Sign Up Now!

Sign up for the various activities of the 16th Annual Penn State Track and Field (and XC) Alumni activities now!

1. Whole package $175
2. Recent graduate rate (2011-2016) $125
3. Friday night reception $35
4. Saturday Awards Dinner $55
5. Those under 18 $10 for (Friday and Saturday)
6. Golf only $100 ($150 for golf and dinner Saturday)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Come Join Olympians As Well As Walk-Ons!

Every single one of us at Penn State Track and Field Alumni (Golf) are equal in status.  This is the one example where socialism has been a resounding success.  It doesn't matter if you were on the team for just one term or semester, never lettered, or came in last in every one of the races, jumps or throws you participated in.  You are still a bonafide Platinum Member of our Group, with all the bells and whistles that come with it.  Heck, even those of you who were never on the team but have a love for PSU T&F/XC are equal to every other one of us.

So now it is time to come join us for the biggest Reunion and Golf Tourney yet!  And it is even held during the Outdoor Big Ten Championships so you can show your support to the past and present team during the same weekend.

In case you have not been following the Blog or the Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golf Facebook site, here’s  the agenda for the Weekend:
FRIDAY’S (MAY 12th) EVENTS:                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Big Ten Meet begins – Tailgate on the hill of the backstretch (need volunteers to park some cars up there on Thursday Night or early Friday to secure the sight!) – Rain pretty moves that to another setting
Meet and greet at the Ramada (1450 South Atherton Street) from 7:00pm – 11:00pm (814) 238-3001
Picking of the foursomes, 50-50, Putting contest (prepping for the next day), Texas Hold ‘em Tourney (will start at 9:00 and limited to the first 20 players registering - $25 entry, 50/50 pot between winner and fund)
Will be a bar crawl afterwards – destinations TBD… 

The Alumni run will start at the LION by Rec hall at 9:oo am (because of the Big Ten track meet) for anyone interested in a short jog or a loop around campus. 

The Golf outing will be held at the Mountain View Country Club (old Elks Club) again this year with the putting contest taking place at 11:15 followed shortly thereafter with the golf outing beginning at 12pm.  Those not golfing, we usually have a group gathering to hike Mt. Nittany or take a campus tour.  Meeting spot and tour guide to be announced, usually meet at high noon in the hotel lobby.

Social gathering with current team members at the Pegula Club Level 7:00-8:00 we need to be out around 7:50 so they can have their team dinner.
6:30 – 11pm Dinner and awards ceremony for golf outing – dinner at 8:00 for those returning from Pegula 
We have a block of rooms reserved (under the Harry Groves Golf outing or the Penn State Track and Field alumni) at the Ramada for $75 / night (1450 South Atherton Street (814) 238-3001)  which will only be held until May 5th. 

The fees this year will be - $175 for those attending the outing and the receptions – the “loan strapped graduate rate” (anyone graduating from 2011-16) will be $125.  If you choose to attend the Friday night function alone, the fee will be $35 – Saturday alone, $55.  Costs for those with children (under 18) attending the reception(s) - $10 on Friday night and $20 on Saturday.  Family members / Significant others / Friends with benefits (!), joining you on the course will be charged $100 (includes golf and receptions).  If you’re planning only to golf, the fee will be $100.  If you’re planning to golf and only attend Saturday’s function, your fee will be $150.  Any scenario I’ve missed, pay whatever (as I’m sure I’ve probably missed 13 other scenarios)…

This event is open to men, women, and friends of PSU alumni - the more the merrier!  This is all about the laughs, not scores, and you have three other hackers to laugh at so don’t worry about how bad your game may be!

The membership committee of Dave Baskwill, Harry Smith, Brian Fuller, Artie Gilkes and Ken Brinker have all graciously agreed to accept your ideas / complaints for the upcoming event – so feel free to yell at them for whatever reason you’d like!    Contributions for the Harry Groves Endowment fund, the track and cross country program, or the golf outing are gladly accepted!
Please send checks or money orders to:
            Harry Smith
            508 Washington Avenue
            Elyria, OH  44035

If you should have any other questions or comments, please let me know – Hope to see you this year!     
Clark Haley ‘85

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It's Not A Birthday Without A Cake

And thanks to our Golden Putter Attendant, Coach Groves got his 87th cake yesterday.  Greg Fredericks and Gary Gittings celebrated the day with Coach Groves at his residence in State College.

Coach Groves with Gary Gittings.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Happy Birthday Coach Groves!

And that means Penn Relays this week too!

Happy 87th Coach Groves.

PSU Is 800U, Again

When Charles Jock landed in the Bahamas and found out he was the alternate on the IAAFWorld Relay 4 x 800M Relay squad, he immediately left, leaving the quartet with 2 Penn State Track Alumni Golfers to conquer the world!  And they did, with the brash newcomer actually running the best split of the 4!

Congrats to the 50% of the 4 x 800M Relay squad with roots in Happy Valley. (Still more math for the blog with it all!)

All four of the team members thrilled the crowd by singing the National Anthem on the podium.

The 2 Nittany Lions on the squad with their college coach in earlier times.

Clayton Murphy, Brannon Kidder, Eric Sowinski and Casimir Loxsom.

