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, December 27, 2017

Way Back Wednesday

"It was Satyr Hill, a 330-foot rise in a half-mile that came 18 miles into the race, that proved to be many a runner's Achilles' heel."

Don't forget to get your votes in for the first semi-final in the 2017 Performance of the Year poll on the left sidebar of the full website.  The Interns tell me they are disappointed with the number of votes so far!  Vote for three to make the Finals in 2 weeks.  2nd Semi-Final coming during the Penn State Bowl game.

My wife was rummaging around in my old homestead and found this pic from yesteryear.  It was fairly easy to figure out what is was...

Some dorky aspects:

It is the 1976 Maryland Marathon, run from the old Memorial Stadium to Loch Raven and back. That means a huge hill at the 18 or 19 mile mark, Satyr Hill.  This whim of mine to run one of the most difficult marathon courses around without really training for it was only one of the stupid things I did before my Penn State experience!

                               26.2 MILE RUN
              Baltimore, Md     December 5, 1976  10:30 A.M.
Place Name                Ag S Time    Pace 
===== =================== == = ======= =====
    1 William Rogers      28 M 2:14:22  5:08
    2 Tom Fleming         25 M 2:16:01  5:12
    3 Ron Hill            38 M 2:20:23  5:22
    4 Barry Brown         32 M 2:21:07  5:24
 220 David Beakwill 17 M 2:58:45 6:50

Mean Temperature     30 °F  

And they didn't even spell my name right!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Our First Semi-Final Poll On 2017 Performance Of The Year

2017 was a phenomenal year for the Penn State Track and Field Alumni Universe. there were literally hundreds of great things happening.  This triggered an unprecedented number of nominations to our Performance of the Year Awards.  I have had to combine numerous entries to narrow the field down, there were so many!

Vote for your top three in this semi-final poll on the left sidebar of the full web site! 

Remember, we want to hear from you at any time on submissions for this annual award.  There is a place on the right sidebar of the full web site (not on mobile devices!) to submit anything you find to be worthy at any time. 

Previous winners of the Award:
  • 2016 - Joe Kovacs - Silver Medal Olympic Shot Put
  • 2015 -  Joe Kovacs - IAFF World Champion Shot Put
  • 2014 - Brannon Kidder - School Record 1500M  (3:38.3)
  • 2013 - Penn Relays DMR Championship of America (Brannon Kidder, Brandon Bennett-Green, Casimir Loxsom, Robby Creese)
  • 2012 - Bridget Franek - Finals of Olympic Steeplechase
Semi-Final 1 Nominations for 2017 Performance of the Year: (Vote for your top three! on the left sidebar)
  • Andrew Sell transitions from the Club Team to #3 runner on the XC team at the Big Ten Championships.
  • Darrell Hill wins IAFF Diamond League Shot Put Championships.
  • Tori Gerlach 3rd at NCAA Steeplechase.
  • John Gondak - Mens Big Ten Outdoor Track Coach of the Year.
  • Brannon Kidder and Casimir Loxsom - World Champions at IAFF 4 x 800M Relay.
  • Danae Rivers - 3rd at NCAA Mile.
  • Best ever combined Indoor finish by Mens (2nd) and Womens (1st) teams.
  • Danae Rivers and Isaiah Harris - Big Ten 800M Champions Indoor
  • World Record and Collegiate Record in 600M by Casimir Loxsom and Isaiah Harris at Penn State National.
  • Tessa Barrett School Record 3000M. 
  • Michael Shuey 3rd at NCAA and Olympic Trials Javelin.
  • Solo Womens DMR results in School Record and NCAA Qualifier.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Isaiah Harris Ranked Third American In 800M By T&F News

I have the very last "PSU Is 800U" wristband to give to Isaiah Harris at the Penn State National at the end of January.  He wore the last one in a few top races (NCAA Championships and Olympic Trials?) but then lost it somewhere along his travels around the world.

