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...

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Lull In The Action

As we await the start of the IAAF World Championships on Friday (and the start of the XC season at PSU) here's a reminder of PSU ties.

Remember, PSU has 4 athletes in action at the World Championships:
  • Isaiah Harris  800M  currently ranked 9th in the world!  1:44.53
  • Darrell Hill    Shot Put   currently ranked 7th in the world!  71' 10 3/4"
  • Joe Kovacs   Shot Put  currently ranked 2nd in the world   74'  3/4"
  • Ryan Whiting   Shot Put   currently ranked 11th in the world   70' 8"
  • Shot Put Qualifying   Saturday, August 5th   5:00AM Eastern
  • 800M Qualifying      Saturday, August 5th   7:45AM Eastern 
  • 800M  Semi-Finals   Sunday, August 6th  4:15PM Eastern
  • Shot Put Finals          Sunday, August 6th  3:35PM Eastern 
  • 800M Finals              Tuesday, August 8th   4:35PM  Eastern     
Isaiah Harris
Darrell Hill
Joe Kovacs
Ryan Whiting

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Post Combining PSU Track and Field, Intelligence, Golf, a Dog, and Love

Both Penn State Track and Field teams recently achieved recognition from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).  Both teams were named All-Academic with the Women reaching a team GPA of 3.39 and the Men 3.05.

Fifteen individuals received recognition as All-Academic:
 Kayla Zoschg, Megan McCloskey, Tessa Barrett, Madeline Holmberg, Rachel Banks, Lexi Masterson, Steph Seivers, Tichina Rhodes, Danae Rivers, Greta Lindsley and Hannah Mulhern
 Dan Chisena, Jordan Makins, Jon Yohman and Michael Biddle.
And on a note that brings me great joy, Kevin Fuller and Mary Dell were united in marriage last weekend.  Everyone knows how much I admire the Fuller clan and their harem.  I wish them every joy in the years ahead.

Mary (Dell) Fuller and Kevin Fuller

Simon, with a better tux than anyone.

Mary and Kevin at the last Golf Tourney, with Todd Leggett and Tom Shiffer.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Another Nittany Lion Victim Of A Wrong Direction Mishap

This time Tyler McCandless PhD was ushered in the wrong direction at the San Francisco Half-Marathon.  Both he and the second place runner followed the lead bike and missed an out-and-back 0.6 mile section of the race.  I'll let Tyler tell it from his Facebook Post:
In today's San Fran half, I took out the pace aggressively and had a considerable lead early on. I stayed focused on the lead bike ahead but noticed by mile 5 the splits were not adding up to the time in my watch. I ran strong to the finish, splitting between 4:51-5:15 every mile from 3-finish. After crossing the line in 1:02 I told the next official immediately that there's no way the course was a full 13.1 miles. I then turned to the lead cyclist and told him the same thing and we needed to talk to the race organizer immediately. Turns out, the lead cyclist missed taking me and the second place finisher on an out-and-back, cutting the course short by 0.6mi for the two of us. Both him and I were (rightfully) disqualified since we didn't run the full distance. Frustrating to not have the opportunity to achieve goals I had set out for the race, but every setback is the opportunity for a comeback...

I personally witnessed the Philadelphia debacle in 1983 when Bill Kvashay was steered in the wrong direction just before entering Franklin Field for the Marathon victory and 1984 Olympic Trials qualifier.

The most interesting part to me was how well both took their setbacks.  True Nittany Lion poise.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Canadian Nittany Lions In Peru For The Pan-Am Under-20 Championships

Upcoming Sophomore Karson Kowalchuk just missed making the finals of the 100M with 10.80, but incoming Freshman Victoria Tachinski won the 800M with a splendid 2:04.22.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Back To School

As all hands are on deck at Blog Central preparing for the final push to fully fund Coach Groves Scholarship, thoughts wander to the upcoming school year and new Cross Country and Track seasons.

When I ventured into Walmart over the weekend, I encountered the back to school displays and my thoughts sauntered to my Freshman year in Happy Valley.  Thinking back, I am happy that I entered directly into a Universe that I was comportable in, and somehow they accepted me with open arms. Thank you to all my friends at Penn State Track Alumni (Golf)!

This is a group pic of the Alpha Delta Phi Brothers of Dartmouth University sometime before Sophomore initiation in 1959 1960, the real Animal House.  Included from left to right in the back row, Stork (a Phi Beta Kappa played by Doug Kenney in the movie), D-Day (Bruce McGill), Boon (Peter Riegert), Bluto (John Belushi), Hardbar (Chris Miller), Otter (Tim Matheson).  In front, Hoover (James Widdoes).  Notice how much each of them looks like the characters in the movie!  Except for Otter, I guess.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Lots Of Activity For Coach Groves During Arts Festival Weekend

Our intrepid Golf Course Monitor has let me know that Coach Groves had many visitors this weekend for the Arts Festival.  There will be pictures to come !

