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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Doping In Our Sport: A Little Or A Lot?

*Thanks go to Founder Clark Haley for his posting of this topic on the Facebook site.

At our recent Reunion Alumni "Run", I had a chance to speak with Coach Gary Schwartz and others while the rabble wandered around campus.  The topic of doping came up and I stated my opinion on the matter.  "It is far more prevalent in our sport than any of us would like to admit."

While that will be my official opinion on the matter, I will say I fear the incidence is more than 80% across all disciplines of the sport.  Some were shocked by this and gently argued against it.  And Coach Schwartz correctly pointed out that since the dawn of what we consider sports, the original Greek Olympic events, athletes have always looked for an edge against their foes.  Whatever line is drawn, there will always be those who poke the line, cross it by a little bit, or trample it entirely.

The recent leak of the WADA report on Alberto Salazar and the Nike Oregon Project certainly points to a poking of the line, and probable crossing of it by people we root for.  I am not really sure how to feel about it, as I think that the people they are running against have crossed the line much further than anything the NOP has???  Alberto has certainly let his opinion be known.

I had the pleasure of 2 10-mile runs with Alberto at Frank Zarnowski's Mount Saint Mary's Running Camp in 1976.  The first was a real disaster as the camp directors convinced me to drink milk in order to achieve more in the sport.  Three stops in the woods later, Alberto had come back to find "the lost straggler".  Catching back up to the group, I somehow convinced him that I wasn't really a straggler and arranged another 10-miler with him the next early morning.  Since almost none of the other campers were interested in a run of that distance, it was me and Alberto and two other campers.  We had a real wonderful run through the mountains that Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton had hiked 150 years before.

A high school Alberto with Boston Billy.

I have rooted for Alberto ever since.  Even through his dabbles with DMSO and out-and-out performance enhancers during his later competitive years.

What do you think? In the comments below or on our Facebook site.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

PSU Is 800U: Generations

Penn State Track Alumni (Golfers) are excelling in coaching all over the United States!  And although high school and College coaching keep some of them from coming to our Reunion and Golf Tourney, we sure like to include them in our ranks as often as possible.

And all of them showed up at the PIAA Championships with some 800M runners worthy of 800U interest.

It was a battle for all 4 legs, but Central Bucks West nipped State College for the victory in the 4 X 800M Relay!

That's John Mahoney, coach of the middle distance crew of Brian Baker, Luke Fehrman, Alec Hofer and Jake Claricurzio.  (7:40.14)

State College (7:41.42) anchor Nick Feffer duals Central Bucks West's Jake Claricurzio.

State College is coached by Steve Shisler and Chris Cipro.  Other State College runners were Owen Wing, Chris Di Perna and Joey Feffer.

Monday, May 29, 2017

What A Preliminary Round!

Penn State showed up like never before at the NCAA Preliminary Round in Kentucky this weekend. Thirteen men in 9 events will advance to Oregon for the Finals.  Seven women in 7 events will join them on the 3,000 mile journey.  Two men and 1 woman have #1 seeds!


  • 200M           Malik Moffett                  12th         20.49
  • 800M            Isaiah Harris                     1st      1:45.92
  • 800M            Domenic Parretta              7th     1:47.87
  • 4x100M        Karson Kowalchuk         
  •                       Dan  Chisena                             
  •                       Xavier Smith
  •                       Malik Moffett                  3rd         39.08    
  • 4x400M        Dan Chisena                    
  •                       Xavier Smith 
  •                       Tyreek Mathis
  •                       Isaiah Harris                    2nd      3:03.48
  • Long Jump    Malik Moffett                 10th     24' 8.25"
  • Triple Jump   Bryce Williams                 4th         52' 2" 
  • Shot Put        Jon Yohman                       5th     62' 9.25"   
  • Discus           David Lucas                       9th      186' 3" 
  • Javelin           Michael Shuey                  1st          242' 5"
  •                       Michael Biddle                  6th         220' 5"
  •                       Ryan Kerr                         10th        214' 7"                                            
  • 800M            Danae Rivers                      7th        2:02.68
  • 3000SC         Tori Gerlach                       9th      10:04.62
  • 5000M          Tessa Barrett                       1st       16:01.59
  • 10,000M       Jillian Hunsberger               8th      33:52.41
  • Pole Vault     Hannah Mulhern                  9th     13' 5.25"
  • Triple Jump  Danielle Gibson                   8th         43' 5" 
  • Shot Put        Obeng Marfo                     12th       53' 7.5" 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Oh, So Long Ago

Our Chief Laundry and Morale Officer somehow found 1977 PIAA results and sent me a pic.  For the younger set out there, this was when we still measured things in yards, wore little skimpy shorts, had long hair, and ran on track surfaces you would be triggered by!  (Just joking...)

