Sunday, June 24, 2018

B1G Homie Slays Another Goliath NATIONAL CHAMPION!

It was a darn good day at the USATF Championships on Saturday.  There were numerous Nits in action, with some fine results all over...
  • First year graduate Michael Shuey placed 4th in the Javelin with a toss of 239' 9".
  • PSU student athlete Michael Biddle placed 8th in the Javelin with 230' 5". (Javelin U?)
  • Evonne Britton finished in 10th in the 100M Hurdles with 13.09.
  • Tori Gerlach also finished 10th in the 3000M Steeplechase with 10:03.12
  • Joe Kovacs heaved the big metal ball 68' 0.25" for a 5th place finish.
But in the event with that big metal ball, the overwhelming favorite to those without the knowledge that our group has, was upset in a big way.

One of these days, performances by Darrell Hill won't be called upsets anymore.  When he made the Olympic team, it was called an upset.  When he won the Diamond League it was called an upset.  And now, when "favorite" Ryan Crouser was discombobulated  and out of step in the ring all afternoon with 5!!!! fouls, they are trying to call it an upset when Darrell beats him by nearly 2 feet with a 70' 9.25" toss.

It isn't an upset anymore.  Congrats B1G Homie.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Kudos Are Appropriate

There was a time several years ago when I wasted much time away from my day job to compile a listing of the times of competitions of Nittany Lions and ex-Nittany Lions at the USATF Championships.  And of course I was criticized when I messed up a little bit...   

But now, the PSU T&F Program itself has provided us with a complete listing!  I commend them thusly! And I will steal it to spread the word further.  Go Lions.

Time (CDT) Event Competitor Entry Mark Seed
1:50 PM W 3,000M Steeple (1st Round) Tori Gerlach 9:55.52 14th
2:20 PM W 800M (1st Round) Danae Rivers 2:03.13 24th
2:40 PM M 800M (1st Round) Isaiah Harris 1:44.53 2nd
Time (CDT) Event Competitor    
3:20 PM M Hammer Throw Morgan Shigo 72.47m 6th
3:50 PM W 100M Hurdles (1st Round) Evonne Britton 12.87 10th
6:50 PM W 800M (Semis) Danae Rivers    
7:05 PM M 800M (Semis) Isaiah Harris    
Time (CDT) Event Competitor    
10 AM 100M Hurdles - Hep Maddie Holmberg

11 AM High Jump - Hep Maddie Holmberg    
1:05 PM Shot Put - Hep Maddie Holmberg    
2 PM 200M - Hep Maddie Holmberg    
2:10 PM M Javelin Throw Michael Biddle 73.02m 11th
    Michael Shuey 78.52m 2nd
2:20 PM W 100M Hurdles (Semis) Evonne Britton    
2:45 PM M Shot Put Darrell Hill 22.44m 2nd
    Joe Kovacs 22.35m 3rd
3:20 PM W 3,000M Steeple (Finals) Tori Gerlach

4:52 PM W 100M Hurdles (Finals) Evonne Britton    
Time (CDT) Event Competitor    
11:30 AM Long Jump - Hep Maddie Holmberg    
12:50 PM Javelin Throw - Hep Maddie Holmberg    
2:10 PM W Shot Put Rachel Fatherly 17.89m 12th
2:50 PM 800M - Hep Maddie Holmberg    
3:04 PM W 800M (Finals) Danae Rivers    
3:13 PM M 800M (Finals) Isaiah Harris    
Maddie Holmberg enters the heptathlon as the No. 5 seed (5,976 points).
Italic events require qualification.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

USATF Junior T&F Championships

There were some fine performances by Nittany Lions at last week's Junior Championships.  Rather than list them, I will just give the link!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Two Wonderful Additions To The Penn State Track Alumni Family

First up is the recognition as Track Athlete of the Year from the Big Ten Conference for 800U's Isaiah Harris.  In a week he will be on the line at the USATF Championships.  Will it be a continued headband, an Alumni-like Singlet, an alumni Wristband or maybe all three?

And the world got a little bit better last week by 7 pounds and 7 ounces.  Luke Fuller was born to our very own Brian and Emily Fuller.  Brian's excuse for missing this year's golf outing has therefore been sanctioned by unanimous consent of the hierarchy.  Congrats Brian and Emily.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Four More All-Americans

The Nittany Lions ended up with 3 Men scoring and 3 Women scoring.  So that means both teams ended up with 3 First Team All-Americans.  The Men placed in a tie for 18th Place and the Women placed 24th.  Another very solid year for the blue and white!