And he also became a blog contributor by finding a Donation Thermometer to use as a sidebar widget to show how close we are to fully funding the scholarship in Coach's name.  He points out that with roughly 1,200 living Track Alumni (Golfers) out there, each of us could give just $50 more
and our mission would be accomplished!

So I am mulling over a way of getting another "Club" together with a membership fee of $50, all of which goes to the fund.  (Everyone already knows that platinum membership of our group is totally without fee.)  I need ideas on how to structure the "Club" and what to name it?  Please chime in with recommendations and opinions!

Update: I have determined that the Club will be named "Harry's Boys and Girls".  A new set of Wristbands will be forthcoming for those joining the group.

Friday, July 14, 2017

We Are Getting Close To Funding Coach Groves' Scholarship! You Can Help

Steve Brown takes a walk with Coach Groves.
Steve Brown stopped by to visit Coach and took a walk with him and Greg.  Those wondering about the Princeton shirt should know that Coach's dad was a prof at Princeton when he grew up in Trenton, NJ. (Trenton Makes, The World Takes!)  (Steve is still on the lists of top 10 performances in the 5000M and 10000M at PSU:   4th 5000M 13:50.54 and 10th 10000M 29:36.39)

Coach Groves is never very far from our thoughts here at the Blog With It All. All of you know my reverence for him and that this whole blog thing is primarily a way of honoring him for what he has meant to me.

It is a pleasure to see that Coach Gondak has inherited the same spirit that Coach Groves possessed for his 38 years at the helm.  The recent successes of the entire program and the excitement over those to come have all of us eager for more.

The good news is that you can help without even being able to visit Happy Valley or attend one of our Alumni Reunions and Coach Groves Golf Tourneys. (Although, really, put it on your bucket list!)

We are very near fully funding the Scholarship in Coach Groves' name.  We need to reach $300,000 to have a position scholarship named for Coach!  Most of you know what a big deal that is. 

 Coach Groves Scholarship

Coach Gondak has suggested that I put a widget on the blog updating this info.  That will be done, but you need to visit the full website, not the mobile phone site, to see all the links and info on the sidebars!!!  Do this every so often just to make sure you don't miss anything!
And here is how to donate to Penn State Track/XC or any of the named scholarship funds, with 100% of the funds going to where you want them to end up:

Donate Directly to PSU Track/XC 


Go to this website: http://www.gopsusports.com/sports/c-lionclub/varsity-s-club.html

Scroll down and click on the Track and Field link (or the cross country link) and then click on the “Make a gift” link

After clicking on the “Make a Gift” link it takes you to the page below.  When you get to the gift amount part you can see it already indicates “Track/Cross Country”, so any amount you put in here will go directly to our program – 100% of it.  If you prefer to donate to a specific scholarship like the Harry Groves Scholarship or the Greg Fredericks Scholarship you type that in the “specific athletic endowment or fund” box and it will be applied to that endowment.

If you prefer to write a check, send it to:
Kirk Diehl
Varsity S
147 Bryce Jordan Center
University Park, PA 16802

Please put Men or Women Track OUD in the Memo line to donate directly to the program, or put the name of the scholarship you would like to donate to in the memo line.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

5 Track Alumni (Golfers), 11 PSU Degrees And 29 Years

In rooting through my childhood home, I came across a wedding album I didn't know existed.  I thought it was lost to posterity just like my medal from the 1977 PIAA Track Championships.  But alas, there it was with pics of the wedding party including my brother, 2 sisters, my wife and her two brothers and the Best Man, who is my blog muse!  We were married 29 years ago at Eisenhower Chapel and had the first ever wedding reception at the newly built Atherton Hotel.  Man, how time flies.

Steve Black, sisters Sue and Beth, Barb, me, Rob Whiteside, brother John and Gary Black.

Our official wedding photo.

Blog Muse Rob Whiteside toasting us.  Wish I could remember what he said. Something about "What took you so long", I suppose.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

This Palindrome May Be Penn Relay's Best Record!

Yesterday was 7/11/17.  And that's 71117 both frontward and backward!  So I decided to steal Steve Shisler's Facebook post yesterday to highlight the significance of the event.