The specific events in the pic were selected as they include three future Freshman on the Penn State teams.  George Severine 880Y (1:55 880HS to 800U!) and Marc Dunmire Mile (RIP) join me in the medalists in the distance events listed.

As it turns out, I was 3 for 3 in my District and State races, as I won both the Mile and 2-Mile at Districts and the 2-Mile at States.  (The disqualification for tripping Inside Track-Harrisburg Manager Henry Klugh in the Mile at Districts sealed my 2-Mile effort at States. A true blessing in disguise!)  It took a 58 second last lap to erase a 60 yard deficit to win. Maybe our Grand Exalted IT Czar can verify those facts for those who realize that accuracy isn't my best feature! And I never even qualified for Districts in my first three years!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Front Page News!

Joe Kovacs recently PRed on his first throw of the season with 74' 3/4", the best throw in the world over the last 14 years.  I wonder if that will be the World Record when the IAAF nukes all the old records?

Friday, May 26, 2017

More "Foursomes" From The Golf Tourney

There were 7 foursomes in the recent Coach Groves Golf Tournament vying for a spot on The Cup.

4th Place: Katie Barrett, Mark Fuller '13, Mark Althouse.'81
Katie Barrett was the winner of the Golden Putter with her 17 foot putt on the 18th green, just edging out my 12 foot effort!
2nd: Charlie Hull '69, Steve Brown '90, Steve Brown Jr., Tom Brown.

3rd: Mike McClelland '16, Harry Smith '84, Brian Leap '16.

7th: Mary Dell, Kevin Fuller '10, Todd Leggett '84, Tom Shiffer '87.

5th: Me, Steve Balkey '88, Mike McCahill '83, John Ziegler '80.

1st: Bill Malchano 85, Doug Kent '80, Ken Brinker '69.
 In addition to winning his second tourney, Doug Kent also won the Longest Drive and the Closest to the Pin on Hole #2 (4 foot, 1 inch)!

And how did we miss a photo of:  6th: Clark Haley '85, Brian Fuller '09, Emily Dubs and John McGraw '05???   Do any of you have a photo of this foursome?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Why Would Any Man Get A Haircut Every Week?

Oh, here's why!  Coach Groves would gladly have even less hair if she came twice weekly!

And how about a visit from Coach John Gondak and Coach Erin Tucker with the first ever Mens Big Ten Trophy after your locks are shorn!

*Photos by Greg Fredericks.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Penn State Track Royal Flush!

The recent Reunion and Golf Tourney attracted more alumni (golfers) than ever before.  Among them were some key players in what makes our group so great!

This is our group's Royal Flush, even though the poker tourney never really happened!  That's Greg Fredericks, Mike Sands, Mike Shine and Coach Bill Whittaker joining Coach Groves at the Friday night get-together.  That's 4 Olympians in one pic.  And remember Coach Whittaker once held the PSU decathlon record and donated his javelin boots to make The Rusty Boot

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Decades Of Attendees - Part 3

Coach Groves recruited and coached most of the Mens '00 decade athletes, but he still has reverence among the most recent grads of the '10s!

The 00s

The 10s. 
 Coach was getting tired of the pics by then!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Decades Of Attendees - Part 2

At the recent Reunion of Penn State Track Alumni, more than 80 attended the Awards Dinner following the Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament.  The 80s represented the bulk of those in town for the hoopla.  But the 90s came in larger numbers than ever.  (See the 60s and 70s here.)

The 80s, minus me.

The 90s.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Stephen Dwight Black 11/16/1958 - 4/1/2017

Stephen Black's funeral mass was celebrated at St. Bridget's Church in Richmond, VA on Friday, May 19, 2017.  It was a beautiful service celebrating the life of a very uniquely talented friend and family member.

Among Steve's talents were entirely self-taught musical abilities on bass guitar and keyboard,  Steve appeared in the very first band to perform at the PSU Dance Marathon, Milo Thunder and the Road Hogs.  He was also the bass guitarist in Paul Sousa's first PSU band with Ted Lyon on lead guitar.

Later Steve turned to acting.  His credits include multiple parts in John Adams: The Mini-Series ( Steve actually appeared next to star Paul Giamatti on the front page of the USA Today article about the series!) and multiple appearances on the television channel Investigation Discovery.  He appeared annually as George Washington in Richmond's historical reenactment of Patrick Henry's Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech.

I include multiple examples of Steve's acting gigs.  I hope you will view them and say a prayer for him and his twin sister Barbara.

Wicked Attraction: Live Free or Die - Steve had a large part in this episode as the boyfriend and chief suspect in the murder of his girlfriend. (Hint: he didn't do it!)

Monsters and Mysteries in America: The Mill Race Monster - Steve plays a bemused cop doubting everything about the reports from teenagers about a 7-foot tall green monster.  He actually ad-libbed the bit eating and drinking coffee and the director liked it and left it in.