For the Men, the only one not mentioned so far is David Lucas, who placed 7th in the Discus with 186' 7".  With his National title in the Indoor Weight Throw, it certainly was a great year.

Three Lady Lions (Are we still allowed to say that?) gathered points and All-American status.  They were led by Heptathlete Maddie Holmberg in 3rd.

Right behind her, placing 4th in the rainy High Jump was Megan McCloskey with a clutch clearance of 5' 10".

And Danae Rivers closed out her Sophomore year with 8th in the 1500M and 2 of her top 3 times ever.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Isaiah Harris NCAA Champion!

I can’t wait to talk to the alumni as they’ve been so supportive of us over the years.”
Isaiah Harris

The retro Singlet is always appreciated!

There has been a long line of excellent Penn State "2-lappers" who have paved the road that we affectionately call 800U.  And never mind that there are hundreds of others that weren't 800M runners among our group that have also helped cement that moniker even into the national Press.

The 800M is my favorite race to watch and I really enjoyed running it in high school. I just didn't have the talent to pull it off on a bigger stage.  But I consider myself fairly knowledgable on the event.  Watching Penn State half-milers over the last 20 years has been really fun.

Some notable PSU 800M runners I have had the pleasure to watch in the last 18 years
  • Brannon Kidder
  • Casimir Loxsom
  • Domenic Perretta
  • Matt Lincoln
  • Owen Dawson
  • Robby Creese
  • Ryan Foster
  • Sam Borchers
Add these guys to the other generations of middle distance specialists in the preceding generations all the way back to Alan Helffrich (1922-1923 800M NCAA Champion!) and you have 800U!

But all we were missing was another NCAA Champion in modern times.  And it hasn't been easy.  In the last several years there have been overwhelming dominant winners from domestic and afar.  Were we again to be satisfied with an incredible performance only to be celebrating another second place NCAA finish? (Brannon Kidder 2015, Casimir Loxsom 2013, Isaiah Harris 2017)

Very few had Isaiah Harris being able to slay the returning winner and NCAA record-holder Michael Saruni.  Very few except Isaiah and his coach, John Gondak.  They had a plan, and they had a program.  Us lucky Alumni who visited them a few weeks ago got to see that up close and personal.  And many of us started to believe.

The race was run to precision by Isaiah.  He demonstrated his intellect and wisdom at every stage. The fast opening lap of 51.x or so (rough guess) putting him in 5th place right near Saruni. It wasn't anything he hasn't done many times before.  He didn't panic, and held steady until the middle of the backstretch of the second lap.  Anticipating the surge of Saruni, Isaiah gently eased into the lead monentarily before Saruni rushed past, gaining a two-stride lead at the finish of the last turn.  He didn't panic, as Isaiah said he "saw blood" at that point, and knew that Saruni had used too much getting to where he was.

The last 100 meters was what all of us Alumni (Golfers) have been waiting for for "a few" years now. As Isaiah slipped by the defending champion, you could sense that the drought was finally over!

Isaiah eased a tad at the finish, possibly giving up another School Record, but nobody, including him, seems to care. Penn State was on the top of the podium!

Just last week I complimented Isaiah by noting that he has excelled in the classroom also, making all of us proud.  He also demonstrated his humility in post race interviews by including the Alumni in his thoughts.  I think he realizes how much we support the program's success in every aspect.  Any future 800 specialists out there have a role model and a college destination being represented with the highest recommendation posssible.


Friday, June 8, 2018

Sharp Dressed Men (And Women)

Our Golden Putter Attendant has forwarded us a pic of the Nittany Lions at the NCAA Championships in Oregon.  Thanks to Karl Tewold for the submission!

And here's another one from the team itself...

Thursday, June 7, 2018

All-American Morgan Shigo And A Little Surprise

It was another clutch performance for the Penn State throws squad on day1 of the NCAA Championships.  Morgan Shigo bested his seeding in the Hammer Throw to make it to the Finals.  Then he tossed back-to-back School Records on his last 2 throws to place 6th with his 237' 9" heave.

And with no Nittany Lions in the 10000M race, who should I root for?  Well, how bout this guy from Michigan who I met last year over breakfast at the Hampton Inn during our Alumni Reunion and Golf Tourney Weekend...

