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...

Friday, September 28, 2018

Many Members All In One Place At One Time (Long, Long Ago...)

If you wanted to get the most group members and Friends of the Group in one race outside of an actual team race, there couldn't be a better one than the Arts Festival Race.  In the early years of the race, it consisted of two 5 mile loops of the campus, starting and finishing at Rec Hall.

Many team members and graduates were, of course, hanging around State College for the hoopla surrounding the rather new Arts Festival.

So in 1978, more than 500 toed the line, and among them in order of finish!
  • Greg Fredericks
  • Jim Allahand
  • Jim Clelland
  • Michael Wyatt
  • Bob Snyder
  • John Zeigler
  • Frit Cooper
  • Dan Draper
  • Gary Black
  • Charlie Maguire
  • David Baskwill
  • Bill Kvashay
  • Tom Clarke
  • Don Ziter
  • Kevin O'Brien
  • Hugh Hamill
  • Nick K
  • Carl Bechdel
  • George McWilliams
  • Mark Haywood
  • Brian Mount
  • Bob Hudson
  • Terry Losch
  • Peggy Cleary
  • Martha White
  • Kim Long
Other notable names:
  • Bill Reifsnyder
  • Sam Bray
  • Sue Crowe
  • Karen Hollick (my Podiatry School classmate)
  • Ray Feehery (another Podiatry School classmate)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Sometimes My Posts Turn Out To Be Something Entirely Different Than I Intended

I was planning on a post detailing the numerous PSU Alumni Golfers at the Reunion of the State College High School Cross Country team.   But other things struck me as worthy of a post.  Including a party I came across at a really weird time.

While the group does not...
  • condone under-aged drinking
  • condone excessive alcohol consumption
  • condone drinking and driving
this very well may be the greatest party I have ever witnessed...

This was Saturday morning on South Pugh Street, right across the street from the parking garage of our newly adopted Reunion Hotel, the Days Inn.  And that was after the Nittany Lions played a late night game in Illinois.  My hat was tipped to the die-hard partiers who numbered in the hundreds.  They had already begun to scatter by time the first police car came.  Eventually, 4 police cars were there.  There were no arrests and everyone ended up smiling as the crowd happily cleaned up the mess and disbursed.  Like it never even happened!

This was less than half the crowd at its peak!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Another Reunion

Mad Mex was the scene of another reunion last night, with a 75% Nittany Lions concordance.
It was actually a Reunion of the State College Little Lion 4 x 880 yards PA State Champs in 1978!
This included from right to left, Martha White, Bev Pazur, Terry Sweitzer, and Paula Froke. Only Martha left State College for the pastures of UVA.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Barkley Dogs. Even One Named Barkley!

The man in charge of the Barkley Marathons, Lazarus Lake, is every bit of the eccentric stereotype one would expect.  But the man behind Lazarus Lake, Gary Cantrell, is nothing of the sort.

In real life he is a retired accountant who just completed a walk/jog across America.  His feat ended just the day before he had to be back in Tennessee for the recent Barkley Fall Classic.  It took him 126 days from the Atlantic Ocean in Connecticut to the Pacific in Oregon.  Read his daily posts...

Also, it turns out that Laz is an author.  When he found an abandoned dog that had been shot in the rural Tennessee mountains, he saved him.  After twice trying to find a suitable home for the dog, the dog kept finding his way back to Laz.  so he named him "Big" and published all his adventures in book form. 

And even our very own Erwin Shroedinger Endowed Chair for Advanced Physics, Ron Moore got into the action.  At last years Barkley race, Ron couldn't run and was crewing for another when 5 puppies were found abandoned in the wilderness.  All were eventually adopted, with Ron taking one home which he named Barkley.  (I think several others share the same name!)

Barkley, center 2017.

Barkley 2018.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Where Have The Fullers Been?

Well, everybody knows I can't tell any of them apart!  They missed this year's Reunion and Golf Tourney for sanctioned and approved reasons. They have been getting married, having babies and buying houses, is all I know.

And now one has snagged a trifecta of races culminating in the York White Rose Run. ( I ran the first of these, oh so many years ago!)

