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...

Thursday, January 31, 2019

A Very Cold Throwback Thursday


Ice Station LaCrosse: Crossing The Mississippi

I have run in 115 degree weather, and I have run in -23 degree weather.  This is the story about the -23 degree episode in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.  I bring you this tale after being reminded of it by of our great Throws Coach Patrick Ebel, who spent quite a bit more time there than I did.

The year was 1985 and I was getting in my clinical experience in podiatric medicine prior to graduation that year.  I had signed up for a month at a top-notch facility, the Gundersen Clinic.  Think of it like the Mayo Clinic without all the fat, hassles and calories.  I had learned how good a program it was for aspiring Residents of Podiatry.  But I hadn't figured about the time of year I would be there, and I ended up with January.  In Wisconsin!  Oh well, I'm sure I could handle that...

Unlike nowadays, booking tickets to get there was an over-the-phone affair, unless you went to a travel agent.  I got a great deal on a 2-flight combo from Philadelphia to LaCrosse on a major airline and thought nothing more of it.

December 31, 1984 came and I grabbed my things and took off on my 1 month-long adventure of learning.  The first flight took me to Minneapolis in big plane luxury.  Well, what I thought of as luxury anyway.  I had an hour to spare and went to sit at the gate for the connecting flight to LaCrosse.  I was plenty early and no one else was there, so I casually took a nap.

I was awakened by a gentleman in a pilot uniform who asked if I was headed to LaCrosse.  I answered in the affirmative and he helped me grab my stuff and we headed for the door.  It opened to the tarmac where we trudged across the macadam to a very little commercial plane.  We stuffed my bags into the open hatch and hopped onto the plane.  There was still no one else around.  I thought I was being treated special and figured others would be along any minute.  It was a nineteen-seater.  I was further startled when the gentleman closed the door, fired the beast up and we began taxiing toward the runway!

Turns out he was the pilot and I was the only passenger for the flight.  I then figured that there had to be a stewardess hiding somewhere I couldn't see, but none ever came.

Once the surprise almost left me, I napped a little bit more.  Why waste any time to rest prior to a month as an unpaid intern?  I was again awakened by a gentleman in a pilot's uniform.  MY PILOT was sitting next to me starting a conversation with me!  And I was in the back of the plane.  I sneaked a glance up front and must have looked panicked as the pilot exclaimed "Don't worry, it's on autopilot." as if I had ever been on a plane without a pilot and should relax like everyone else on the planet would!

We talked briefly and he resumed the controls, telling me "This will be bumpy, but it always is because of the terrain of Southwestern Wisconsin".  True to his word, the flight became quite like a little roller coaster you rode as a kid at a church carnival.   Still, it was really scary to someone like me, who hadn't flown much at all prior to that.

Once we landed, I was thinking about kissing the ground, but was dissuaded from it because it was REALLY COLD!  The thermometer prominently displayed at the airport read -23 degrees.  I suppose the locals have some sort of pride about it.  And I was the only person I ran into wearing a hat.  This was before the when every damn hipster in the world wears a knit-cap 24/7.  I figured my bizarre start to the month was over, but I was wrong!

I hailed a cab for the short trip to the rather large complex of the Gundersen Clinic and my temporary apartment among the medical students.  I was looking forward to a little down time prior to checking in with my mentors.

But the cab stopped dead on the two-lane road with a line of stopped cars ahead of it stretching into the distance.  Up ahead were several cop cars with lights flashing.  More cops sped by us in the opposite lane, all converging at the same spot ahead.  It was just an open field covered by the snow, like everywhere else I looked? It was over an hour until the flashing lights ceased, and the cars started to leave.  And then....   Nothing.  We just completed our journey with nothing at all to see, and that was that?

It was only the next morning when I read the paper that I learned what had held us up.  It happened to be "just a burning body without a head or hands left burning beside the road"Welcome to Wisconsin!

And since I always try to link the blog to running, golf, or physics, I will tell you that I don't think it ever got above 0 degrees during the whole month.  And I took a run across the Mississippi River, and I never saw any moving water. Ever.

The highlight of my runs there were the beer crystals hanging in the frozen air from the Heileman Brewery along the river (brewing that great Old Style lager as seen in the Blues Brothers movies).  You could actually taste the beer instead of merely smelling it!  At -23 degrees, every run was a beer tasting.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Centre County Legend

Steve Gentry

Steve Gentry was recently inducted into the Centre County Sports Hall of Fame. Gentry won two PIAA cross country championships and in track he was a champion and a runner-up in the mile, was second in the half-mile and anchored the winning 4x800 relay team for State College. He was second at the National Indoor Championship mile.

At Penn State he earned three letters in cross country and three in track.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Walls Speak

Our intrepid Chief Laundry and Morale Officer posted this to our Facebook Page following the Penn State National in response to my wife's photo of a mutual friend's plaque on the wall of the Horace Ashenfelter Complex.

Lest we forget...