Flo Track says the IAAF splits are wrong and supplied these:

Unofficial US splits
Kidder 1:48.2
Sowinski 1:48.1
Loxsom 1:48.5
Murphy 1:48.3

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Can PSU Be 100U Too!

The quartet of Malik Moffett, Xavier Smith, Dan Chisena and Karson Kowalchuk ran a school record of 39.49 and eclipsed the 42 year old record of Jack Davis, Steve Hackman, Mike Shine and Mike Sands at the Virginia Challenge on Friday!

Xavier Smith backed that up with a 10.38 in the individual 100M with Malik Moffett finishing right behind in 10.42! Both are PRs and the #2 and #3 times in school history.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

PSU Is 800U: Double School Record Day

Even Flo Track refers to "800U" or sometimes "Middle Distance U" which shortchanges the many other events which Nittany Lions are excelling in.  Like Shot Put, Javelin, and now Sprinting!  But yesterday's 800M races in Virginia again brings another post about the "half mile".

Danae Rivers demolished the school record in the women’s 800-meters with her time of 2:02.53, erasing the old mark of 2:03.09 set by Rebekka Simko back in 2012, finishing second in the event trailing only Virginia Tech’s Hanna Green (2:02.17). Rivers now owns both the indoor and outdoor 800-meter records in only her freshman campaign and has now been involved in five school records combined.

Isaiah Harris asserted himself as the best half-miler in school history as the sophomore All-American crossed the line in 1:45.12 to win the race and set the school record. The three-time reigning Big Ten Champion in the event spilt 52.57 on the opening lap and followed it up with an almost even 52.56 to close over the final 400-meters outlasting Florida’s Andres Arroyo who ran 1:45.75 for second. Harris erased the old school record of 1:45.28 set by Casimir Loxsom in 2011.
Harris was followed by teammate Domenic Perretta who ran a personal best of 1:47.29 that is the No. 10 time in program history.

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Life Well Lived

The sad, sad news that Tom Fleming passed away on Wednesday hit me hard.  Honestly, he communicated with me on Facebook just the day before, even liking a post I had put up.  We never met, but he was one of those heroes from my beginnings in T&F I wish I had. The remembrances all over the internet are some of the most touching I have come across.  He led a life all of us could emulate.

He was a constant figure in the running world, from leading marathons at Boston to coaching his teams in his beloved Northern Jersey, and even selling shoes at his very own running store.  He was a fixture at our very own Horace Ashenfelter's Thanksgiving Run, the Ashenfelter 8K.  He and Horace were good friends, which more than qualifies Tom to be a member of our group.

I imagine he is already coaching a group of angels in Heaven, where I am assured by a former Priest that there cannot possibly be any hills!  And the stories he is telling them when the workout is done are said to be some of the best there are.  RIP TOM.

Tom Fleming, left, at the finish of the Ashenfelter 8K.

Tom and Horace!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Fine Time or 2 in Beantown!

Sonjah Hinish ran the Boston Marathon in a fine time of  3:19:16Congrats. And if she ran in those clogs, I'm doubly impressed!!!

 And Doreen Startare McCoubrie again defies time to finish second in her age group with a great time of 3:13:56!

And via Doreen, Marta Klebe also turned in a great time of 3:26.52!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

Patriot's Day!

And that means Boston Marathon!  And an extra day to procrastinate on your taxes!

I know of only 1 PSU Track Alum running today, but I am sure there are more.  Let me know...

Good Luck Michael Gross!
Addendum: Doreen Statare McCoubrie is also on the course!

And another reminder to finally commit to the Reunion and Coach Groves Golf Tourney!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Steeplechase Tradition Is Back

Tori Gerlach ran her first 3000M Steeplechase in 2 years and eclipsed Bridget Franek's facility record at the Bucknell Track with the #2 time in the world so far this year!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

PSU is 800U: World Relays Edition

40% (2 of 5) of the World Relays 4 x 800M squad are Penn State Track Alumni (Golfers)!  And you thought math was prohibited on the blog with it all.

Casimir Loxsom and Brannon Kidder were named to the IAAF World Relays team by the USATF.  Congrats, and I am looking forward to some good mid-season times.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Just A Few Answers And Team Pics (From Coach Groves!) For Ricky Garcia

The word went out yesterday for some remembrances for Ricky Garcia's time at PSU.  And some have already come in!  Thanks, keep them coming....

