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, February 28, 2018

It Isn't Easy To Qualify For Nationals In Indoor Track

Only the top 16 make it in individual events.  Only 12 relay teams qualify.

Penn State has its share of entrants:

  • Danae Rivers - 800M
  • Maddie Holmberg - Pentathlon
  • Isaiah Harris - 800M
  • Terrance Laird - 200M
  • Bryce Williams - Triple Jump
  • David Lucas - Weight Throw
  • Morgan Shigo - Weight Throw
  • 4 x 400M (Dan Chisena, Xavier Smith, Kier Miner, Isaiah Harris
Good luck at Texas A&M next week!

And don't forget to sign up for the Reunion and Golf Tourney!  Either with PayPal/credit card or via snail mail to Harry Smith.
One Person options:

For additional family members, add up permutations in post and use snail mail to:
 Harry Smith
            508 Washington Avenue
            Elyria, OH  44035

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Something Old(er), Something New(er), Both Are Borrowed, Both Wear Blue

I really appreciate submissions from my HUNDREDS of readers!  And I just got 2 that seem to mesh together in a good way.  Thanks to our good friends Coach Bill Preston and Bob Hudson.

First up is an article promoting the upcoming Reunion of Track and Field greats from the New York metro area in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Fred Singleton handing off to Mike Sands at the 1974 Penn Relays.

Before college, Sands was a sprinting ace for Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay High School. He ran for the Bahamas in the 1972 and 1976 Olympics. Today, he runs the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations.

 And a brand new article in the Penn Stater highlights Megan McCloskey!

And don't forget to sign up for the Reunion and Golf Tourney!  Either with PayPal/credit card or via snail mail to Harry Smith.
One Person options:

For additional family members, add up permutations in post and use snail mail to:
 Harry Smith
            508 Washington Avenue
            Elyria, OH  44035

Monday, February 26, 2018

A Slideshow From The Big Ten Indoor Championships

All photos (except 1!)  by Mark Hawkins.  The Mile, 800M and 4 x 400M are featured.

John Zeigler, Larry Mangan.

John Zeigler, Mark Hawkins, Larry Mangan.

And don't forget to sign up for the Alumni Reunion and Golf Tourney!!!

One Person options:

For additional family members, add up permutations in post and use snail mail to:
 Harry Smith
            508 Washington Avenue
            Elyria, OH  44035

Sunday, February 25, 2018

PSU Is 800U: Big Ten Dominance

The dominance of the Big Ten 800M Championships continued yesterday at The Spire Institute, with victories for the Nittany Lions in both the Womens and Mens contests.

Danae Rivers added her 2nd straight 800M victory in the Indoor event to augment the Outdoor title from last year.  That's 3 in a row!

Rivers, Danae
Penn State


Not to be outdone, Isaiah Harris made it 5 in a row with his victory in the event yesterday.  That's his third straight Indoor title to add to his 2 previous Outdoor titles.

Harris, Isaiah
Penn State


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Time To Sign Up: We're Downtown This Year!

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 -
We have blocks of rooms reserved here for $109 / night (held until April 18, 2018) - Use group code CGTFAL (814) 238-8454.
Ramada (1450 S. Atherton St) also has a small block for us at $76 / night (held until May 1, 2018) – use code CG16HA (814) 238-3001.

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!

Please send checks or money orders to:
            Harry Smith
            508 Washington Avenue
            Elyria, OH  44035

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! 

One Person options:

For additional family members, add up permutations in post and use snail mail to:
 Harry Smith
            508 Washington Avenue
            Elyria, OH  44035

 It was just too hard to include options for every permutation for additional people!

Clark Haley ‘85

Monday, February 19, 2018

"Nits At Nats"

There were 6 Nittany Lions in action at the USATF Championships in Albuquerque this past weekend.  Each were vying for a chance at a trip to Birmingham England for the IAAF World Indoor Championships.
  •  Evonne Britton   60M Hurdles   12th Place   8.16
  •  Rachel Fatherly   Shot Put            7th Place   55' 8.25"  
  •  Brannon Kidder   1500M            6th Place     3:43.78
  •  Casimir Loxsom     800M               DNF        (51.41 400M)
It has been a rough year for Casimir, but he did get his degree in December!

