats off for the State College High girls team led by Rebecca Donaghue and Artie Gilkes who placed 4th in the AAA XC Championships.

Special accolades to Jayson Jackson's and Matt Groves' St. Joseph Academy girls team, PIAA A XC Champions!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Fit For Fritz A Success

A walkathon and Dodgeball were the highlights, and over $10,000 was raised for the Hope House in Hershey.  Well done.

Our reporters were there for the dodgeball action, and smuggled this footage out past the Drone Police guarding the complex.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Photo Caption Contest

Submit a caption for this photo via the comment section at the bottom of this blog post OR on our Facebook site.  The winning entry will secure a Platinum Membership for a full year and be entitled to write a post of their own!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Be Fit For Fritz On Sunday!

Coach Fritz Spence has battled AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) not once, but twice. And now he has lent his name to an event to raise money for the Hope Lodge, a sanctuary for families helping to battle the rare blood disorder in Hershey PA.

You can help.  Stop by the Ashenfelter Indoor Complex on Sunday between 10:00AM and 1:00PM.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Leader Of The Free World And Someone Stronger

The entire Olympic Team was invited to the White House last month.  Penn State Track Alumni (Golfers) were there in the form of shot putters Joe Kovacs and Darrell Hill.  Darrell looks especially at home in the comfy confines of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue! We need to get Darrell to golf with us this year and bring his friend with him.  President Obama would be an A golfer for us, I am sure.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

An Early Christmas Present For Cross Country Coaches

There must be hundreds of ex-Nittany Lions out there in the coaching ranks now.  It is very hard keeping up with all their exploits.  I came across this book from the days before color was invented, with some great tips on coaching.  At least I think they are great tips?  Let me know.

Think of it as a gift from the blog with it all you found in your stocking next to an orange on Christmas morning.

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