It is also the Penn Relay's 4 x 800M Collegiate Record by the Penn State quartet of Vance Watson, Steve Shisler, Randy Moore and Chris Mills7:11.17  The record is now 32 years old. Maybe the last time Coach Groves cried too!

Here are a few other remembrances of the relay victory in 1985:

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

It's Already Old News, But Still Remarkable

At the recent Alumni Reunion, Ken Cooper made his way from Minnesota and arranged the Alumni Mile for any takers.  In the event he logged a sub-5:00 mile for the 31st year in a row!

Excellent use of the Alumni Singlet.

But there is one guy for sure ahead of him.  Steve Spence, an acquaintance of mine from back in the olden days, now has a sub-5:00 mile in 42 straight years.  The 55 year old Spence recently negative split his race to easily attain the mark.  Steve coaches the Division II Shippensburg team.  Congrats Steve!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Nittany Lions In Action All Over

Brannon Kidder traveled to Jolly Ole for yesterday's Diamond League 1500M.  He placed 14th in 3:38.71, equivalent to a 3:55 Mile or so.  Hope he got some fish and chips after!

Karson Kowalchuk won both the 100M and 200M (10.55 , 20.04) at the Canadian Junior Championships and will represent America's Attic at the upcoming Pan-Am Junior Championships in Lima, Peru.

And Michael Shuey continues to amaze in the Javelin World.  He again set a PR in the event as he continues inching closer to the 83M "A" Standard to make the American squad at the World Championships.  His 79.91M toss (262' 2") was a near 7-foot PR!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Last Day Of Track Alumni Store Sale

You have just a little more than 24 hours to snag a wonderful t-shirt, splendiferous jacket and maybe even a rain pant to go with a rain jacket. Use the code PSUTFAL to enter the store. Although we don't make any monies for sales, the advertisement for the group is over-the-top.  Show your spirit with an item or two.

A grey tee, just like olden times!

A Hybrid mid-weight jacket for nearly all seasons.

A parka for the worst Happy Valley football season brings.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Keeper Of The Cup Shows All Of Us How Special We Are!

Keeper of the Cup Harry Smith sent along this study showing how many athletes make it to participation in college.  And it points out just how special all of us are, no matter how weak our PRs are!

The percentage of male high school tracksters making it to Division I college track and field is 1.7%, while footballers achieve Division I status at 2.4%.  Cross Country runners slightly surpass the track participation level at 1.9%, but still trail footballers!  Who knew how special all of us were?

Females have a higher participation rate than males in College Division I with 2.3% in Track and Field and 2.6% in Cross Country. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Newest Professional Nearly Topped The Rest Of The Nittany Lions!

The last Meet in the Tracktown Summer Series was last night in NYC.  Turns out that Tori Gerlach, the newest professional Nittamny Lion Alumnus, was second in the 5K Road Race!  Congrats Tori.

She was topped by Darrell Hill in the Shot Put, who placed first ahead of former Assistant Coach Ryan WhitingEvonne Britton placed fourth in the 100M Hurdles, while Cas Loxsom placed eighth in the 800M.

New York Empire12.97

1Darrell HILL
San Francisco Surge20.87m (68-5¾ )
Philadelphia Force20.73m (68-¼ )

8 Casimir LOXSOM New York Empire 1:47.34

Portland Pulse16:11.60

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Site For Real 800M Fans! PSU is 800U

I came across this great web site celebrating the 800M in an obsessive and glorious fashion.  There is enough here to peruse for many hours, and it is updated nearly daily!

The listing of the fastest 800M runnuers of all-time has 2 Nittany Lions in the top 300.

  • 193 Isaiah Harris 
     (18-10-1996)  1.44.53Sacramento  25-06-2017
  • 289Casimir Loxsom
     (17-03-1991) 1.44.92Eugene  26-06-2015
The listing for top performances for this year has 4 Nittany Lions:

    7  Isaiah Harris
 1.44.53 25-06-2017 Sacramento
  78  Cas Loxsom
 1.46.13i 18-02-2017  Birmingham
 161  Domenic Perretta   1.47.29  21-04-2017   Charlottesville
 175   Brannon Kidder   1.47.36  8-06-2017   Vancouver

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

All-American: Like Father, Like Son

Great friend of the group and future Track Alumni Golfer Paul Souza still owns the Indoor High Jump Record at PSU.  And proving the importance of genetics in the scheme of things, his son Hayden just came in third at the USATF Youth National Championships!  His 4' 11" tied for the best jump, but he lost out on more misses.  Honestly, I never understood the high jump at all, but it is fun to watch.