  • Ricky Garcia was an awesome competitor and a great teammate. Always smiling and gregarious, even when he was barking at a certain coach!!! -Larry Mangan.
  • Recalling 1982 TAC US 15km road championship...hosted in State College...Jeff Adkins wins..I have race of my life running with Ricky Garcia for first 8 miles.. then he drops me and puts at least 30 seconds on me in last mile to finish in top 5 in the United States championship. But he's a miler/ steeplechaser... what range!!  -Harry Smith.
  • My most vivid memory of Ricky is when he and Ted (Lyon), both former teammates at TC Williams HS and having more than a little history with each other, were having another one of their epic spats on a run. We were near the Creamery on a run across campus and Ted kept egging on Ricky and finally said something that really pissed off Ricky. I don't know what it was. Ricky tackled Ted and somehow a rock materialized in Ricky's hand although I didn't see where the rock came from. Ricky yelled that he was going to bash Ted's head in and he might have done exactly that if we hadn't pulled Ricky off him. We kept them away from each other til they calmed down. To this day, I can't be certain Ted and Ricky weren't just trolling us all, but if it was an act, it was a damn good one by both of them. Although this episode was full of violence and the threat of worse violence, it was not hard at all for a bunch of college boys to find the whole thing pretty hilarious too. Definitely memorable and I made a mental note to avoid making Ricky mad ! I remain hopeful that Ricky will regain his memories. Those were some of the best times of our lives, and I pray that some of these stories may help Ricky in some way. Hang in there Ricky and stay upbeat !!  -Mark Haywood.
  • Don't make Ricky mad. Ricky is one of my best friends. He actually wasn't the only person I pissed off. Great athlete. He probably could have had a college scholarship in a few sports. Intense competitor and we all know the really good ones have a bit of a mean side. I know he's suffering and Read his FB posts everyday. He is dealing with pain that would put most men on the floor - but remember he ran the steeplechase! We all love you Ricky!!  -Ted Lyon.
And Greg Fredericks has chimed in with links to team photos from all the Coach Groves' years! Check out 1980,1981 and 1982 XC for Ricky and all of his teammates. CoorespondingTrack years.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Let's Crowd Source Some Memories!

I ran quite a few miles with Ricky Garcia back in the day.  And although I remember nearly all of them quite fondly, Ricky doesn't remember any of them.  He doesn't remember anything from his days running at PSU!

Following his exuberant 4 years running for Coach Groves, Ricky suffered at least two strokes, the last of which left him with no memories of his time with us.

In speaking with him recently with the help of the internets, I promised I would do what I can to bring back some of those memories by appealing to all of you.  We would love to get some feedback of anecdotes, stories, pictures, videos or memorabilia from those who knew him back then to fill in the gaps in his memory.  Please contribute. 

Ricky relates that hearing of some of his exploits seems alien to the person he has become since his mishaps.  He is amused when told how he battled Coach Groves every step of the way.  Coach Groves chuckled the last time I brought up Ricky with him!  Ricky really has lived 2 separate lives.  Faith, family and friends predominate his life now, which is a pretty good way to end up no matter how you got there! Let's help him bridge the two lives. 

Ricky in High School (with Ted Lyon)

Tom Rapp, John Zishka, Ricky Garcia (in back of Zishka), Dwight Stephens, Jeff Adkins.

Ricky leading steeple at PSU ahead of past American Record Holder.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Time is running out!

Sign Up Now!

Sign up for the various activities of the 16th Annual Penn State Track and Field (and XC) Alumni activities now!

1. Whole package $175
2. Recent graduate rate (2011-2016) $125
3. Friday night reception $35
4. Saturday Awards Dinner $55
5. Those under 18 $10 for (Friday and Saturday)
6. Golf only $100 ($150 for golf and dinner Saturday)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Another Milestone

We are rapidly approaching the nine year anniversary of the blog's founding on May 11th.  From the humble beginnings at Clark Haley's golf tourney for friends to honor Coach Groves in 2002, we have become the envy of many Track Programs around the country.  Starting a week before the 2008 Tourney, I triggered my desire to write a blog.  I always figured I would be writing things that absolutely no one would ever want to read.  So it finally hit me that I could combine my interest in writing things down with promoting Clark's vision and making it blossom.  Things have worked out quite well since then.

We have passed the 600,000 page view mark, meaning we have averaged 185 page views a day since our humble beginnings.  Please keep the site bookmarked and visit often.  And send us anything you have; memories, anecdotes, stories, pics videos, old t-shirts...    I use almost everything people send in and all of it enhances the bonds that bind all of us to PSU Track and Field. While many things contribute to the success the Penn State Track and Field Program is experiencing, our little efforts are certainly adding to that achievement.

603,000 Page Views
8 years, 10 months, 29 days
2,839 Posts 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Confirmed! I'm A Friggin Genius

"Anthropomorphising – giving humanlike tendencies to inanimate objects and animals – is a natural byproduct of the tendency that makes humans uniquely smart on this planet.”

 Nicholas Epley, behavioral science professor at the University of Chicago.

Talking to your dog is a sign of Intelligence.  Of you, not the dog.

Anyone owning a dog at some point suspects that this is true.  And since every time I said no to another kid I got another dog, I have learned that it is certainly true so many times over. 

And as it turns out, Spott is better at picking March Madness results far better than I.

"It is a reflection of our brain’s greatest ability rather than a sign of our stupidity."

Spott Moskowitz is probably worth 20 IQ points!
Anyone else out there have a dog to brag about?  Send me pics and stories.

Friday, April 7, 2017

No Wind For My Sails

It has been a tough week for me.  After last week's horrible news, I had to carry on through a very horrible week at my work too.  And my wife's week was much worse than mine.  So, if the blog has suffered a little bit, my apologies many times over.  Thanks to our newest officer for posting the interesting tale of the Barkley Marathons.