Men’s Heat 2  From LetsRun summary:
Cas Loxsom took things out really hard so hard that he tied up on third lap and dropped out before 600. to act as a pacer to give other runners a better shot at advancing.
24.74 Loxsom has gapped field with Brazier 5 meters back.
400 – Loxsom – 51.43 with Brazier close behind.
On back stretch of third lap, both Russell Dinkins and Brazier went by Loxsom

  • Ryan Whiting   (former Assistant Coach)  Shot Put    1st Place   67' 9"
  • Darrell Hill      Shot Put        2nd Place      65' 8.25" 
That means Darrell and Ryan are headed to Birmingham!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Bragging About Our Humble Blog

We are approaching our tenth birthday here at the blog with it all.  (And almost the 17th birthday of the group started by Clark Haley on the Penn State Golf Course.)
  • Over 3,000 posts from a range of voices.  
  • Average of 101 visitors per day for 10 years.
  • Average of more than 200 page visits per day for 10 years.
Thanks for your interest and support.  And remember, I love contributions and submissions for content.  Help spread the word on the "soon to be largest track and field alumni group in the world".

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Nice Weekend For Brannon Kidder

Brannon Kidder started out his weekend of running by helping Edward Cheserek run the second fastest Indoor Mile of all time.  He was the rabbit for the first 800M, tasked with running a 1:55 to set up the "solo" effort of Edward.

Kidder led Cheserek out, hitting 209 meters in 31 seconds and 409 in 59.x with Piazza behind him and Cheserek cruising in third. The crowd let out a roar when Cheserek crossed 809 in 1:56-low, signaling that the sub-3:50 was well and truly on. Kidder stepped aside after 850 meters, his duty done.
Edward Cheserek with his rabbits, Drew Piazza and Brannon Kidder.

Cheserek was pleased with his rabbit's efforts following his 3:49.44!
 Brannon wasn't done for the weekend.  He ran the Mile on Saturday.  He ran a PR 3:56.3.  More importantly, he crossed an official 1500M mark in under 3:39.5, with 3:39.17, thus surpassing the World Indoor Championship standard one week prior to the USATF Indoor Championships.  Congrats, Brannon.

And also in Boston, Casimir Loxsom ran in the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix 800M, placing 6th in 1:49.29The big news there is he ditched his Alumni Singlet for one of Billy Cvecko's Toad Track Club Singlets!

Photo by Tom Shiffer.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Penn State Track And Field Athletes Are So Spread Out This Week I Don't Know How To Keep Up!

So I'm packing it in on a real post and will bring you a Physics post instead.

In 1975, a forward thinking Big Ten Physicist, Jack Hetherington included his 7 year-old cat on his paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, Two, Three, and Four-Atom Exchange Effects in bcc(3)He
"As a colleague pointed out while editing the draft, Hetherington listed himself as the study's sole author, yet he had nevertheless written the entire paper using the "we" pronoun. This was against the journal's style rules, the colleague noted. Hetherington's paper would surely be rejected if it wasn't retyped."
 "Therefore, after an evening's thought, I simply asked the secretary to change the title page to include the name of the family cat."  
 He settled on F.D.C. Willard — F.D.C. being an acronym for Felis Domesticus Chester, and Willard being the name of Chester's tomcat father.

The ruse has even been repeated since by a 2010 Nobel Laureate, who included his pet hampster on a paper on gyroscopes.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Lion's Tale OR A Tale of One City, Twice

I'm not speaking of London or Paris at all.  I'm talking about the differences I see in one City across the span of 35 years. Specifically, the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia.

I was a student living in Philadelphia from 1981 to 1985.  It was a glorious time to be there.  I lived directly across the street from the main police headquarters, so I felt safe enough and in the heart of the action. (Only one person was mugged, shot and almost died from my class!)

The local sports scene was pretty good at the time.  The Phillies were good (90 win season and NL East title) and had 5 future Hall of Famers on the field at the same time often (counting Pete Rose, daggummit...)  The Eagles had been to the Super Bowl in the preceding years and were still flying fairly high.  The Flyers were pretty good and still playing in the old Spectrum.  And the Philly 76ers were riding higher than all of them, with the best record in the league.  With Julius Erving, Moses Malone and a cast of position players unparalleled in Philly basketball history.

