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...

Sunday, December 29, 2019

End Of Year Alumni Shenanigans


Old School meets New School.  Brannon Kidder takes a run with an ex-Lion teammate (and Duck!) John Zishka during the holiday break.


And Billy Cvecko interviews the top high-schooler, Katelyn Touhy before she matriculates at North Carolina State:


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Joe Kovacs Won More Than Our Performance Of The Year!


It was a very strong year for PSU Alumni.  We had incredible performances that ended up not receiving any votes in our poll.  I find it hard to believe that Brannon Kidder's appearance in the 2019 World Championship 800M Semi-Finals failed to garner even a single vote!  Even Michael Shuey didn't get a single vote for his 4th place finish at the Pan Am Javelin toss.

To be honest, both of those performances were overshadowed by other performances from the same Lions.  Brannon posted a vote for his 3:35.27 1500M and Michael came in a strong 4th place for his National Championship in the USATF Javelin.

There was a tie for 2nd place between Danae River's NCAA Championship in the Indoor 800M and Doug Walter's donation of part of his liver to his nephew.  (Wow, tough crowd!)
But again on the top of the podium was Joe Kovacs, this time for his incredible last throw victory by 1cm with a Shot Put toss over 75 feet in distance by two other competitors.

Track and Field News called this the best ever Shot Put competition and has named it as their Performance of the Year also.  I'm sure Joe will value our honor as more special!


Monday, December 23, 2019

Last Chance To Vote In The 2019 Performance Of The Year Poll

VOTE FOR YOUR TOP 3!










What are the three top performances of the year by PSU Track Alumni? Vote for 3)






Danae Rivers Outdoor Big Ten 800M and 1500M Championships.


Brannon Kidder 800M World Championships Semi-Finals. (11th)


Danae Rivers Collegiate Record in Indoor 1000M.


Michael Shuey Pan Am Games 4th in Javelin.


Danae Rivers National Champion NCA Indoor Championships 800M


Doug Walter donates part of his liver to his nephew.


Darrell Hill wins "The Match" Shot Put.


Brannon Kidder on the World Record 4 x Mile Team.


Danae Rivers School Rercord Indoor 800M.


Joe Kovacs World Championship in Shot Put with over 75' .


Womens Sprint Medley Relay Championship of America at Penn Relays.


Justin Ofatan on the World Record Under-20 World Record 4 x 100M team at Pan Ams.


Brannon Kidder's 3:35.27 1500M at Brooks PR Meet.


Michael Shuey National Champion USATF Javelin.

















Created with QuizMaker

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Ho, Ho, Ho From Coach Groves

Happy Holidays!


And don't forget to vote for the Performance of the Year 2019!!! Vote for your top 3

What are the three top performances of the year by PSU Track Alumni? Vote for 3)

Danae Rivers Outdoor Big Ten 800M and 1500M Championships.
Brannon Kidder 800M World Championships Semi-Finals. (11th)
Danae Rivers Collegiate Record in Indoor 1000M.
Michael Shuey Pan Am Games 4th in Javelin.
Danae Rivers National Champion NCA Indoor Championships 800M
Doug Walter donates part of his liver to his nephew.
Darrell Hill wins "The Match" Shot Put.
Brannon Kidder on the World Record 4 x Mile Team.
Danae Rivers School Rercord Indoor 800M.
Joe Kovacs World Championship in Shot Put with over 75' .
Womens Sprint Medley Relay Championship of America at Penn Relays.
Justin Ofatan on the World Record Under-20 World Record 4 x 100M team at Pan Ams.
Brannon Kidder's 3:35.27 1500M at Brooks PR Meet.
Michael Shuey National Champion USATF Javelin.
Created with QuizMaker

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Performance Of The Year 2019 (Vote For 3)

What are the three top performances of the year by PSU Track Alumni? Vote for 3)
Danae Rivers Outdoor Big Ten 800M and 1500M Championships.
Brannon Kidder 800M World Championships Semi-Finals. (11th)
Danae Rivers Collegiate Record in Indoor 1000M.
Michael Shuey Pan Am Games 4th in Javelin.
Danae Rivers National Champion NCA Indoor Championships 800M
Doug Walter donates part of his liver to his nephew.
Darrell Hill wins "The Match" Shot Put.
Brannon Kidder on the World Record 4 x Mile Team.
Danae Rivers School Rercord Indoor 800M.
Joe Kovacs World Championship in Shot Put with over 75' .
Womens Sprint Medley Relay Championship of America at Penn Relays.
Justin Ofatan on the World Record Under-20 World Record 4 x 100M team at Pan Ams.
Brannon Kidder's 3:35.27 1500M at Brooks PR Meet.
Michael Shuey National Champion USATF Javelin.
Created with QuizMaker

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Alumni Singlets Always Lead The Pack!