Ben Flanagan with Coach Maguire, Michigan.
In a seeming major upset, Ben Flanagan ran an incredible 57 second last lap and won the NCAA 10K Championship for the Big M. I salute this former walk-on with all the gusto I would for one of our own.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Latest Award For A PSU Track Athlete Really Pleases Me

Recently, three Penn State Track and Field athletes were honored with Athlete of the Year honors by the USTFCCCA.  High honors for the whole season for 3 really worthy student athletes.

    Isaiah Harris, a junior from Lewiston, Maine, is ranked second nationally in the 800 with a time of 1:45.31. The Big Ten champion in the event and Big Ten Championships record holder in the 800, he is headed to Tracktown next week. Harris also anchored the winning Sprint Medley Relay at the Penn Relays in 1:44.7.
    Danae Rivers, a sophomore from Derby, Connecticut, became the first Nittany Lion to win the Big Ten Championship in the 1500. Her time of 4:10.82 in the event at the Florida Relays set a school record and ranked fifth, nationally. She will compete in the 1500 at the NCAA Championships next week.
    Maddie Holmberg, a junior from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, ranked fifth nationally in the heptathlon this year with a point total of 5976. She finished second at the Big Ten Championships in the event, and will travel to the NCAA Championships next week. Holmberg also scored in the Long Jump with a mark of 6.37m (20-103/4).
And to top it off, Isaiah Harris has been recognized as an Academic All-American as a Kinesiology Major. These three represent their Alumni fans in our group with the best any of us could hope for! Kudos, all around.

Notice the Group Wrist Band put to wonderful use!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Scenes From The 2018 Coach Groves Golf Tourney

Did I mention that I won?

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Penn State Track And Field Alumni Golfers Promoted!

Not me.  I'm still a lowly regarded employee at my own business. But I'm really better at it than I am at golf...

Ryan Foster and Jess Riden (both Officers of our group!) have been promoted in the Track World.

Ryan Foster was named Assistant Coach at Tennessee, joining former Coach Alford-Sullivan at Rocky Top.  He takes his numerous Coach of the Year honors at Division II Edinboro and his wonderful wife Kara Millhouse south of the Mason-Dixon Line.  Our Tennessee friend and All-American, Patrick Davey is delighted.  He also joins Assistant Coach Steve Waithe. The Orange is starting to get a little more Blue, isn't it?

And Jess Riden has stepped up at Stanford to Assistant Athletic Director!  Congrats.

Both have golfed in our Golf Tourney and Ryan was able to pull off the "Adam Sandler" tee shot better than anyone among us ever has.

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Good Weekend

The Nittany Lions qualified 7 individuals and the Mens 4 x 100M team for the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field in a week and a half.

  1. Morgan Shigo   -  Hammer Throw   223' 11"      10th
  2. Steph Sievers   -   Javelin       159'11"                  10th
  3. Megan McCloskey   -   High Jump     5' 10.75"    5th
  4. Isaiah Harris    -    800M                   1:46.80        4th
  5. Michael Biddle  -     Javelin               208' 6.25"     9th
  6. David Lucas   -    Discus Throw          187' 2"      4th
  7. Danae Rivers   -   1500M                     4:11.75     3rd
  8. 4 x 100M Relay  -                               39.61         12th  (Will Henderson, Anton Porter, Xavier Smith, Malik Moffett)
  9. We must not forget (I did) that Madeline Holmberg previously qualified in the heptathlon!
And Tyler McCandless has improved at every Boulder Boulder he has run, cumninating in this year's victory.

Tyler McCandless Boulder, CO M31 30:54.76 4:59
2015 - 26th, 32:35
2016 - 6th, 32:05
2017 - 4th, 31:04
2018 - 1st, 30:54

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Unsung Hero No Longer

One of Founder Clark Haley's original rules for the Coach Groves Golf Tournament was the random draw of foursomes on the Friday night before the tourney.

This ensures that most of us will meet new members of our community every year.  It also ensures that we will then realize the things we all have in common as well as learn the wonderful differences we all have.  There's nothing like golfing with a member of a 1950s National title team one year and a graduate from last year the next!

And our best-ball format means that literally anyone can participate AND contribute to the foursome. No one knows this better than 2-time winners like Brian Boyer and now ME!