I went to see the Phillies game on Wednesday, May 25, sitting in my usual 700 level seat at the Vet, paying $2 for the ticket (don't listen to that $5 crap at my link!).  For some reason I can't remember, my brother was with me.  As we were leaving the game, a 6-1 defeat of Marty Bystrom, a little kid approached and asked if we wanted tickets to the next days game of the NBA Finals!  The Sixers had won game one and Moses Malone had promised a sweep of the LA Lakers with his famous Fo-Fo-Fo speech.  And the Sixers were nearly keeping his word so far.

The tickets were a big disappointment to my brother and I.  They were practically empty of script, and didn't even list the teams.  They were for "Game 2 of the NBA Finals", not even a date was included.  The price printed on the ticket was the exact price the kid was asking for!  I wish I could remember the exact price that we paid the kid.  Maybe it was $10 apiece?  I'm sure it wasn't more than $12, as I never had that much money on me. I was not able to verify this with my brother.  He only remembers that the tickets were "unusually reasonable" in price!  We figured we were being ripped off, but said "What the heck?"  The kid insisted it was all on the up and up!  We even had a little extra for a bag of squished, stale South Philly soft pretzels.

So there we were the next night filing into The Spectrum to see the Sixers slay Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and the Lakers, who had beat the Sixers twice before in the '80 and '82 Championships.


We had the time of our lives watching Julius and the boys defeat their nemesis.  I taunted Magic Johnson all night, pointing out his leading the league that year in turnover-to-assist ratio!  I swear he even glared at me once.

As the teams headed to LA for the third and fourth games of the series, life got back to normal at school.  Kids today don't realize that college went well into June in those days.  Nowadays, schools often are done before May arrives.

So when the Sixers fulfilled Moses' prophesy to the promised land, we all headed into the streets of Philly to celebrate.  We naturally gravitated to South Street, where there was something for everyone.

Some recollections of that night:
  • Everyone loved everyone, without exception.  There was no hatred to be found.  Period.
  • It was the closest Philadelphia ever got to Martin Luther King's Dream.  It was the best day I ever had in considering race relations in this Country.  The rebounding prowess and superb defensive play of North Carolina's Bobby Jones made every African-American greet every White American (and every other combination imaginable) with high fives, broad smiles and genuine love.  I am not exagerating this in any way.  The same city that was spawning MOVE, was in complete harmony that night.  It felt good to be alive.
  • A few people climbed light poles, screamed and celebrated. Then climbed down.
  • Some people were noticeably drunk. And happy.
  • There wasn't a single car overturned.  No light poles were toppled.  No signs were stolen.  No fires were lit.  Every policeman was just as happy as we were. I saw no arrests in all of Center City that night. No stores were looted. No hotel entrance canopies were collapsed.  No store windows were broken.
  • I paid for 2 cheesesteaks and ate them from Jim'sAlways got 2 in those skinny days...  No one ate horse poop that night.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Best Race In This Year's Penn State National Invitational Was Named After Penn State Great Barney Ewell

"Ewell probably would have been the most decorated Olympian in the history of the games.”
-Bill Lyon, Philadelphia Inquirer
(The 1940 and 1944 games were cancelled.)

Barney Ewell.

Usually, the Mile has been the highlight of the Penn State National Invitational meet.  Occasionally the 800M has been great too.  But this year, the sprints outshined the middle distance races..  At least in my humble opinion.

An honorable mention has to go to the 400M effort of Penn State Junior Dan Chisena.  His PR of 46.27 got some Penn Relay-like ooohs and ahhhs out of the crowd.

But the best race of all was the Mens 200M.   This year's race was named after PSU great Barney Ewell to celebrate his 100th birthday.  With PSU stars Malik Moffett and Xavier Smith in the Finals, it was bound to be good!  Here's the race captured by 1979 Penn Relay Marathon victor Tim Backenstose's cell phone...

But who was that flash in the outermost lane?  It wasn't Malik or Xavier.  It was Penn State Freshman Terrance Laird in 20.79, from the same Coatesville area that brought us both Tim Backenstose and the Dawson brothers!  Wow!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Interns Reshuffled The PSU Sub-4 Listing Chronologically!