 
Thanks to W&M friend Brian Mount for the pic.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

More Christmas Goodness From Penn State Track Alumni



Artie Gilkes and Rebecca Donaghue are happy to be a long-standing part of the First Night State College running scene.

First Night State College is a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration that has taken place in downtown State College since 1994 and has become an annual tradition for many. For area runners, part of that tradition means lacing up their sneakers and taking part in the First Night 5K Resolution Run, a race started in 1997 as an addition to the daylong festivities.

For couple Rebecca Donaghue and Artie Gilkes, who are both runners and State College Area High School track and field and cross-country coaches, the First Night 5K Resolution Run has been a tradition since they moved to the area 16 years ago.
“We moved to this area because running led us here,” says Gilkes, a former Penn State track and field athlete, who explains that the couple relocated to central Pennsylvania as Donaghue’s professional running career was taking off.

Thanks to Greg Fredericks for sending me the link!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Cuteness On The Small Screen With A Little Vulgarity On The Big Screen


Mike Pfaff knows what it takes to make it onto both the Small Screen and The Big Screen.  But that took hard work and much practice.  He didn't know what his 4-year-old Emma figured out way before he did.  Just be cute!

Merry Christmas everyone.


And my very own Big Screen debut has been pushed back by production delays but should occur in March 2020.  Here's the trailer for The Dark Net.  I hope that Director, Johnny Johnson found 3 seconds of my acting satisfactory enough to include!

Caution: The use of profanity and gore are readily apparent in this video, as it is in virtually all films in the horror genre.  The f-word features prominently here.

 

Monday, December 2, 2019

This Team Got Top Billing


I think Coach Teri Jordan is starting to miss us now that she has retired to sunny Florida.  She will soon be receiving her very special edition Alumni Singlet to let her know we haven't forgotten her either.  (Don't forget to send us a pic!)

She posted a picture of the 1985 XC team at the NCAA Championships where they got 11th!  And unlike the 1984 band Spinal Tap, the Championships got top billing on the sign!





Tuesday, November 26, 2019

I'm Not Going To Tell Him It's Not OK To Cavort With Buckeyes, Are You?


We took Ryan Whiting into the Nittany Lion fold when he decided to train in State College and become a volunteer coach for PSU.  That led to some wonderful things with a multitude of throwers at Grand Ole State.  And although Ryan never did grace our Golf Tourney with his 350-yard drives he promised me, we didn't hold it against him when he moved away.

Now, of all things, Joe Kovacs has settled into Buckeye territory and even married a local.  And she became his coach AND elevated him back into the stratosphere of shot putters!  My bet is that his blood still has a blue hue no matter how many buckeyes fall into his yard.



Sunday, November 24, 2019

How Did Those Predictions From The Math Wonk Turn Out?


The Penn State Nittany Lion Women's Team placed 18th in the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute yesterday!   That's 5 straight top-20 finishes.

18 Penn State 482 53 60 111 118 140 185 209 Total Time: 1:47:19.00 Average: 21:27.80


In our previous post, we supplied predictions from 5000 simulations of the race by a "washed up grad student" .  Which Nittany Lions outperformed against the predictions?  How about the 8 Big Ten teams that make the trip to Terre Haute?

Well, 2 runners outperformed their predictions:

  • Alison Willingmyre  Predicted finish 108th,  Actual finish  73rd   +35 
  • Megan Ciasullo  Predicted finish 194th,  Actual finish  177th    +17
And as for the Big Ten Teams, only 1 team overperformed their predictions, while 6 underperformed and 1 came in just as predicted.

  5.   Michigan State     Predicted  4th      -1
  7.  Wisconsin              Predicted  7th      *
13.  Michigan               Predicted  5th      -8
18.  Penn State             Predicted  17th    -1
19.  Indiana                  Predicted  22nd   +3
22.  Illinois                   Predicted  15th    -7
23.  Ohio State             Predicted  16th     -7
28.  Minnesota             Predicted  26th     -2

Friday, November 22, 2019

How Will These Predictions Turn Out For The NCAA XC Championships?


These predictions were meticulously made by a "washed-up grad student" in a recent post on the message boards of LetsRun.com

He must have had a lot of time!

