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, June 28, 2019

(Maybe) The Definitive Berwick Marathon List

Following Brian Boyer's submission of the all-time best performances by Nittany Lions at the Berwick Marathon "Run For The Diamonds", several astute group members pointed out some errors. Imagine that, this blog getting a few facts wrong!  There's a first time for everything.

One of those "slighted" by the post submitted an updated listing, citing animosity between his high school and Brian's suburban Reading High School.  Kinda sorta like a Hillbilly Feud or something.

So here is the new listing, which I again amended by highlighting those who took home a diamond.
 Here's a video of one of the battles in that high school feud featuring Brian Boyer and Harry Smith. They fought after the prettiest Lehigh Valley girls back in the day.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Diamonds Are A Mans Best Friend...

At least in Berwick, PA on Thanksgiving.

Our Official Physicist and European Laiason Brian Boyer has compiled a list of the best times in the "Run for the Diamonds" by PSU athletes and Alumni.  It's a great list and one that I do not appear on.  I have always wondered how I would have fared if I had run this race, considering that my best ever race was at a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot!

Monday, June 24, 2019

A Lull In The Action Means Housecleaning Commences

With not much happening in the Track World, it is time to do a little Spring cleaning, even if it is a little late.  So let's all get to work and crowdsource an updated Penn State Track Alumni Record Book!  Sorry ladies, I don't even know how to begin compiling one for the women.  Maybe an ambitious member of our group will try!!!!    Hint, hint!

But at least we have a starting point for the Men's Records which includes Indoor, Outdoor and Road records.  Matt Groves has done much of the legwork from his dad's notes in the past.  We are certain that our listing needs updating, and that's where you come in.  If we all get together on this we can fully update the listings in no time.

Let's start with the Men's Outdoor List:  Any changes can be made via the Facebook Page or on the comments below.  Please help!

Our first update to the list doesn't change the record, but clarifies it.

(George)Malley's AR was NOT the 8:21.72 you have listed. Henry Marsh had the AR at the time (1978) and it was 8:21.55...Malley's AR was in 1977 at the AAU National Championships at Westwood, CA at 8:22.54.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

He Hasn't Aged A Bit!

On this day in track nerd history Greg Fredericks nailed a nifty 28:08.0 while slicing 9.6 seconds off Billy Mills' American 10,000 meters record (June 15, 1972 @ AAUs ins Seattle)

Two months later, Frank (Shorter) would take the record during the semis in Munich and then again in the finals...two years after that
Pre broke Frank's record...(Craig) Virgin broke that (twice) and held it until Al Sal(azar) grabbed his share of the AR pie..who broke Salazar's mark? correct, Mark Nenow...good knowledge     -Mike Fanelli.

Thanks to Mike Fanelli, Larry Mangan and Anne Fredericks for these three pics from 1971, 1972, and 2018.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

1976 XC team

Some good friends and a future roommate appear in this pic the year I really started running well (better?).  I still didn't think I would ever make it onto a team like this, but I was doing 2-a-days just to make an effort at it.

Coach Groves, in just his 8th year at the helm, really was starting to put together solid "all American" teams, just as the NCAA was starting to become more and more international.


  • Apple Computers was started by Jobs and Wozniak.
  • The Concorde supersonic plane took to the skies.
  • Rocky achieved immortality by losing his title fight to Apollo Creed. 
  • The Space Shuttle entered space for the first time.
  •  Mao Zedong died in China.
  • Nadia Comaneci was perfect 7 times at the Olympics.
  • Howard Hughes dies at age 70.

Monday, June 17, 2019

A New Alumni Record!

Brannon Kidder placed third in the Brooks PR 1500M with a time of 3:35.27.  That eclipses the old Alumni Record of  3:38.4 held by Larry Mangan from 1982.  Brannon's time converts to a splendid 3:52.5 Mile, which would also outpace the Alumni Record of Larry's from 1984, 3:56.9!

Lancaster, Ohio's third Nittany Lion great!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

1975 - Penn State Is The NCAA XC Focus

  • The NCAA Championships were held at the Blue/White Course and the Nittany Lions come through with a top-4 finish!
  • Craig "Surgin" Virgin outduels Nick Rose on the 10K course laid out by Coach GrovesFriend of the Group Craig Virgin later commends Coach for his hospitality after being sent a handwritten letter and Nittany Lion statue.  He still displays them with honor.
  • The movie "Jaws" becomes the first ever blockbuster movie.
  • Patty Hearst is kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army.
  • Both Betamax and VHS are released to the wild.
  • Margaret Thatcher becomes the first UK female Prime Minister.
  • I started running every day in July 1975 after purchasing Nike running shoes from Greg Feredericks at the Athletic Attic on South Allen St. in State College.  I had him autograph my new running log.  Little did I know then, we were both nerds!  And it is 75,000 miles later.
  • Jimmy Hoffa disappears.
  • The Captain and Tennille top the Billboard with Love Will Keep Us Together

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

1974 XC Team / Another Top Ten NCAA Finish


  • Richard Nixon became the first President to resign before being impeached.
  • President Ford unconditionally pardoned Nixon, with barely a peep from anyone.
  • Muhammad Ali became only the second heavyweight to regain the Championship over George Foreman in the "Rumble in the Jungle".
  • Stephen King published his first novel, "Carrie".
  • Inflation was >11%.
  • Average income was $13,900.
  • National Speed limit reduced to 55mph.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Alumni Performances Of Note

The NCAA track season may be over, but the professionals soldier on.  And the two greatest strengths of the recent  Program history are still at it.   PSU is 800U and PSU is Shot Put U...