Stephen Black's last acting gig was as George Washington in the reenactment of Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death" speech.  This is currently being performed at St. John's Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia, the original setting for the real thing.  Steve's memorial service will be happening at the same church sometime in May.  I will post this again when details are firmed up.

Steve even had the opportunity to toast the newest beer from the Stone Brewing Company portraying George Washington with Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry in tow.  Maybe the first time in history that the three of them carpooled!

Please stop by the obituary and add a remembrance of Steve.  These things help the grieving family and friends more than you know.  I will also post links to Steve's other acting gigs in the future.

Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Patrick Henry  toast the new ale.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Above And Beyond The Call To Duty

Despite having never met anywhere but online, I count Ron Moore as a true friend. He has helped me numerous times on the blog.  That, and the fact that he is both a better runner and much smarter than I, means I have much respect for him.

Thus, with this guest blog post, I hereby make Ron Moore the occupier of the Endowed Erwin Shroedinger Chair for Advanced Physics.  That simultaneously makes him both Co-Official Physicist (with Brian Boyer, who is actually a Nuclear Engineer anyway!) and NOT Co-Official Physicist of our group.  Congratulations, (and sorry) for these simultaneous announcements!

The 2017 Barkley Marathons - by Ron Moore

If you don't know about the Barkley Marathons, I will only describe it briefly here.  You can watch the documentary "The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young" on Netflix and various other platforms.  It's actually rather entertaining to runners and non-runners alike.  There is also a book written by a Barkley veteran Ed Furtaw called "Tales From Out There" that gives a nice history of the event.  Let's just say it's one of the world's toughest ultra marathons that takes place in and around Frozen Head State Park in Eastern Tennessee (and literally a one hour drive from my house).

Like last year, I was there for this year's race to crew for a friend in the race.  (I have been on the wait list the past 2 years, but too deep to make it into the field.)  As usual, 40 people toed the line.  (That's the limit.  This year over 1300 people applied via the not-so-secret-as-it-used-to-be process.)  The race begins sometime within a 12-hour window from midnight to noon, but the competitors don't know when until the RD, a.k.a. Lazarus Lake, blows a conch shell 1 hour before the start to wake up / startle the campground. (This year the start was 1:42 am.)  The course is not known to the competitors until the evening before the start when they transfer the course and checkpoint locations from a master map onto a map of their own.  The 12-13 checkpoints are (hidden) books from which the morons rip out the pages corresponding to their bib number.  They must present the pages to the RD at the end of each loop.  Oh, I forgot to mention - the course is not marked in any way.  Your map, your compass, and your ability to use them are your only guidance around a loop. (No GPS, no altimeters.)  How long is each loop?  20.00 miles according to the RD and it's been that way for years despite the occasional course changes.  (In reality, they're probably 25 miles or so.)  You need to run 5 loops to finish the race.  Did I mention the cutoff times?  A successful race is 5 loops completed within 60 hours.  Loop 1 and Loop 2 must each be completed within 13:20 in order to start the next loop.  If you have any desire to start Loop 4, you must finish Loop 3 within 36 hours.  If you have any desire to start Loop 5, you must finish Loop 4 within 48 hours.  A "Fun Run" is completing 3 loops within 40 hours. (Details on the start/finish time are being neglected here.)  Note that you get a new bib number for each loop, of course, so that you tear out a new page.  Before this year's race, only 14 people had ever finished the race including one 2-time finisher and one 3-time finisher.

The course itself is a true ball-buster - mostly off-trail, with very difficult climbs and descents (steep, filled with briars) usually 1300-1600 feet elevation change in a mile or so.  It doesn't sound bad at first to those, say, living in the Rockies, but this race is Special.  There are a couple of creek/water crossings that can be difficult depending upon the weather.  The weather is probably the biggest variable - the temperature can be anywhere between 10 and 80 degrees this time of year in TN.  Rain, snow, fog, hail - a real mixed bag.  Plus the mountains around the park can create their own weather.  Aid stations?  Jugs of water are stashed at two locations around the course.  What happens if the water freezes in the cold?  Too bad.  Hopefully you can make it to creek that is flowing.

To quickly summarize this year's race which took place this past weekend: of the 40 starters, 24 started Loop 2, and 7 started Loop 3.  Only 2 studs completed Loop 3 in time to pursue the full race; both completed Loop 4 in time.  Those 2 guys (Gary Robbins from Canada, and John Kelly who grew up in nearby Oak Ridge) had started Loop 5 last year only to crumble and fail to finish.  Gary and John ran together for the first 4 loops (a successful tactic that has helped folks in the past).  Note that the racers do not run the loops in the same direction each loop; this year they had to alternate directions each loop.  In addition, for Loop 5, the first person to head out gets to pick his/her direction; the next person must go in the opposite direction, and then any others alternate directions.  (There have been more than two 5th Loop runners only twice.)  That rule forces the former teammates to navigate on their own - a big challenge.

The weather was an issue this year.  The ridges were shrouded in dense clouds Saturday night, and caused problems for the runners to navigate that first loop.  As the RD remarked, "If you have your headlamp on, you see a white wall.  If you turn off your headlamp, you see a black wall."  The rest of Saturday and Sunday were quite pleasant.  After John and Gary started Loop 5 around 20 past midnight on Monday morning and not much time to spare (after each napping for ~30 minutes), showers and thunderstorms rolled through between 7 am and noon or so, drenching the course and raising the water levels.  (I honestly didn't think they had a chance.)