Now I owe them time and a half and all my leftover Kung Pao Chicken...  But it was worth it!  The effort is always appreciated.

Greg Fredericks          Reading AA                3:59.7      State College            8/05/78
Larry Mangan             Penn State                   3:58.4      University Park        5/16/80
Mike Wyatt                 Philly Pioneers            3:58.0      Philadelphia             5/18/80
Matt Lincoln               PSU Alum                   3:59.39i    University Park          1/27/07
Ryan Foster                 Penn State                   3:58.49i    University Park        1/29/11
Robby Creese              Penn State                   3:59.52i    Seattle                      2/11/12
Brannon Kidder          Penn State                   3:59.48i   University Park        1/26/13
Owen Dawson             PSU Alum                   3:59.74     Philadelphia             4/27/13
Colin Abert                 Penn State                   3:59.51i    University Park        2/03/18

* Someone chime in and let us know the location of Matt's sub-4!  Matt himself and Ryan Foster have chimed in via our Facebook site and corrected this "corrected" version again.  My interns are the greatest!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

And Now There Are Nine!

Colin Abert won the Mile at yesterday's Sykes and Sabock Challenge Cup at the Ashenfelter Track.  With his 3:59.51 time, he has become the ninth Nittany Lion and Alums to break the 4-Minute barrier for the imperial distance.  Congrats Colin!

Colin Abert.

He joins 6 other Americans and 2 Alums from foreign lands.  I include Matt Lincoln and Ryan Foster as honorary Americans for several reasons:
  • Matt is from Canada.  The English speaking part!  I have always said that Canada is like America's Attic.  We rarely go up there, but when we do we discover that it is filled with wondrous things and we can't wait to come back again.  He also coaches American high school students well enough for National Honors!
  • Ryan comes from Australia, which also is predominantly English-speaking.  With a cool accent. Even bettrer, he is from Tasmania.  He has also never had a single Foster's Lager, which he says is only sent to America! He has also golfed in our Tournament and performed a "Happy Gilmore" drive.  He has rejuvinated the XC/Track program at Division II Edinboro University.
  • Both have married Americans. And any of us male reprobates who are married realize that all of us "marry up".
Penn State Athletes and Alumni Breaking the 4-Minute Mile:

Greg Fredericks (Reading AA) 3:59.7 (2) University Park August 05, 1978
Larry Mangan (Penn St) 3:58.4 University Park May 16, 1980
Mike Wyatt (Philly Pioneers) 3:58.0 Philadelphia May 18, 1980
Robby Creese (Penn St) 3:59.52(i) Seattle February 11, 2012
Brannon Kidder (Penn State) 3:59.48(i) University Park January 26, 2013
Owen Dawson* (unattached) 3:59.74 Philadelphia April 27, 2013
Colin Abert (Penn State)  3:59.51   University Park  February 3, 2018

Canada      Matt Lincoln 3:59.39(i)  2007
Australia   Ryan Foster (Penn State)  3:58.49(i)   University Park  January, 2011

* Owen Dawson became the first ever to run a sub-4 minute mile wearing a Penn State Track Alumni Singlet.  He will forever be enshrined as a barrier-breaker of the first order.

Owen Dawson Sub-4 Penn Relays 2013. Photo by Matt Groves.

Here's a great map showing where athlete's first ever sub-4 were run. The dot at State College just got a little larger!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Phil Says 6 More Weeks of Indoor Track. Er, Winter.

Early February always means two things.  The Millrose Games and Punxatawney Phil predicting 6 more weeks of Winter.

My cursory view of the events at the Armory only revealed one Penn Stater on the program, Casimir Loxsom in the 800M.  Maybe if the Interns wake up before noon they will find some more...

Six more weeks of Indoor Track!
 But PSU has a long history at the Millrose Games: (From Mike Fanelli's Garage Museum!)

PAIR OF NITTANY LIONS AND A WILDCAT...culled this classic from the 1952 Millrose Games meet program out in my chilly garage...2 mile run circa 1951 with Curtis Stone, the former Penn Stater, representing Philly's Shanahan Club winning in 9:08.3 over Oly steeple champ-to-be, Horace Ashenfelter and the inimitable Browning Ross.
Web Statistics