Cross Country Rankings

“Cross. . . country. . . time is relative” – Albert Einstein
These rankings are calculated using the following algorithm:
  1. Gather all of the meets which the teams in the region competed in. For each pair of meets, use the individuals who ran in both meets to evaluate the difference in their speed.
  2. Use least-squares to get an overall adjustment score for each meet.
  3. Gather the teams from last year’s regional results and form their top 7 from their most recent results. SOME TEAMS DID NOT RUN THEIR TOP 7 IN THE MOST RECENT MEET. IF THIS IS THE CASE FOR YOUR TEAM PLEASE EMAIL ME AND I WILL FIX IT. (bmazaher at caltech dot edu)
  4. For each member of a team’s top 7, adjust all of their performances according to the meet’s score.
  5. Average each runner’s performances over the season. More weight is given to recent performances. More weight is also given to performances whose adjustment is more certain.
  6. Rank all of the individuals in the meet and score the simulated results.
Interpret the results in the following way:
[Place] [Time] [Time behind leader] [Uncertainty of time] [Name] [School]
The uncertainty of the times is in seconds. That is, someone with a “time behind leader” of 30 and an uncertainty of 10 will likely run between 20 and 40 seconds behind the winner.
I have copied the Penn State top 7 predictions using 5000 simulations:
  1. Kathryn Munks    30th      (24th-62nd)
  2. Alison Willingmyre   108th    (88-131)
  3. Danae Rivers    112th     (94-151)
  4. Julia Paternain    137th    (98-153)
  5. Megan Ciasullo  194th  (157-214)
  6. Kileigh Kane   219th    (192-248)
  7. Julia Guerra     238th   (200-247)
And here's the Team Scores for all the B1G teams:

  • 4th   Michigan State    (4-6)
  • 5th   Michigan     (5-8)
  • 7th   Wisconsin     (6-10)
  • 15th  Illinois      (14-19)
  • 16th  Ohio State    (14-19)
  • 17th   Penn State   (15-20)
  • 22nd  Indiana    (19-25)
  • 26th   Minnesota  (22-28)

Monday, November 18, 2019

It Always Ends Up In An Interconnected Web


So it was the NCAA Regional XC Weekend at Lehigh, and the Nittany Lion Women won their race to qualify for the NCAA Championships for the 10th time in 11 years.

WOMEN'S TOP FIVE TEAMS
1. (AQ) #18 Penn State, 73
2. (AQ) #28 Villanova, 77
3. (RV) Georgetown, 91
4. Princeton, 93
5. West Virginia, 122

But I was much further north in Canton NY for the Division III Regionals with Daughter the Younger.  It was 14 degrees at the start and the whole course had to be plowed earlier in the week!

Daughter the Younger


In the Mid-Atlantic Division III Regional at Lehigh, two other Penn State Track Alumni Golfers had daughters competing.  Well, Rob Whiteside's Daughter the Elder and friend of the group's Martha White Collins's Daughter were competing.

Phoebe Whiteside placed 28th for All-Region Honors for Swarthmore and Valerie Collins was the 5th runner in 42nd for Carnegie Mellon's qualifying team.  Smart and talented!

All-Region!




And as we learned 4 years ago, Rob and Phoebe had hiked a substantial portion of the Appalachian Trail with Valerie Collin's Uncle.  I'm telling you, there's always a web!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Coach Groves Started In The Army

When Coach Groves missed his first ever Penn Relays after Elementary School because he was in the Army, he started a track team. Then in his second year of service they went to the Relay Carnival!

Coach really started his coaching career at Army before heading to William and Mary and PSU. 

Thank you to all who served. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

A Physics Post: Either Way, Schrodinger's Cat Is Plotting To Kill You


It's what cats do between sleeping 20 hours a day.

As to whether the cat is alive or dead in the box, some real brainiacs now have figured a way to tell without opening the box!

 I'm hoping our Endowed Erwin Schrodinger Chair for Advanced Physics, Ron Moore, will chime in about this one, but he may not.  He has been hanging out with his Wolverine Friends.


Also, the smartest person at my recent Podiatric Seminar was the Physicist who presented a lecture on radiation safety.  And he had rave reviews for what other Physicists are doing with Proton Therapies (targeted radiation treatment for cancers), such as our beloved Chair Holder.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Another Singlet Update


Mark Le faucon de' orange Hawkins just reported that the Singlets and T-Shirts are now at the printer in State College.  So Mark will soon be sending them out!