With most of his family and plenty of other race folks waiting anxiously at the finish, John Kelly became the 15th finisher of the Barkley Marathons in 59 hours, 30 minutes, and 53 seconds.  After some celebration, the crowd turned around to anticipate Gary's arrival from the other direction (since they had to go opposite ways for Loop 5).  You could feel the nervousness as time ticked down.  With less than 1 minute to go, an unexpected commotion from behind made everyone turn around - Gary was charging hard from the other direction!  What?  Normally, when someone returns from the "wrong" direction, it means they quit along the way and shuffled back to camp, but Gary's effort was inconsistent with quitting.  After touching the famed yellow gate that is the start/finish line, he collapsed and start whimpering about something.  The crowd was stunned and confused.  His wife rushed over to check on him and help decipher.  Eventually, we figured out he said "I came down the mountain the wrong way."  In the meantime, Laz (the RD) said Gary touched the gate 6 seconds after the 60 hour cutoff.  Unreal.  But, if he had arrived within the cutoff, he would have been disqualified anyway since he did not stay on the prescribed course (and he knew it).  But wait, it actually gets worse.  (It brings tears to my eyes to reflect on it and write it.)  Gary had all of his book pages for the last loop.  The last book was near the top of a mountain.  (I know because I helped set that book.  There's another story involved with that - for a later time.)  After picking out his page and climbing the remainder of that (off-trail) ridge, he came to the marked trail that would take him 2 miles back down the mountain to finish at the yellow gate.  However, it was foggy, and in his stupor of physical and mental exhaustion, he turned RIGHT instead of LEFT.  He also didn't realize that he did not pass the landmark "Pillars of Doom" that would have been only ~200 meters down the trail on the LEFT.  He ended up running an extra 2 miles or so by turning RIGHT.  How completely devastating for Gary and the crowd that was gathered.  He became the first Barkley runner to have gathered all his pages for a full 5 loops, but was not a finisher of the race.  Hearing the bugler play Taps for him (as they do for all quitters/non-finishers) was especially cruel.
Winner and only finisher, John Kelly.

Gary Robbins after his near finish.

I hope Gary finds the courage to return and suffer through the pain just to make up for that wrong turn so close to completing such a rare feat.

Despite knowing what I know about the Barkley, I still want the opportunity to find out what I don't know and to see how far I can go physically and mentally.

"You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

Ron Moore

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Spott Moskowitz Nearly Topped Us All

My Jack Russell Terrier Spott Moskowitz (named for an Odd Couple Season 3/Episode 4 character) actually predicted that North Carolina would win it all this year.  Like me, Spott is a conservative picker, always giving deference to history and experience above emotion.  Unlike me, Spott will be receiving a welcome treat this evening for his efforts. Maybe even bacon...

Artist's Conception.

He nearly out picked our entire group.  Only Colin Heitzmann (Distance) bettered him by placing 5th.  Spott comes in at 10th!  Jason Cole (Distance) was 18th and Tom Bisko (Sprints) 19th.

Division Winners – see “Div 2017” for final details.
·        Celebrity – Sports Illustrated (1st)
·        Dog – Spott Moskowitz (10th)
·        Hoops – Karen Morse (75th)
·        Kid – 8th grade and younger – Maxim Kletter (2nd)
·        Kid – High School – Lindsey Barbella (15th)
·        Open – Buddy Ancharski (13th)
·        Penn State Open – John Barbella (20th)
·        Penn State Spouse/Sig Other – Lianne Kurina-Pritchard (7th)
·        PSU T&F – Distance – Colin Heitzmann (5th)
·        PSU T&F – Field/Multis – Marshall Cannon (43rd)
·        PSU T&F – Mid-Dist – Aidan O’Reilly (24th)
·        PSU T&F – Sprints – Tom Bisko (17th)
·        Non-PSU T&F – Michelle Lilienthal (3rd)

Monday, April 3, 2017

It's Mano a Mano: Except They Are Dogs

It comes down to the Finals of the NCAA Basketball Tourney as to who will be the Winner of the newest Dog division in Ken Cooper's Bracket Challenge.  Ken is booked for the Reunion and Big Tens this year!

If Gonzaga wins, Kierrun O'Brien will take the title from Spott Moskowitz.  But if favorite North Carolina would win, Spott would move further up into the top 10 overall.  Not bad for a couple of canines!

Members in our group among the top 20 after the Semi-Final Round:

  • Ron Caldwell in 7th
  • Colin Heitzmann in 8th
  • Tyler McCandless in 16th  (also finished 17th in the weekend's Cherry Blossom 10-Miler! 48:32)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Maybe I'm Not Really A Bad Writer After All?

This post from 3 years ago inspired me today even though I don't remember writing it at all.  

Beware of Science That Tells You Absolutes
 The news that running long distances just might shorten your life has hit the running world with a resounding thud. But I have a perspective on the science behind it, and a reason to not worry so much.