The Magenta Shamrock:  NOT SAFE FOR WORK due to sexual content (not by Steve!) Steve has only a brief appearance in this well-made short film, which is, in the end, a kinda sorta love story.

The Gravediggers: Hang 'em High:  This was a self-directed and self-written short film about the hanging of Nathan Hale. Steve appears as one of the gravediggers and you can spot Gary Black playing a Redcoat! 


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Decades Of Attendees - Part 1

Coach Groves coached at Penn State for many years after his 11 years at Willam and Mary and 2 with the Army.  At the recent Reunion Awards Dinner, we had all the various decades pose with Coach Groves.

Here are the first two Decades of Attendees:

The 1960s.

The 1970s.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Rusty Boot Is In Good Hands

The "Rusty Boot" is our newest annual award given at the Alumni Reunion.  It is meant to represent the very best in all Nittany Lions.  Although the criteria are vague (almost ephemeral!) at this point, the first two recipients are certainly among the very best Nittany Lions ever.

Last year, the award went to Coach Groves himself.  And the boot was placed prominently at Coach's residence in State College for all visitors to peruse.

This year the award went to Coach Gary Schwartz, long-time Men's Assistant Coach and former Head Coach of the women's team.  Even though he went on to coach elsewhere, there is still a tinge of blue in his blood.  It was wonderful having him at all the reunion events this year!

And since Coach Groves was somewhat upset that the boot was taken from his residence for the presentation, Coach Schwartz gallantly returned it to Coach Groves' residence immediately following the presentation!  Anyone can see the bronzed javelin boot of Assistant Coach Bill Whittaker when they visit Coach Groves.

Coach Gary Schwartz and the Rusty Boot.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Two More Golfers Join The Hall Of Honor

With their victory in the 2017 Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament Doug Kent and Bill Malchano secured their second engraving on the Championship Cup.  That means they join the others in the Hall of Honor.  Ken Brinker rounded out their "Foursome" and secured his first appearance on the Cup.

Bill Malchano, Doug Kent, Ken Brinker.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mike Sands Is Coach Harry Groves' Son, As Explained By Him

Our group is primarily dedicated to honoring Coach Groves and his contributions to our overall formation as people worthy of Nittany Lion lineage.  But one person has the title of "Coach Groves' son" more than any of the rest of us.  Mike Sands proudly praises Coach Groves at every opportunity, and it is a pleasure to watch!

We will be hearing more from Mike Sands soon!


Sunday, May 14, 2017

"The Best One Ever" And A Thank You

The turnout and enthusiasm for the 2017 Penn State Track and Field Alumni Reunion and 2017 Coach Harry Groves Golf Outing were certainly through the roof this year.  And an anonymous long-term attendee of our event described it as "the best one yet".

Thanks certainly go to Founder and Keeper of the Beer Clark Haley and Event Coordinator Harry Smith for putting it all together.  And thanks to everyone involved for rejuvenating my psyche this weekend after a few trying months! My "old" friends and the many new friends I have made were the best medicine I could ever have been given.

I will have much more to come in the coming days about the event, as I must consolidate several sources of pics and videos with my meager digital skills.  Until then, here is a pic of my foursome and the golfers in this year's tourney.

Me, Steve Balkey, Mike McCahill and John Ziegler.

7 Foursomes!


Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Alumni "Run" Continues To Grow

Runners head out.
Most of the group.

The Annual Alumni "Run" attracted 25 runners this year in addition to a half dozen or so coffee and donut imbibing hangers-on.

Considering the light rain, it was one of the largest groups we have had!

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Alumni Mile In A Small World

Coach Gary Schwartz
Ken Cooper
Proof of a full mile!
Jake Bartholomy and Ken Cooper
Kevin Keely O'Brien, Owen Dawson, Ben Dover and Steve Shisler. Not pictured Vince Accardi.

The Alumni Mile was held this AM at the State College High School track and was a big success even though only 2 brave souls toed the line.

A few of us were there to witness the 31st year in a row with a sub-5 minute for Ken Cooper. His 4:40 mile bested Jake Bartholomy's 5:16, which is remarkable for a once a week runner!

And I had breakfast with Michigan Coach Mike McGuire, who happened to be one of Coach Gary Schwartz 's assistants at Kansas in the 90s before heading back to his Alma Mater!

Ben Flanagan and Coach Mike McGuire of Michigan.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Track Is Ready

I am in State College early for my annual one night of bachelorhood.  Of course a Kung Pao meal is in order followed by rest and relaxation.  I stopped by the track on the way to the Hampton Inn and there was some last minute workouts going on by Ohio State athletes.  The entire Hampton Inn is occupied by Michigan and Illinois, thus answering the question as to why we had to change our 15 year home for the Reunion main accommodations.

See some of you tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Will Mother Nature Win The Coach Groves Tournament For The First Time?