Brian Fuller, the handsome one, (hee hee hee) won the 5-Mile race in 25:31.  The fact that he was wearing our Alumni Singlet garners him extra mulligans in next year's Golf Tourney.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Getting Better With Age (And Sponsor Bling!)

I plan on taking way too much credit for Ron Moore's continued improvement in his quest to run the Barkley Marathons.  (Honestly, I deserve none.) He ran the baby brother Barkley Fall Classic for the third time yesterday, and had one of his best ultra-marathon performances ever!

Luckily for me, he modeled the Nike Dri-Fit t-shirt I had made up to spread the news of my Podiatry Practice to eccentric types in rural Tennessee.  I expect the appointment calls to commence early Monday morning.  Plans are already underway to expand the sponsor equipment to get Ron over-the-top.

Ron was 25th overall (out of >400 entrants) with a time of 9:57:22 in the 50K rugged trail race.

Next up:  How dogs figure prominently at the Barkley

Friday, September 14, 2018

Even His Little Brother Is A Horrible Criminal

We have talked a little bit about The Barkley Marathons before.  Tomorrow marks the "other" race in the Frozen Head State Park in rural Tennessee.  Called the Barkley Fall Classic, the race is only about a fourth of its older, more criminal brother.

Both of these races were conceived by Lazarus Lake (Gary Cantrell) after noting that assassin James Earl Ray only managed to get 8 miles in 55 hours from Brushy Mountain Penitentiary when he escaped following his conviction for killing Martin Luther King Jr.  Cantrell and his friend commented that they could get at least 100 miles in that time frame.  Ray was found huddled and covered in mud and was overjoyed to be recaptured.  The desolate mountainous landcape surrounding the prison posed a more formidable escape deterrent than the waters off Alcatraz.

That's when Gary Cantrell's Dr. Jekyl became his Mr. Hyde, Lazarus Lake.  He made up a trail ultramarathon that is recognized as one of the most difficult races in the world.  In its more than 30 years, only 15  16 people have managed to finish the race.  And it is even more sadistic than that indicates.  Some of the most fit and tough people you have ever met wouldn't stand a chance at the Barkley.

The rules of the race are extraordinary enough, but that only scratches the surface of the eccentricity of the whole thing and the people it attracts.  From the entry requirements shrouded in mystery, to the pre-race dinner of under or overcooked chicken, the mind-boggling items just accumulate.  The start of the race is signaled by Lazarus lighting a cigarette!  Barely a sound...

Just as I am fascinated by mountaineering and Everest, I am attracted to all things Barkley.  But I would never, ever think of undertaking either.  And yet into this world emerged my good friend (on the internet, at least!) Ron Moore, our Erwin Shrodinger Endowed Chair of Advanced Physics.  Ron started out as a brilliant and talented student-athlete under Coach Groves.  He emerged as an accomplished Physicist, family man, and unfortunately, a trail ultramarathoner!  I don't know what happened...

After a stint as the man in charge of the world's most powerful nuclear accelerator, he somehow ended up in Tennessee, not far away from the beast named Barkley.  There is way more involved in this story, but it may take me a long time to ferret it all out.

Ron's goal is to make it into the 40-unlucky souls every year that receive the condolence letter from Lazarus indicating they have been accepted into the big race.  Until then, he has been toiling in many ultras in preparation.

That's where I come in.  I have agreed to lend Ron a hand should he ever get into the Marathons.  I will be a mostly useless member of his crew and sponsor his roughly $2 entry fee and even supply an old PA license plate for "The Wall"  Laz has already built without any congressional approval!  (It's a wall of license plates from the birthplaces of all entrants over the years). I may even haul out Podd 2.0, my RV, so Ron will have a place to await the start of the race and collapse when he is done.

I even managed to supply him with a couple of Nike dri-fit shirts for his Fall Classic race tomorrow.  Let's all wish him luck in the race!

He will need a podiatrist tomorrow.

He is representing all of us.
Podd 2.0 with my modeling partner.

Next Up: An update on Ron's race and just how important dogs are when thinking about the Barkley.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A Silver Lining?

This horrible storm in the Atlantic threatens to flood my basement even before it gets here.  We sure have received a lot of rain this year.  But maybe, just maybe, there is a kid who will have just as much fun as I did in 1972!