If you actually read the paper, runners (and heavy exercisers) actually do live longer than the non-runners, with some notable caveats. But the question shouldn't be, "Should I run a lot so I can live longer?" It should be, "Do I enjoy running enough to let it shorten my life?"

Someone who runs or exercises extensively throughout their life AND doesn't enjoy doing it, just so they can live longer, has a fool for a Life Trainer. As someone who spent a large proportion of their time in Nursing Homes in his early career, I can tell you that I think NOT RUNNING extends your life. And a miserable life it can be!

 Jim Fixx had it good compared to the thousands of people I have witnessed languishing in a situation they do not enjoy. It turns out that the authors propose that running up to 20 miles weekly is the sweet spot for life extension. After that, the diminishing returns begin in a rather steep curve. As I look back on my last dozen years running, I see my average is almost exactly 20 miles weekly. So I have that going for me. But if I wind up in a Nursing Home without family or friends, blaring Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell  or Paradise By the Dashboard Lights, I'll have run all those miles in vain.
  Posted by skwilli at 8:37 AM

Saturday, April 1, 2017

800U Loses A Member

With a heavy heart, I announce the passing of 800U member Stephen Dwight Black on this April 1 date. I wish I was fooling. He passed following complications after a cardiac ablation for atrial fibrillation. All prayers for Steve and our family are welcome. Great stories and memories will follow once I get over the shock. He joins his father who was a rather fine 880 runner for Penn in the 1950s. Barb was his twin sister and thus he became my brother-in-law. I never beat him in a 400M or 800M.

Further updates of services will be forthcoming. Online guest book is available at

Steve as Geo. Washington.

Friday, March 31, 2017

It's Good To Have Penn State Track Backing From Those Above

You may not recognize him, but Robert "Snid" Snyder just had the lead in The Valley of Harrisburg's Passion Play.  I think the beard is coming off soon and we will all recognize him again.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Throwback Thursday With An Update

From an anonymous source I have results from the always welcome Dogwood Relays back in 1980.  Dogwood was always the beginning of Outdoor Track and a great respite from the cold weather track workouts in University Park (or Westerly Parkway Junior High in 78 and 79!).

Of note are great performances from 2 of my great friends that day...

Jim "Noisy" Clelland with a splendid early season 14:10 5K to win the Open race (with Charlie McGuire not far back!)  and Mike Wyatt with a second in the Invitational 1500M in 3:44.05!  PSU was also second in the 6000M Relay to Georgetown (with John Gregorek and Kevin Byrne) in 15:14.86.  (Not sure who was on that squad, but Larry Mangan, Tom Rapp, Bob Snyder and Alan Scharsu were among those available at the time.  Does anyone have the info on that?)

And another old school activity back in the day was running races in costume.  Nobody did that better than Philadelphia's Gary Fanelli, who ran some great times dressed as a NY Met and a Blues Brother!

Elwood Blues (the one with the harmonica) in Paradise.
 Well, original Penn State Track Alumni Golfer Bill Malchano replicated the feat recently in a half-marathon.  He relates he wasn't in good enough shape for a real race so he wanted to have a little fun.  By the looks of things, he did!

Bill Malchano.  (I remembered the "a" again Bill!)
Now let's ask him about the chafing!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Why Does This Guy Keep Talking About Dogs?

Well, because they are God's greatest gift to Man.  And my dog leads the Dog Division of Ken Cooper's Bracket Challenge!  That's why.

Among the people in our group, very few are near the top, which somehow consists of mostly 8th graders and under!  We should really be hanging our heads in shame.

  • Darryl Jones in 13th (with nowhere to go from there!)
  • Tyler McCandless in 16th (with a little wiggle room...)
  • Brian Boyer in 17th (and stuck in the mud!)
  • Michael Gross in 32nd (with all four tires off!)
None of these people can win, either.

Which brings me to the feel-good story of the day!  Spott Moskowitz has steadily risen in the ranks with each round, and although he cannot win it all, he has solidified his dominance of the newest Dog Division of the Tourney.

  • Spott Moskowitz in 36th (with North Carolina to win)
  • Thomas Bernard Roth in 56th
  • Kierrun O'Brien in 76th
  • Bo Quinn in 145th
  • Champer Morse in 150th
  • Faither Morse in 156th 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

PSU Is 800U: Early Spring 1983 Edition

From State College Emmaus* native Paul McGlauglin comes this great photo of an 800M workout early in the Spring of 1983.  It shows most of the group that went on to win the Championship of America 4x800M at the Penn Relays later in April, Coach Groves' first ever.

That's Paul McGlauglin leading the troops, with Mike Cook, Ken Wynn and Tom Walchuck right behind.

How many of us remember those early season workouts buffeted by the winds that the 2-foot high pine trees couldn't quite block on the backstretch?

Addendum:  The 2017 edition of early season 800U News: Dom Perretta won his first outdoor 800M in Arizona at the Big Ten/Pac 12 Challenge!   Way to go Dom! 

*Errors in fact are a feature, not a bug of our site.  So,  shut up!  hee hee hee  (Thanks to Paul for the correction.)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

March Madness Continues To Go To The Dogs

Artist's Conception.