This was the biggest ever sale, with 45 shirts being sent out to Alumni (Golfers) all over the country from years 1970 to 2019!  Quite a few of them will be at the Olympic Trials next year where Nittany Lions have a very good chance of making the team in a number of events.

I will take this opportunity to thank Mark profusely for doing all the work involved without making a big deal about it.  But all of you know that it is a big deal.  Be sure to thank him yourself whenever you can.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

An Improbable Win


How can a team that came in third in the District 6 Championships and failed to advance to the State Championships end up winning it all in the State?  Can't happen, right?  (LetsRun.com thread HERE)

Wrong, because it just did this weekend.  And Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golfer Jayson Jackson helped make it happen.  He coaches the St. Joseph's Academy XC team in State College.  And even if the girls' team failed to advance to the State meet, 5 of the team members did make it on the individual requirements to make the trip.  And 5 runners make up a scoring team, so...

According to the rules of the PIAA, they count as a team in the scoring.  They then went on to run the races of their lives and not only beat both District 6 teams, but every other team in the single-A race, and climbed to the top of the podium!  Notice that Mark Haywood's Camp Hill team is third.

The coaching reach of Harry Groves extends to its 4th or 5th generation!  Well done.

 1 St Josephs Cath (6)      93    4   19   21   22   27            
  2 Marion Center (6)       116   14   18   23   29   32   49   59 
  3 Camp Hill (3)           119    9   13   17   37   43   64   73  

Sunday, November 3, 2019

A Trip To States, A Birthday Card, And I Break One of Coach Groves' Favorite Rules


I made it to the PIAA Championships for the first time in many years.  I saw a few friends and missed many others.

Group Friend Henry Klugh and Franklin.

Coach Artie Gilkes and Hannah Humphreys
And PSU Great Curt Stone's 97th birthday is next week.  Greg Fredericks has a plan to send him a big birthday card from us.  I figured everyone should send a greeting to Curt on our Facebook Page and we will include them with a nice greeting from the entire group.

Finally, I purchased a new pair of running shoes from The Inside Track vendor (Henry Klugh's store between Hershey and Harrisburg).  They happened to be a pair of the most talked-about shoe in the world, the Vapor Zoom Fly.



After my first 2 runs in them, I can assure everyone that they do indeed have springs in them (a series of carbon plates in the midsole).   This reduced my heart rate by more than 5% during my treadmill runs at the same miserable speed I have been running all along.  This, of course, violates a rule that Coach Groves holds above nearly all others.

The Marquess of Queensberry rules were adopted long ago for the sport of boxing.  Coach Groves somehow has adopted them for use in running and general life and discussed them many times with me.  Officers of the Group even adopted them for use by our Annual Golf Tourney.  (For those unfamiliar with mirth, this is all tongue-in-cheek!)

One of the rules is that springs are not allowed in boxing shoes!  It remains to the brainiacs of the sport to decide whether they are in running shoes.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

An Olympian In Many Ways


In addition to making the Olympic 10,000M team in 1980, with all-time greats Craig Virgin and Alberto Salazar, Greg Fredericks has been an Olympian in many other ways.  Each day he helps out Coach Groves at his living facility and takes him for a walk.  And he also keeps me fully loaded with post ideas and content.  Combined with his eternally optimistic attitude and family values, I know I picked the best of idols in my early running career in 1975.  Hats off for Greg!

First up is a video of the Olympian Recognition at the recent PSU White-Out game.  Greg actually tips his hat to us in this one!



Next is an interview with "the Moses" of PSU Cross-Country, Curt Stone.  (He led us through the desert to the promised land of the NCAA Championship by recruiting and assembling a storied group, including all 3 Ashenfelter brothers.)  Horace told me that if it wasn't for Curt, none of this would have ever happened.


Greg was also the first to alert me to the upcoming end to Mark Parker's tenure as CEO of Nike.



Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Singlets Are Coming!


And the t-shirts...

Don't worry.  The very busy Officers of this Group haven't forgotten about your orders for Alumni Singlets and T-Shirts.  If we haven't been in touch with you yet, soon we will make sure of your order and get the prestigious parcel to you to show off to the world!

There were around 30 new orders, with even more interest after the "deadline".  That will end up bringing our total to more than 300 out in the wild.  The Soon-To-Be Largest and Most Active Track and Field Alumni Group in the World keep getting stronger and stronger.

Diamond League Champion, Darrell Hill owns one!

Former World Best Indoor 600M runner, Cas Loxsom owns one!
 