From the blog archives in 2009...

The Best Week of My Life

1972 was a great year. Nixon was at his peak, the Vietnam War was about to be ended and Americans had been on the Moon 5 or 6 times. My sport was basketball, and I needed to get much better at it to compete with the likes of teammate Curt Clawson (who later became the greatest shooter Coach Keady of Purdue ever saw, including Michael Jordan!) I opted for the prestigious Pocono Mountain Basketball Camp run by Coaches Bill Foster and Harry Litwack. I headed off with spirits high and with ridiculous sneakers not really suitable for basketball.

My joy turned to ecstasy when I found out that David Thompson was going to be my Coach for the week. After his sophomore year at NC State, he wasn't yet a household word, but he was certainly one of the premier young players in college ball. His teammates Monty Towe and Phil Spence were with him. Tom Burleson had gone to another camp.

The first day was spent getting to know the camp layout and the set up for the coming week of intense drills, practices and games. Then, the rain began. Hurricane Agnes had hit Florida and meandered up the East Coast, delivering torrential rains which was only was made worse when it stalled over land. Worst hit happened to be where we were in the Poconos. All roads were washed out and we were marooned at our camp. Only the two indoor courts were usable by the hundreds of kids there, many counselors staying elsewhere weren't available, and we were on our own mostly. Lord of the Flies type stuff, may I add?

When the bridge over the little stream leading to the indoor courts washed out when it became a raging river, we improvised by swinging across the stream on a rope hanging from a tree. Those little kids that invariably fell in were retrieved downstream with the help of a dam we fashioned out of canoes left over from the camp's previous life. We never lost a single camper! Each day became worse with the rain and the inability of anyone to reach us from the outside. The menu deteriorated noticeably each day, with meals becoming a mish mash of whatever was available. The nightly movie reel (the World War II flick, Triple Cross) was repeated each night, and all of us learned the entire dialog by the end of the week. We were able to shout the words to the entire movie before the actor would, which somehow never got old. I remember the joy on David Thompson's face with this each night, pure innocent joy. I find it hard to believe that he later ended his basketball career in the throes of substance abuse.

Days were spent watching the college guys play pick-up basketball. Only one court at a time was available, as they tore down rim after rim with spectacular alley-oops and jams (Monty Towe and David Thompson invented the alley-oop!) none of us could believe. Those handy with tools would remake the backboards and rims on the one court as the players switched to the other.

Players were true amateurs in those days, and none of them was receiving any money outright, just room and board (eating the same crap the rest of us were!). We supplemented David by putting quarters on top of the backboards. Any quarter he jumped up and retrieved was his by default. And he pocketed a lot of change that week. I've been challenged on this many times, but I saw him do it hundreds of times. His vertical leap was unbelievable, even with just one step. He had a kid follow him just to hold all of his quarters. And I would have volunteered for the duty if someone else hadn't gotten there first!

It was a simply magical week, and I didn't mind eating Cream of Wheat for three straight meals by the end of the week. When the rain finally stopped and my parents picked me up, I was amazed to see all of Pennsylvania flooded. We didn't have a TV and no one bothered listening to the radio, we were there to watch basketball and there was none better than what was on the court live.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Physicists Solve An Age Old Riddle, One Of Our Own Is Amazing, And I'm Disappointed No One Cares About My First Modeling Gig

Physicists have figured out the answer to the age old riddle of "what came first, the chicken or the egg".

And it's both!  It has something to do with quantum Physics and evolution.  I sum it up as this: An almost-a-chicken and another almost-a-chicken got together and did what almost-a-chickens do when Barry "Almost-a-chicken" White is grooving and an egg was created.  But in that egg, a mutation of some small stature made what we call a chicken, and voila, we have an egg and a chicken at the same time. 

Meanwhile, congrats to Doreen Statare McCoubrie in her American Record Age 55 Mile time of 5:30.31 !!!  Unbelievable talent and range.

And here's my first foray into modeling.  I got the oppotunityto pose with the Nittany Lion to promote the Grange Fairgrounds Campground.  The billboard is on 322 just south of Seven Mountains.  The Grange is a great place to tailgate for Nittany Lion games.  Check it out. 