Nearly every year we talk a non-golfer to play with us.  This year we persuaded Dick Geiger to jump into the tourney.  Well, maybe it took a few drinks Friday night in addition!

It turns out that Dick has some interesting credentials to solidify him as solid Officer of our group.

  • Dick related a story from 1960-something detailing a running shoe and jocks only distance run forced upon the Freshman.  (Greg Fredericks denies all knowledge of this.)  The Yanomamo from the late 70-something years must admit reverence for their elders on this point! We know that this story is true, as it was one of the first times the fledgling new Coach, Harry Groves got in trouble with the higher-ups.  This signaled the first of many Wednesday morning chewing-outs for Coach Groves during his 38 year tenure.
  • Dick was a State Champion team member of York County's Spring Grove Cross Country team which also included a friend of mine David Mosebrook, an avid track/cross country fan who ran for Coach Dolan at Lock Haven following the State Championship.  And that is the very same Coach Dolan that headed up the Freshman team of Greg Fredericks before heading to Lock Haven!  It is no wonder that Lock Haven and Penn State have a close team friendship reflected in the Dolan Duels every year.
  • It turns out that Dick was the very first of hundreds of  Coach Groves walk-ons, a group that includes me and many of my readers.  Coach Groves may be the finest coach of walk-ons to ever coach in the college ranks.  I thank him every day for the opportunity he granted me all those years ago.
  • We should also thank Dick for the generous donation to our efforts to fund the Coach Groves Scholarship.  His substantial bequeath was the one that put us over-the-top to actually fully fund the tuition scholarship in Coach's name.  Donations will continue to fully fund the scholarship to include tuition and room and board awards.

Thus, Dick has been awarded the Officer Status of Walk-On Progenitor Excelsior

Dick Geiger accepting the Rob Whiteside Brotherhood Award from Founder Clark Haley.

Dick Geiger, second from right, with his foursome and Clark Haley.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Our Founder Won Both Putting Contests

Founder Clark Haley was triumphant in both the Friday night Hotel and the Saturday Golf Course putting contest.  And he donated all of his winnings back to the total that will be given to the PSU Track Program!

Clark lines up the 50-footer that he then sunk! Photo by Digital Archive goddess Kay Warfel.

Monday, May 21, 2018

It Took Me Twelve Tries To Repeat!

Honestly, my foursome played well enough to come in 4th in our tourney of 6 foursomes.  I contributed little to the effort on a rather tough day to golf.  The foursomes picked at the Friday night reception were as evenly matched as any have ever been in our 17 year history.

But somehow, the gods shined down upon the struggling foursome of Steve Brown, Steve Brown Jr., Brian Laird and me,  making us the Champions of the 2018 Coach  Harry Groves Golf Tournament.  At (-1) for the tourney, it is one of the worst winning scores we have had.

Unfortunately, I had to leave early and didn't get to make it to the Awards Dinner and Clark Haley Comedy Show, but I will pass along the rest of the results when I can.

Steve Brown Jr., Steve Brown, Brian Laird and me.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Times, They Are A Changing.

The Alumni "Run" was sorta kinda a bust this year.  Multiple forces conspired to make things that way. Apologies all around for the problems.
  • For the first time in our 17 years (except last year's hosting of the Big Ten Championships), the track was locked up tight.  Never expected that.
  • Hastings Road was torn up and that made our usual parking area unavailable.
  • The team moved their practice time back an hour to take advantage of a break in the weather.
  • It rained the whole time.
But five hardy souls still managed a campus run, and the rest of us were ushered into the Indoor Track at 10:00AM to meet some of the athletes moving on to the Regional NCAA Championships.

Now what do I do with 4 dozen donuts and a nearly full "Box of Joe" still buried beneath my golf clubs in the back of my car?

In honor of Horace Ashenfelter.
Better luck next time.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Far Away, But Close To All Of Us

Our Official Physicist Brian Boyer, originally thought he would be with us again this weekend, possibly earning his third golf title. And he may be the only person I would be comfortable calling a worse golfer than I. But he has 2 titles and I have only 1, despite being in every single tourney so far!

Although Brian can't be with us this weekend, he still brings the noise from far away, exotic Austria.

Brian represented the IAEA quite well at a recent competition wearing his Alumni Singlet! 

One Day To Go!

People are already on their way to the 17th Annual Penn State Track and Field Alumni Reunion by plane, train and automobile.  And despite the forecast, our golf tourney has had a run of 16 straight years without cancellation.