Maybe Paul should buy him a jacket or some t-shirts from the Kelly Sports Store?  But he would have to use the code PSUTFAL!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

My Choice Of The Hardest Track Race* And Maybe We Are All Wrong!

Only 1 week left to order a jacket, t-shirt or rain pants to go with your rain jacket.  Please consider an order to show your pride in our group!  Use code PSUTFAL

I received quite a few responses to the query of "What is the hardest track event?"  Some came via the Facebook site, some in comments and others in personal contact from the hermits among our group.  The various nominations included:
  • 800M, specifically an all-out for time race.
  • 400M
  • 3000M Steeplechase
  • 400M Intermediate Hurdles
  • Pole Vault.  (Even though we hadn't originally included field!)
I have done most of those events (or tried to) and here are my remembrances:
  1. 800M - This was always easy for me, but I must admit I never really tried to run an all-out 800M.  In high school, I always ran at least 3 events and sometimes 4.  Several times, I ran 2 1:59/2:00 880Y's on the same day, less than an hour apart, along with a mile and 2-mile thrown in. I won every 1/2 mile I ran Senior year except the last one I tanked so a friend could win his only race of his career.  Had to run 2:06 that day.  The Gist: Not the hardest, but I can see it being brutal for the likes of Cas Loxsom, Brannon Kidder, Ryan Foster, Owen Dawson and Isaiah Harris!  
  2. 400M - The only timed 400M I ever ran (although it was regularly used as a threat by my high school coach) was on the Nittany Lion Track during a work-out.  Coach Groves made us start out with an all-out 400M in lanes and everything! I tied with the known speedster John Zeigler in 54.3.  I know, quite pitiful.  I remember it hurting like crazy for more than 150M, even as I thought I held form quite well. Took quite a while to feel better, too.  Can't imagine what it feels like for the best.  The Gist: I can see this as the hardest of races.
  3. 3000M Steeplechase - Ran a bunch of these at all-comers meets in Millersville. I had never even jumped over a hurdle before I tried it.  I am a terrible hurdler, although I am tremendous on the water jump.  Because of that, I created a technique for just tapping the barriers with one foot to clear it without actually stepping on it like with the water jump.  I never was coordinated enough to do it with either foot reliably, so it didn't always help much.  My best race was actually in front of Arthur Lydiard and Heather Carmichael.  Mr. Lydiard actually praised me for my waterjump technique and had me run a warm-down with Heather who was in the States to find a college to attend.  That she ended up coming to PSU may partially be because of me.  Although we were friends, I never asked her about that.  But she did make me a pair of mittens for Christmas that I still have and used to run winter runs with.  The Gist: a very hard race, but the risk of injury and difficulty of hurdling made it hard for me to max out my endurance.  The top guys, of course, get closer to max, but even then most of them never look "all in" when they are done.
  4. 400M Hurdles - Combine a miserable distance with hurdles that are still way too high and I can see this as a very hard race.  The Gist:  Never ran it and never will, so I will never know!
  5. Pole Vault - Back in my lithe youth, I couldn't even carry a 16 foot pole down the runway and wouldn't know what to do with it if I could.  The Gist:  This was the hardest event of all.
But it is possible that all of us are wrong. Possibly, this is the hardest race of all.  Mostly because marriage is just an entry requirement!

Monday, July 3, 2017

We Need A Coorespondent For The Tracktown Finale!

Only 1 week left to get your PSU Track Alumni Jacket, t-shirts and Rain Pants at the group store!  Use the code PSUTFAL.

My brief vacation to West Virginia is already over and I'm headed back to the salt mine.  The Tracktown Summer Series' West Coast events are over and they are headed east to NYC for the Final event at Icahn Stadium.  I'm looking for anyone going to be our Official Corespondent?

 Nittany Lions competed in both the San Francisco and the Portland Meet:

 4 Evonne BRITTON
100M Hurdles  New York Empire13.05
8Casimir LOXSOM800M New York Empire1:47.42
1Ryan WHITINGShot Put Philadelphia Force21.14m (69-4¼ )
3Darrell HILLShot PutSan Francisco Surge20.83m (68-4¼ )

West Virginia Campsite.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Trapped Like A Rat in "Almost Heaven"

My annual trip to West Virginia is only for the weekend this year as my real job is set on draining the life out of me.  Daughter the Younger and friends will get the use of my RV for the week as I slave away in the salt mine. 

West Virginia is also why there has been a dearth of posts, but the internet has slightly improved in the last year.  Maybe I will dare the local population at the campground this evening and take a drone video for all to see.  Most of them will be in the tank on moonshine anyway.

Don't forget to order something from the store and chime in on just what is the hardest event in track and field.
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