 Here's the Accu-Weather forecast for Friday, Saturday and Sunday for State College and surrounding areas.  So far, Mother Nature has never won the tournament, but she has apparently been practicing. I am happy that I purchased a Penn State Track Alumni Rain Jacket during the last Group Store sale!  Now I need matching pants... Another sale will be occuring after the Reunion! Let me know what you want to be included this time!

Friday Day

50°Hi RealFeel® 47° Precipitation 77%
Colder with rain
  • SE 7 mph
  • Gusts: 10 mph
  • Max UV Index: 2 (Low)
  • Thunderstorms: 5%
  • Precipitation: 0.28 in
  • Rain: 0.28 in
  • Snow: 0 in
  • Ice: 0 in
  • Hours of Precipitation: 5.5 hrs
  • Hours of Rain: 5.5 hrs

Friday Night

44°Lo RealFeel® 40° Precipitation 79%
  • NNE 6 mph
  • Gusts: 9 mph
  • Max UV Index: N/A
  • Thunderstorms: 2%
  • Precipitation: 0.55 in
  • Rain: 0.55 in
  • Snow: 0 in
  • Ice: 0 in
  • Hours of Precipitation: 9 hrs
  • Hours of Rain: 9 hrs

Saturday Day

52°Hi RealFeel® 53° Precipitation 63%
Cloudy and cool with a couple of showers
  • NNW 5 mph
  • Gusts: 8 mph
  • Max UV Index: 2 (Low)
  • Thunderstorms: 20%
  • Precipitation: 0.37 in
  • Rain: 0.37 in
  • Snow: 0 in
  • Ice: 0 in
  • Hours of Precipitation: 3 hrs
  • Hours of Rain: 3 hrs

Saturday Night

45°Lo RealFeel® 39° Precipitation 14%
Mostly cloudy
  • NW 7 mph
  • Gusts: 10 mph
  • Max UV Index: N/A
  • Thunderstorms: 5%
  • Precipitation: 0 in
  • Rain: 0 in
  • Snow: 0 in
  • Ice: 0 in
  • Hours of Precipitation: 0 hrs
  • Hours of Rain: 0 hrs

Sunday Day

65°Hi RealFeel® 66° Precipitation 55%
Mostly cloudy, breezy and warmer with a passing shower
  • NW 14 mph
  • Gusts: 22 mph
  • Max UV Index: 6 (High)
  • Thunderstorms: 20%
  • Precipitation: 0.04 in
  • Rain: 0.04 in
  • Snow: 0 in
  • Ice: 0 in
  • Hours of Precipitation: 1 hrs
  • Hours of Rain: 1 hrs


45°Lo RealFeel® 42° Precipitation 5%
Mainly clear
  • NW 8 mph
  • Gusts: 16 mph
  • Max UV Index: N/A
  • Thunderstorms: 3%
  • Precipitation: 0 in
  • Rain: 0 in
  • Snow: 0 in
  • Ice: 0 in
  • Hours of Precipitation: 0 hrs
  • Hours of Rain: 0 hrs

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Still Strong After All These Years: Brian Boyer Joins 800U!

58 to be exact!  Our Official Physicist participated in the UN Interagency Games in Vienna last weekend.  He ran an 800M leg in a relay and came in 2nd in his age group in the 10K. (Cas Loxsom and Brannon Kidder need to be informed!)  I wonder if Brian is thinking of lacing up his spikes at Ken Cooper's Alumni Mile on 9:00AM Friday morning at the State College High School Track?

And see the update to the dinner schedule for Saturday night!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Schedule Of The Alumni Reunion And The Big Ten Championships 2017

Friday, May 12
9:00AM-10:AM - Alumni Mile (competitive) at the State College High Track
12:00PM-7:00PM – Tailgate on the hill of the backstretch
 7:00PM-11:00PM - Meet and Greet at Ramada Inn (1450 S. Atherton) (814) 238-3001
                                   Picking of the foursomes – Always a treat!
                                   Putting Contest
                                   Texas Hold’em Tourney – 9:00PM (first 20 players, $25 entry, 50/50 payout)
                                   Bar Crawl – to follow…

Saturday, May 13

9:00AM – 10:30AM – Alumni “Run”Lion Shrine next to Rec Hall, includes coffee, donuts and a jog if                    you wish!
11:15AM – Putting ContestMountain View Country Club, 50/50 payout, $10 entry
12:00PM – 5:30PM – Coach Harry Groves Golf Tourney at Mountain View Country Club
12:00 – 1:00PM – Tour of Beaver Stadium, $15 cost.
7:00PM-8:00PM – Social gathering with current team members at Pegula Club Level
6:30PM-11:00PM – Alumni Dinner and Awards Ceremony, apps and keg 6:30PM, dinner is at 7:30PM    


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