Clark Haley and I are already en route...

And you can, of course, still join us.  The more, the merrier!  And this year we are downtown for the first time. 

Here are the cozy bunking accomadations Clark and I have arranged...

One Person options:

Monday, May 14, 2018

Ten For Twelve!

The Nittany Lions had 2 more Big Ten Champions yesterday, both from the Middle Distance ranks.

First, Danae Rivers bested the field in the 1500M in 4:27.47Greta Lindsley placed 8th in 4:32.14.

And Isaiah Harris made it six 800M Big Ten titles in a row (both Indoor and Outdoor) with a resounding 1:45.31, a new Big Ten Championship record.  Jordan Makins ran to 6th in 1:48.62.

That Outdoor title made it 10 of the last 12 Big Ten 800M titles for the Nittany Lions!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

PSU Is Javelin U Too

The first Big Ten Outdoor title of the year goes to Sophomore Michael Biddle in the javelin. 

After a strong start to the season (after playing Freshman second fiddle to an NCAA 2nd place finisher last year), Michael came through with a big PR in the final throws of the Big Ten Championship.  His toss of 239 feet 7 inches was a PR by several feet.  In addition, there were fifth and and eighth place finishes for the Lions by Matt Nawrocki and Mark Porter, totaling a big 15 points, helping the Men to second place after the first day's complete scoring.

Big Ten Javelin Champion, Michael Biddle.

Friday, May 11, 2018

One Week To Go!

17th Annual Harry Groves Golf Outing / Track and Field          Alumni  Gathering
                                   (MAY 18 – 19, 2018)

FRIDAY’S (MAY 18th) EVENTS:                                                                                                                                                                                                                
7:00pm – 11:00pm   Meet and Greet (cash bar - with the exception of kegged beer with hors d ‘oeuvres)                                                                                                                                   
Days Inn (240 South Pugh Street).  This is where both receptions will take place -
 (814) 238-8454.

Picking of the foursomes, 50-50, Putting contest, other craziness will also take place
Mad Mex is located right next to the reception hall making it convenient for Margarita nightcaps.

9:00am – 10:30am   The Alumni "run" will take place starting at the outdoor track for anyone interested in a short jog or a loop around campus (accompanied by coffee and donuts for those who don’t run!).
12:00pm – 5:30pm   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. If you need clubs, there are always folks bringing extra sets so you don’t have to worry about renting (be sure to let us know when you register so we can plan to have them there).

1:00pm – 3:00pm   Activities for those not golfing.  Depending upon weather and volunteers, we usually have a group gathering to hike Mt. Nittany or take a campus tour (either to the Creamery or the Sports Museum (may be an additional cost).  Meeting spot(s) and tour guide(s) to be announced – leaving from the hotel lobby.

Some of the present team members will be in town and possibly at the morning run at the track.  Some may join us at the evening reception (awaiting confirmation from the Coaches)

7:00pm – 11pm   Dinner reception and awards ceremony for golf outing

Will the change of venue and its proximity to campus, the fees had to increase this year to $200 for those attending the outing and both receptions – add a significant other (or another family member) $300 (if not planning to golf $250).  More Immediate family members than that, add $100 if golfing, $50 if not (children $25).  Friday and Saturday receptions without golf $130, add significant other $175, add additional $50 for each additional immediate family member ($25 for children).    Friday night reception only - $40 add significant other $75 – add $25 for additional immediate family members.  Saturday only reception $100 add significant other $150 – any additional immediate family member $50.  Saturday reception with golf included $150 – add a significant other $250 if golfing ($200 if not) – additional immediate family members $75 if golfing, $50 if not.  If you have graduated in the past three years, dump 20% of the tab. (Who knew so much math was required?)

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

PayPal and credit card options this year on the Blog or Facebook page as a matter of convenience.
(I know, about time, right!) – if utilizing PayPal  another $5 will be added to your total to defer the charge.
If you should have any other questions or comments, please let me know – Hope to see you this year! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

All In The Family

Half of you probably have no idea what that means! But Archie, Edith, Gloria and Meathead never took a run together.

But  Alan Scharsu took his entire family to a 5K Fun/Color Run!

And of course, everybody seems to have won an award.

His daughter won her age group in 28:22.

His son also won his age group in 27:05.

And Alan seems to holding a rather large trophy!

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