For years now, I have relegated the choices of March Madness bracket picks to my four-footed furry friends.  First was the original Spot Moskowitz, the feistiest dog any of us have ever known.  Spot was a true stray dog in the neighborhood, living outside for many months.  It took a half of a chicken as bait and a real "dog whisperer" to capture him with a big butterfly net and blanket.  It took me 2 years until I could touch him and 3 years until I could pick him up.  But he loved being part of the menagerie in our house and had his own bed next to ours which he loved with every one of his 5 pounds.  There is nothing like the true love an adopted dog will give you, even if it takes awhile to shed their fears from the past.

The original Spot Moskowitz. The always on leash because we couldn't touch him!

The next Spott Moskowitz inherited the duties once Spot passed on.  He may not be the best basketball prognosticator but he is currently in the lead of the 5-dog division in Ken Cooper's Bracket Challenge!  (Two more dogs have been identified in the field and they are now an official division!)    

 Place                 Name                 Points
          77                 Moskowitz, Spott                     55
         113                Roth, Thomas Bernard             52
         136                O'Brien, Kierrun                       49
         148                Morse, Champer                       45
         155                Morse, Faither                          34

Overall, certified Track Alumni Golfers in the top 25 are:

  • Tyler McCandless
  • Brian Boyer
  • Matt Groves
  • Darryl Jones
  • Michael Gross
  • Che Arosemena

Friday, March 24, 2017

Share Some Beers (Or Not) With Fellow Alums

I am sending off my check today to Harry Smith for the upcoming Penn State Track and Field Alumni Reunion and Coach Groves Golf Tourney.  And you should too!

Help spread the word to those who haven't been exposed to the blog with it all by sharing this post via the various internetty  vehicles.

Here is the post that explains it all:

Even I have some beer at the Reunion!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Outdoor Track Season Begins

Sun Angel Stadium
Tempe, Ariz.
Friday, March 244:00 p.m ET
LIVE Results | Meet Schedule
Saturday, March 255:30 p.m. ET
LIVE Results | Meet Schedule

The Nittany Lions are on their way to Tempe for the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge.  Remember last year when the Lions started the year out strong?  And in some ways, the Mens team and the Womens team are both improved from last year!

LAST YEAR'S PAC-12/BIG TEN CHALLENGEPenn State track & field wrapped up their outdoor debut at the 2016 Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge hosted by Arizona State with the Big Ten conference grabbing the win on both sides while Penn State finished second and third amongst the men's and women's Big Ten competition, respectively.The Nittany Lions used a beautiful day in the desert to turn in several strong performances and PR's en route to finishing the meet with 32 top-eight marks and 12 top-three finishes over the weekend including a then-NCAA leading men's 4x100-meter relay that stands as the No. 3 mark in program history at 39.92 seconds.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Another Kung Pao Post Prior To The Beginning of Outdoor Season!

The world's greatest dish isn't just a tasty entree, it also has a fine backstory.  Or two....

The first version of the story tells of the Sichuan governor wander the region dressed up like a farmer to understand better the real needs of his people. After an intense day’s walk, Ding Bao decided to stop to have a dinner in a small and simple inn. Watching the modesty of the place where he was, the expectation of the Governor were very small. But, once the dish arrived on the table, and he tried on the first bite, he changes his mind immediately: the skepticism turned into astonishment! Ding Bao was so pleased of that spiced and creamy chicken sauté to hire the cook of the inn as his personal chef.

 The second tale narrates of a young Ding Bao drowning in a river of the Sichuan region, and of a man diving into the water, and saving the future governor. Years later, Ding Bao went to seeking out the man he owed his life. Thankful for this visit, the man invited the Governor to dine with his family, preparing what it would become the Kung Pao chicken. Also in this version of the story, Ding Bao was so impressed by the dish to hire the man immediately as his personal chef!

KUNG PAO CHICKEN RECIPE & HISTORY - all you need to know!

Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 4
  • 2 Lb (900 g) chicken thighs or breast
  • 1/3 cup (50 g) dried peanuts (western version: roasted peanuts)
  • 12 spring onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp ginger root, grated
  • 6 tbsp peanuts oil
  • 1 cup (235 g) chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp dark rice vinegar (western version: white vinegar)
  • 6 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 6 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine (western version: Sherry)
  • 10 whole dried Chinese chili peppers
  • 1 tbsp Sichuan pepper (western version: black pepper)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
    First, combine 4 tbsp of dark soy sauce, and 4 tbsp of light soy sauce, and 4 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing Hua Diao), then whisk. Now, add 1 tbsp of sifted cornstarch and whisk until consistent without any lumps. Finally, cut the chicken into dices and pour them into the sauce. Wrap the bowl and store in the fridge 30 minutes.
    If you opt for roasted peanuts, just skip this step. Otherwise, pour the peanuts oil into a wok and place over medium/high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoky, fry the peanuts until golden brown, stirring frequently. Once ready, raise the peanuts from the oil and dry over paper towels. Save the peanuts oil for the next step.
    Peel the cloves of garlic and crush them lightly maintaining their shape. After that, combine 2 tbsp of dark soy sauce, and 2 tbsp of light soy sauce, and 2 tbsp of grated ginger root, and 1 tsp of brown sugar. Now re-heat the oil in the wok and saute the garlic until pale golden. After that, add the Sichuan pepper and Chinese chili peppers. Stir-fry a couple of minutes more, then add the soy and ginger mixture. Cook about 5 mins more.
    Divide the white part of spring onions from the green part. After that, cut the white parts in half. Reduce a few of green stems into rounds, just to obtain 2 tbsp of greens.
  5. Now, pour the chicken, and marinate, and white parts of the spring onions into the Kung Pao sauce. Stir-fry the chicken 8 mins over high heat, adding the chicken broth a few tbsp at a time. The result have to be creamy, not watery. Finally, baste with dark vinegar and add the fried peanuts. Stir-fry 2 minutes more, then garnish with green onion rounds and serve hot.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Broken Brackets