3. Isaiah Harris • Penn State • 21 years old • 1:44.53 sb (#3 in US) • World Championship semis • 2nd at USAs • 2nd at outdoor NCAAs • 4th at indoor NCAAs
Harris was brilliant outdoors, going undefeated until NCAAs, where he was second to Emmanuel Korir of UTEP/Kenya. Considering Korir was one of the biggest 800 talents to ever come through the NCAA system, finishing second to him — and remember, Harris was actually gaining at the end of the race — is no shame. From there, Harris went on to finish second at USAs and fourth in his semifinal at Worlds, missing the final by two spots. Harris will be the favorite to win the 2018 NCAA title, and if he continues to progress in the same fashion as the past two years, he should get the job done.
Isaiah Harris WITH his original "PSU Is 800U" wristband.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Home Town Press Is Always The Best

With his recent 2nd place finish at the USATF Championships, Tyler McCandless awakened the reporters at the Allentown Morning Call.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Attending This Years Reunion And Golf Tourney May Help Us Fully Fund The Coach Groves Scholarship!

Just got word from our Chief Laundry Officer that we are ever closer to fully funding the Coach Groves Scholarship!  Just $8,770 to go.  We usually raise $4,000 or so with our Reunion and Golf Tourney contributions which is doubled by our group's corporate employers.

In other words, this is the year you should attend to see Coach Groves get the word of a full scholarship in his name while meeting with the rest of us rabble for fun and frolic!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Our Rusty Boot Award Is Now A Springboard To National Recognition!

Last year's recipient of the Rusty Boot, the highest honor our group can bestow on anyone, has won another award at the USTFCCCA Convention!

Blog devotee Joe Clinton alerted me to this item. (Thanks, Joe.Gary Schwartz was honored with the Jimmy Carnes Distinguished Service Award at the convention.  This represents individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their service to the Association and to the sports of cross country and track & field.

I can't think of a finer person to receive this award.

(Gary) Schwartz coached for 34 years, of which included 21 years as a head coach and one award-winning season (He was named 1983 NCAA Division I National Outdoor Coach of the Year). He guided the women’s programs at Penn State and Tennessee, as well as both the men’s and women’s programs at Kansas.
Later on in his career, Schwartz spent time as an athletic administrator at Arkansas and was the technical director of the 2009 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Coach Gary Schwartz.
My favorite photo of Joe Clinton, right.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Winter Runs Are Better With Mittens

Jim "Frit" Cooper recently brought us some exclusive pics from the NCAA Regional XC Meet at Lehigh.  And he has added another post for us to reminisce about those cold State College days of yore!

He relates that former PSU Marathon Record Holder George Christopher had a big bag of his grandmother's knitted mittens in his locker to hand out to all those unprepared runners going out to "do 10" in the cold.  How many of you remember these?

For many years I ran in a pair knitted for me by Heather Carmichael as a Christmas present in 1978. And since she was from a place with more sheep than people, you know they were great.  They were even blue and white!  I'm still looking for them to take a pic.  But since I now run on the treadmill most of the time, I have misplaced them...

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Bringing Home The Hardware

Florida seemed to be the only place on the Eastern US without snow and freezing temperatures last weekend.  And Dave Zeiters used the opportunity to represent us in the Florida Senior Games.  He brought home 2 silvers and a bronze even though they didn't have his best event, the hurdles!

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Fuller Christmas For Everyone!

 Our William and Mary Connection and State College native, Brian Mount picked up this item from the Cumberland Valley Race Series last week. It's a great start to the Winter for the PSU Track Alumni Golfing Community.  Total domination at both distances!


      1st    32:55  Brian Fuller
      7th    36:34  Mary Fuller
     14th   42:05  Emily Fuller 

      1st    16:10  Mark Fuller 
      2nd   16:30  Kevin Fuller 
      9th    19:36  Katie Fuller

Friday, December 8, 2017

I Need To Get Into Shape To Run With Da' Toad!

Everyone already knows I am one of Billy Cvecko's greatest fans.  I have even made him our group's Undersecretary of Fun.  I'm a little miffed he hasn't scheduled me for one of his videos yet, but I am ever hopeful. Billy represents everything I am not.  Young, energetic, gregarious and always "glass half full" optimistic.  Thank goodness he's on our side!

Here's one of his latest videos, featuring him and Casimir Loxsom.  The videographer happens to be another well-known Nittany Lion!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Lions Get Better With Age (And Deserve Headlines)

I won't divulge her age, except to say she just entered the 60 and over age group this year.  Back in the day, she wasn't one of the Lady Lions that garnered headlines, but I am making up for that with this post.  She deserves more headlines than any of the politicians we hear from every stinking single day.