Our sport is an ongoing mix of things new and historic, young and old. While a group of alumni watched the current crop of Nittany Lions ply their trade quite aptly last weekend, those of us in the stands traded stories of workouts and races past - we're all faster by the way. We also spoke of teammates and friends who are still with us and those who have left us to remember them fondly. One of those Lions we remembered was Charlie Maguire who left us all too soon a number of years ago. Here is a photo of a young Charlie, who in 1969, had a world of opportunities ahead of him. I'm glad his likeness adorns the walls on both the east and west sides of the Horace Ashenfelter Indoor T&F facility at Penn State.  -Larry Mangan.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

A School Record, A World Record, A Visit With Coach And a Very Good Meal

First up, the unbelievable Danae Rivers bettered her own 800M School Record at the Penn State National yesterday with the NCAA leading time for 2019, 2:02.94.  She also leads the nation in the 1000M with the Collegiate Record .

But up in NYC at the same time, Brannon Kidder turned in the fastest split on the Brooks Beasts team in the 4 x 1609M race (otherwise known as the 4 x Mile).  His third leg of approximately 3:56.8 (via Flotrack) set the team up to demolish the existing indoor world record!

Before the whole afternoon of invitational events at the Horace Ashenfelter Track. several Nittany Lion greats visited Coach Groves at his room to calm him down from the recent horrible events right outside his residence.  Mark Hawkins brought word of his 5:32 Mile at the track on Friday night AT THE AGE OF MUMBLE MUMBLE..

Greg Fredericks, Mark Hawkins and Larry Mangan with Coach Groves.
And to cap off my whirlwind and unexpected trip to State College for the meet, I had dinner with the wonderful Fredericks family. It just doesn't get any better than this! 

Greg, Jeffrey and Anne Fredericks. Many lobsters were harmed in the prelude to this photo!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Half Marathons Are Everywhere Now

Back in the day, the horrible, horrible Reading Pagoda Half-Marathon was the only one I ever heard about.  It was a dreadful run, all uphill the first half and all downhill the second half.  I never really ran well there, but "Noisy" Jim Clelland did win the event one year in a very good 1:07 time.

Naples, FL was the scene of a half this past weekend that attracted a couple of Nittany Lion greats.

Tyler McCandless won the Mens race  and Stephanie Pezullo placed second for the Women.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Set The Date Aside!

Several inquiries have been received at Blog Central as to the dates for this year's Alumni Reunion and Golf Tourney.  So it is certainly time to alert the troops and get them to set the date aside.

May 17,18

Again, the headquarters will be downtown at the Days Inn.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

PSU Is 1000 U?

With Danae Rivers' first meet of the Indoor Season, Penn State became the holder of both Collegiate Records in the 1000M run.  Previously, Brannon Kidder achieved the title for the Men with his 2:18.26 in 2016.  The record still stands.

Danae's record eclipsed the previous mark by more than 2 seconds with 2:38.58.

(In addition, Ryan Foster still holds the Australian National record for the event.)

Danae's strong performance during the XC season seems to indicate that even more wonderful things are in the works.  The combination of raw speed, increased endurance, and tactical experience are combining to make for an interesting future for Danae and all of us watching.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Against Medical Advice

Spouse the Better completed the Disney Half Marathon this morning despite breaking her ankle less than 3 weeks ago. This continues a 12 year streak of the race.

As her podiatrist, I knew she would do this and nothing would stop her. And despite walking with a CAM boot, she passed many runners in the "race". She was powered by the autograph of Olympian Jeff Galloway. I ran 2 miles on the hotel treadmill in a slightly faster pace. Slightly. Never bet against my wife. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Barkley Is Famous!

Ron Moore is still on the weight list for the Barkley Marathons (fingers crossed), but his adopted dog from the course in Frozen Head State Park is now a star in Runners World!

Ron tried to wear his Apple Hill Podiatry shirt for the filming, but I guess he was overruled.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

I Really Do Use My Treadmill

I had my treadmill serviced last week.  It had run out of wax and it was sounding a bit louder lately.  Vitu Chiwaka of A.I. Fitness in New Cumberland, PA fixed it up just fine.  So I can add to the mileage on "The Beast".

Yeah, 23,304 miles in 15 years.  Not counting the scores of miles I have actually run outside!  hee hee hee

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Will This Be Another Good Year For 800U?

With six Freshman with times of 1:52 or better, this may prove to be an interesting year.

Andy Roth helps spreads the word!

More future watches?

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Happy New Year: I Need Help With The Physics On This One

Happy New Year!  Let's start out with a bang.  A Big Bang of sorts...

If anyone can help me understand any of this, I will be all ears.  Strings, bubbles, accelerating expansion and extra dimensions reminds me of the days when the kids were crawling in the tubes high above the floor at  Chuck E. Cheese's.  But as far as understanding any of the Physics in this paper, I will stick to Skee Ball and cardboard pizza, thank you very much.

Artist's Rendition of the Universe.
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