Tyler McCandless has broken out into the lead in Ken Cooper's Bracket Challenge for bragging rights among Penn State Track Alums.  But his staying power is in question as he has Louisville to win it all.  And that isn't going to happen!  So chances are Tyler will be hitting the Marathon Wall come the final round.  And he isn't alone...

Others from our cadre of regulars among Track Alumni Golfers near the top of the heap are, Jim Clelland (15th), Brian Boyer (16th), Zeb Stewart (18th), Darryl Jones (19th), Michael Gross (20th) and Mark Hawkins (21st).  Brian and Michael have Villanova to win it all (hee hee), Zeb has Duke (ha ha), Mark has Gonzaga, Jim has Arizona, and Darryl has Kansas.  So there will be new names on this list in the next rounds.

In the hunt for the tasty dog bone, Spott Moskowitz (68th) has moved up substantially over Bo Quinn (116th) in the Jack Russell Terrier ChallengeKierrun O'Brien (99th) is slightly ahead of Thomas Bernard Roth (106th).

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Brackets Going To The Dogs

The March Madness is ongoing.  Following the first round of action, several Track Alumni Golfers are near the top of the list.

  • Mark Haywood       28/32
  • Zeb Stewart             28/32
  • Mark Hawkins        27/32
  • Tyler McCandless   27/32
And there are several other dogs joining the first ever Jack Russell Terrier Challange.  Remember, these guys filled out their brackets without thumbs!  Cut them a break!

  • Thomas Bernard Roth    (St. Bernard)   26/32
  • Kierrun O'Brien    (mixed?)                     25/32
  • Spott Moskowitz  (Jack Russell)             23/32
  • Bo Quinn   (Jack Russell)                        21/32

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Still More Honors!

The middle distance corps has garnered even more individual honors in the final Big Ten Indoor Awards!

Big Ten Womens Freshman of the Year - Danae Rivers!

Big Ten Mens Track Athlete of the Year - Isaiah Harris!

And don't forget to make your arrangements for the Reunion and Golf Tourney!!!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Big Ten Outdoor Championship Tickets For Sale

Now that you signed up for the Reunion and Golf Tournament, you will need something to do on Friday before the Reception and Sunday for the Finals of the Meet.  So get your All-Session tickets for the whole Meet.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Second Snow Day Means You Have Time To Respond Now For The Reunion And Golf Tourney During The Big Ten OutDoor Championships!

I'm back at work this AM, but not many people are trickling in for their foot problems.  I suppose many of you are milking the "Storm of the Millennium" for another day off work.  That means you have time to enter Ken Cooper's Bracket Challenge and also get your funds in to Event Coordinator and Keeper of the Cup Harry Smith for the Reunion and Golf Tourney Weekend.  Remember, this is to honor Coach Groves and there are a finite number of chances to share these with him.  We would all love to see you there.

And in a way to make those non-golfers and horrible golfers out there decide to join us on the links, here is my finest moment on the course from early in the tournament history.  I only had a handicap once in my golfing career and it was north of 30 (34, I think?).  So chances are, some of you that have never held a golf club before are actually a better golfer than I.  And if all you can do is putt, you can still be a valuable member of your foursome.  Take a chance, why don't you?

Here is Coach Groves putting first and showing me the line.  Paul Mundy and Nick K. cheer me on for the unexpected birdie!

And who can forget Coach Groves' speech that same year at his Retirement celebration at the Ashenfelter Complex?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

God Gave Us A Snow Day So We Can Fill Out Our Brackets

Yes, it is that time again.  Time to enter Ken Cooper's Bracket Challenge!  And this year's battle will also be the setting for the first ever Jack Russel Terrier Match-Up.  My very own Spott Moskowitz will be up against Director of Fun's Bo Quinn If there are any other Jack Russells out there, you are invited too.
Mercedes, Bo and Teddy Quinn.
Spott Moskowitz in his natural habitat.

Welcome to the 23rd Annual Penn State XC/T&F March Madness Pool. 

Already the Cheeseheads are complaining about getting a lower seed than the U of Minnesota Gophers.  Suck it up and just play.

Congrats to Northwestern, who scored a ticket to the dance for the first time ever.  Can they make a run?

Everyone is in the Pool.  It is free and pride only.  Last year we had 149 people.  Feel free to include kids and pass along to other friends of Penn State. 

Picks due by tip off of first Thursday game.

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