Janet Norem ran with my wife and was an acquaintance of mine back in the 70-somethings. She never knew that I admired her.  She always seemed to know what she wanted.  I still haven't figured that out yet.

Needless to say, she has done wonderful things for many, many people all around the world. I have fixed a few bunions in Central Pennsylvania...

I think she spends half her time in Northern California, and therefore was available to run the USATF Marathon Championships this year.  The same race that saw Tyler McCandless place 2nd overall.

Well, Janet placed 2nd overall in her age group too!  A splendid 3:21:16 in near perfect conditions.  And to think I almost scolded her for being there and not getting an exclusive pic of Tyler!

Congrats Janet.  I'm one of your biggest fans.

Flashback from a few years ago...
 "First up, Janet Norem, who may have the Alumni (Golfer) record for miles run on the Continent of Africa.  Somehow she ended up on the Left Coast from hometown Pittsburgh when she isn't overseas, and placed third in her age division at the USA San Diego Half-Marathon. At school, we probably spoke 3 or 4 words to each other, and she never realized how much I admired her.  Still do.  Someone who has done wonderful things for this world.  A Nittany Lion ambassador of the finest order."

Another Great Blast From The Past ("Before They Invented Color" As Daughter The Elder Always Put It!)

The World's Best Track and Field Museum (aka Mike Fanelli's Garage in Northern California) has released another oldie but goodie related to our Group.

This black and white pic from the Olympic year 1976 shows Dick Buerkle and Bill Rodgers duking it out in the lead of the Penn Relays 10K.  That Thursday night must have been a doozy!

Lurking back in fourth place in the pic is the eventual winner of the race, our very own Greg Fredericks.  It is unfortunate that he suffered an injury leading up to the Trials that year, as he seemed to be on track for an Olympic berth.  (Fredericks 28:24.6, Buerkle 28:26.4, Rodgers 28:33.6)

Also in the mix that night are some notable names mentioned frequently on the blog, including Bill Donakowski (29:13 10K) from Michigan (RIP), group friend Pat Davey (28:29.2 10K) from Tennessee and our very own Charlie Maguire (29:22 10K) and Paul Stemmer (13:55.6 5K).

An Administrator here at the blog with it all points out that the Interns missed another PSU Alum!  And it was a big error this time!  The 45.0 split of Mike Sands to anchor the 4 x 400M for the New York Pioneers.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Another Award For A Penn State Track And Field Alum!

Fellow Holmes Hall 2nd floor resident in 1978-1979, Mark Heckel was recently awarded for his service as one of America's finest Track and Field Officials by USATF.  I cannot think of a more wonderful man to receive recognition of this sort.  Intelligent, friendly, accomplished and always smiling is how I remember him.  His Official duties have kept him away from many of our Reunions, but he is never far away from our thoughts.  Well done, Mark!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Nearly A New Alumni Record In The Marathon!

Tyler McCandless placed second at the California International Marathon yesterday.  This was the USATF Marathon Championship.  His 3 minute PR 2:12:28 was just 5 seconds short of the Penn State Track and Field Alumni Record! (James Carney and George Malley, 2:12:23)

Tyler's race was remarkably evenly paced, actually a negative split, as he moved up in the standings from 10th at mid-race to his eventual second-place finish.  Congrats Dr. McCandless!

Friday, December 1, 2017

A Cold World Record And My Favorite Comedian

I haven't had much to go on lately and my day job is still far too demanding.  So I have to bring some non-PSU Track stuff to the fore.

First, a world record mile was just set on the Antarctic Continent.  4:17 seems a little slow when I remember Alan Scharsu running a 4:09 in the Ice Palace in 9 degree weather!

And here's a pic of my favorite comedian of all competing in track and field, although from the pic I can only surmise it was the discus event???

Jim Gaffigan walked onto the Purdue football team for his Freshman campaign but then transferred to Georgetown for his remainder of college.  So we can say he was a fellow Big Ten athlete, at least for a bit!
“I have so many fond memories from Purdue,” Gaffigan said. “Most seem to involve walking. I walked onto the football team and walked away after I didn't like getting my head bashed in. I remember walking to some classes that were, for some reason, at 7 a.m., walking to Hardee's at 11:30 at night, finally buying a bike, and then walking after it fell apart after two days. Go Boilers.”

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