In Rome, Joe Kovacs and Darrell Hill heaved the metal ball over 21 meters each.  Darrell placed 2nd at the Diamond League Event in 21.71 (71 feet 2.72 inches), while Joe was 4th with 21.46 (70 feet 4.88 inches).

And on the Left Coast at the Portland Track Classic, Brannon Kidder bettered the USATF 800M standard with a 3rd place 1:46.51 time.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Putting On The Alumni Reunion And Golf Tourney Is Hard Work

Some of you may not know how much work that Clark Haley and Harry Smith put in nearly all year in preparation for our annual get-togethers.  For nineteen years, Clark has handled chores beyond what you would expect, and Harry came on board maybe 15 years ago to take some strain off the Group's Founder.  Many people contribute, and all contributions are very much appreciated.

I do very little work on these things, as my job is to "herd the cats" toward the event with my ramblings on this blog, which has met with some success in its 11 years.  My hope is that this trend continues.  Any help you offer is quite welcome.

Todd Leggett, Greg Fredericks and John Ziegler watch Harry Smith labor to inflate a cactus for the Alumni Triathlon. Photo by Ken Brinker.
The First Annual Alumni Triathlon consisted of:

  • The Cactus Throw
  • The Frisbee Discus Throw
  • and The Golf Ball Roll
Clark Haley won both the Frisbee Throw and the Golf Ball Roll to take the Crown. John "Ziggy" Ziegler won the Cactus Throw.

The Triathlon Trophy prior to Friday night surgery.

Restored trophy.
Odie the Shih Tzu on his first trip to Penn State.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

1973 Cross Country Team, Things Were Heating Up In America

 Notable, at least by me:
  • The disembodied heads of Captains, Bob Hillman and Charlie Maguire.  I think this was the only time this was done on any of the pics hung at Rec Hall for XC and Track.
  • Friend and Podiatrist Jim Bray seemingly sitting on Coach Groves' lap.
  • Future Podiatrist Walt Majak.
  • Manager Mark Parker, future President of Nike, Inc.
  • A very young looking George Malley.
1973 was a very busy time in America.  Hard to believe anyone had time to run!

1973 History Snapshot

  • Politics: The Roe v. Wade US Supreme Court decision legalized abortion.
  • The Top Song was Killing Me Softly With His Song by Roberta Flack
  • The Big Movies included The Exorcist, The Sting and American Graffiti
  • On August 11, 1973, at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Bronx, NYC, Hip Hop was created by a guy named DJ Kool Herc.
  • Price of Men's leather sandals in 1973: $2.81
    Watermelon: 9 cents/pound
  • The World Population was ~ 3,859,000,000
  • Federal Express (FedEx) began operating in in 1973.
  • Richard Nixon gave his famous "I am Not a Crook" speech at the Contemporary Resort, in Disney World.
  • And... Spiro T. Agnew resigned as US vice president and then, in federal court in Baltimore, pled no contest to income tax evasion. He was fined $10,000 and put on three years' probation.

My uncle worked the barn over at Belmont. I had the HONOR being 10 years old and meeting this amazing animal. He wasn't antsy in his stall at all. Every single horse I ever seen before a race was always antsy. He was calm, really calm. He loved attention. I will never ever forget this horse. HUGE compared to the rest of them. My pops told me that day that we were so lucky to be close to this beautiful amazing animal, he also told me to remember because I would never meet another horse like this one again in my life. He was right. I was on a stool just to reach his neck, he bent his head down for me to touch his head. I was in awe the entire time. I had no idea who he really was until I grew older. I am blessed and honored for that meeting.  -Anonymous.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Back On The Track For Two 2-Lappers And A Little Farm To Table

Two qualified 800M specialists made a return to the track this weekend, with one being our very own Isaiah Harris!

Isaiah Harris ran his first 800M in  1:49.49, 11 months after his last race with another Nittany Lion in very close pursuit.  Isaiah nipped Domenic Perretta by .05 seconds in Philadelphia.

And Duane Solomon ran his first 800M in more than 2 years, coming in last with 1:55.04 at the Music City Distance Carnival.  Duane was not unhappy, just pleased to be back on the Mondo.

Me, well, I jogged a couple of miles on my treadmill and made a Key Lime Pie with limes from my very own tree.

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