Photo by Greg Fredericks.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

I Don't Like The NCAA XC Tiebreaker Rule

To be honest, I feel a tie should stay a tie.  But if a tie absolutely has to be broken, the current rule leaves me a little underwhelmed.
Ties in team scoring shall be broken by comparing in order the place finish
of each of the five scoring members of the tied teams. The team with the
majority of winning comparisons shall be awarded the higher place.
Which method of breaking ties would you prefer?
  1. The current comparison of runners one through five. 
  2. 6th place finisher.
  3. Let it remain a tie.
  4. Other.
Here, the usual suspects hash it out on LetsRun.com

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A Quiz For Smartypants: The Closest Cross Country Race I Have Ever Seen

Too bad it was in the pouring rain or I would have enjoyed it more!

Daughter the Younger started her college Cross Country career over the weekend at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York.  I was lucky enough to be able to attend.  Even though it was in a downpour from just before the gun until the last runner finished.

I'm a big fan of all levels of cross country.  There doesn't have to be world class runners involved for it to be exciting and fun to watch. Being in a level with which she is competitive makes it much more enjoyable for Daughter the Younger.

Hartwick College is in the Empire 8 Conference in NCAA Division III  (THAT's Important for the Quiz At The End)

My daughter started a little fast but didn't fade much at all.  She finished 10th in the dual meet, sixth for her team, displacing the fifth-place runner on SUNY Delhi to make the score a 28-28 tie.

The finishers in the race were as follows:
  1. Hartwick
  2. SUNY Delhi
  3. SUNY Delhi
  4. Hartwick
  5. SUNY Delhi
  6. Hartwick
  7. SUNY Delhi
  8. Hartwick
  9. Hartwick
  10. Hartwick
  11. SUNY Delhi
  12. SUNY Delhi
  13. SUNY Delhi
  14. SUNY Delhi
  15. Hartwick
 So the final scoring was:
Hartwick 1+4+6+8+9  = 28
SUNY Delhi  2+3+5+7+11 = 28

So now for the Quiz for Smartypants!  (I know there are numerous PSU Track Alumni (Golfers) who know the correct answer to this question.)

Which team is the winner of the Meet?  And why? No cheating; Coach is watching you!

And an update on our Nittany Lion Campus friends XC Openers:


Sunday, September 2, 2018

A Fascinating End To The Track Season Only A Day Before The Beginning Of The Cross Country Season

It was a long season for Darrell Hill.  He began his campaign right in the heart of Happy Valley in the Penn State National while wearing his new Alumni Singlet!  And he kept it going all the way through the Diamond League Final in Zurich.

It was his best and most consistent season, with his first National Title to his credit.  At the Diamond League Finals, he defended his title, coming up just a bit short in second place, but with a truly remarkable series of throws all over 22 meters.  Each of his throws were better than his previous season's best.  He ended with a 22.40 meter heave (73' 6" for Muricans!), which was barely under his all-time best.  Congrats, Darrell.  It's still fun watching all your exploits.

Darrell Hill and the Shot Put Crew in Zurich.
The very next day, the Nittany Lions teams took to the great course at Division II Lock Haven for the Dolan Duels.  The meet is named after Coach Jim Dolan, who helped recruit and coach our very own Greg Fredericks just a few years ago!

Both teams scored perfect wins in the effort:

1 Abert, Colin Penn State 17:41.13 1
2 Wing, Owen Penn State 18:10.13 2
3 Tomasko, Alex Penn State 18:12.87 3
4 McGowan, John Penn State 18:26.29 4
5 Bobbitt, Brady Penn State 18:32.21 5
6 Hontz, Brandon Penn State 18:43.56 6
7 McDevitt, Billy Penn State 18:50.61 7
Photo by Greg Fredericks.
1 936 Paternain-Muniz, J Penn State 13:54.42 1
2 937 Rivers, Danae Penn State 13:58.63 1
3 940 Willingmyre, Aliso Penn State 14:08.76 1
4 935 O'Shea, Moria Penn State 14:15.02 1
5 933 Munks, Kathryn Penn State 14:21.50 1
6 939 Williams, Jordan Penn State 14:26.08 1
7 938 Trucilla, Grace Penn State 14:32.07 1

Photo by Greg Fredericks.
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