Monday, October 21, 2019

An Unorthodox Way To Try For A Performance Of The Year Award


I have always said that you can win our annual award for anything, not just performances on the Track or Field or Cross Country Course.  Well, Doug Walter took me at my word and has a very fine performance to add to this year's voting.

Doug grew up in Chambersburg, PA with his Uncle Nephew* Nate Miller more like a brother than an uncle nephew. With Nate having recent health problems, Doug has jumped in and donated a portion of his liver to Nate in a recent surgery (or series of surgeries) at John Hopkins Hospital.  Anyone who knows even a little bit about this surgery knows it is not to be taken lightly.  Nate endured at least three surgeries totaling more than 24 hours.  Doug is just getting back on his feet after several days.  My prayers are with them both.  Doug, you get an automatic entry in this year's Performance of the Year!

Doug and Nate, preop.

Doug Walter, postop.
Thanks to Jake Bartholomy for alerting me to this story.   * Brian Boyer reports that Nate is Doug's nephew.  This blog wouldn't be what it is unless I get basic facts wrong!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Olympians In Beaver Stadium


Penn State Track and Field Olympians were honored on the field during the White-Out Game with Michigan.  Included were two of my heroes, Greg Fredericks and Curt Stone.  Curt was actually the brains and muscle behind Penn State's emergence as a Cross Country powerhouse in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  He recruited nearly all the athletes who made up a couple of NCAA Championship teams.  He will soon be 97 years old!

Greg Fredericks on the Jumbotron.

Curt Stone, center.


There are Track Alumni Golfer platinum points in store for anyone who can fill in all the names in the second photo!

That was quick!    Greg Fredericks, Steve Hayden, Curt Stone, Connie Moore and Shana Cox with AD Sandy Barbour.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Another Visitor For Coach Groves


Al Sheaffer, class of 1969 visits Coach Groves last weekend.  Photo from Greg Fredericks.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A Lot Of Familiar Faces


The 1982 XC Team still had a lot of comrades in common with my last team in 1980.  With the addition of so many "youngsters" who attend our Reunion and Golf Tourney each year, it makes for a trip down Memory Lane.

Please make comments below, or on our Facebook Page. 



Thursday, October 10, 2019

I'm Ready For More Abuse: Rankings Of The All-Time Indoor Alumni Records


As the third job I have in this current busy climate, this blog has a very good reputation for inaccuracy, mistakes and overall "I have to look that up".  I take abuse on just about everything I post, but posts involving statistics bring it from every corner of the world. So as an introduction to these marks, please update me on any inaccuraccies, mistakes or "I have to look that up".

Here are the tops marks for Penn State Mens Track Alumni Records from all-time as per the IAAF Scoring Tables.  These were compiled by Matt Grove from Coach Groves' notes and amended by all of us over time.  Undoubtedly, there are mistakes.  But that gives us all an opportunityy to get together in a collegial fashion and have a little fun along the way.   Hee hee hee

  1.  600M          1226        1:14.91                         Casimir Loxsom '13                  2017 (WB)
  2.  Shot Put      1209        70' 5.5" (21.47M)         Joe Kovacs '12                          2014
  3.  800M          1196        1:46.13                         Casimir Loxsom '13                  2017
  4.  Mile            1181        3:56.06                         Brannon Kidder '16                   2018
  5.  1500M        1168        3:39.17                         Brannon Kidder '16                   2018
  6.  60M HH     1137        7.70                              Mike Shine '76                           1978
  7.  5000M        1117        13:39.27                       James Carney '01                       2005
  8.  2 Mile         1107        8:35.0                           George Malley '77                     1979
  9. Heptathlon   1099       5827 pts.                       Ryan Olkowski '02                    2005
  10. 200M           1096       21.25                             Ryan Olkowski '02                    2003
  11. TJ                1082        53' 2.75" (16.22M)       Ricardo Hall                              1995
  12. HJ                1081       7' 2.25" (2.19M)            Dave Kriz '96                            1999
  13. 1000M         1079       2:22.66                          Randy Moore '85                       1986
  14. LJ                1073        25' 3.25" (7.7M)           Rob Boulware '87                      1988
  15. 60M            1059        6.77                               Mike Shine '76                           1978
  16. PV               1056        17' 2" (5.23M)             Rick Kleban '85                          1988
  17. 55M            1056        6.1*  (6.34)                  Barney Ewell '42                        1947 (WR)
  18. 55M            1056        6.1*  (6.34)                  Mike Sands '75                           1980
  19. 300M            995         34.5                             Mike Sands '75                           1976
* 0.24 secs added to hand times as per IAAF standards.
 
Web Statistics