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...

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Diamond Points! And Ann Arbor welcomes a Lion

Finally a week off from the horrible grind that is work, a four-letter word that ends in "K". I'm headed to Northern Michigan and hopefully a long distance from my  normal world.

My layover is right next to U of Michigan's campus. But I am too tired to take a pic of anything other than the basketball court of the Residence Inn. Tomorrow, it's full fledged RV living for a week!

On the track in Paris, Isaiah Harris ran a PR in his first Diamond League race. Fourth place in 1:44.42! That's worth some points, but I am too lazy to look it up. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Happy Birthday To The Original Rusty Boot

Happy Birthday Bill Whittaker!

Hugh Hamill, Bill Whittaker and Coach Groves. 1980-something. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

USATF Silver Medalist Isaiah Harris

"I have one year left, so I want to graduate and get my degree. Everything has been working well with . I don’t see a reason to switch things up when I know it works."
-Nike Pro Isaiah Harris.

His three year Penn State career ended on Saturday, but Isaiah Harris will be back in State College next Fall to finish his degree.  He signed on with a Nike contract before the Finals of the USATF 800M Championship.

A game race, with no real mistakes, ended with a second place to resurgent Clayton Murphy after a slow first lap.  Well done Isaiah!

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?

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