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...

Monday, May 17, 2021

The Details Of The 2021 Reunion And Golf Tournament


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Joe Kovacs and Darrell Hill Won't Be Able To Attend Our Golf Outing And Reunion In August


Something as trivial as the first Olympics in 5 years may keep them away from Happy Valley around then!  Thanks to Ken Brinker for alerting us to this.

When your second best ever "throw" is 74 feet, 6 1/2 inches or so, that is saying a lot for Joe Kovacs. And at more than 73 feet, things are looking good for Darrell Hill, too.  We wish them both luck on making the team.

Joe's Monster Series


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

As The Toad Would Say, Let's Goooooooooooooooo!


The Penn State Track and Field Alumni (Golf) Reunion is on!!!!!

Let's get together in State College and have a good time that is long overdue. And because it is August for the first time ever, I expect to see all those Coaches out there who couldn't make it any other time.  We will have intimate get-togethers, nourishing meals and the usual horrid golf we have all come to love.

August 13-14

Days Inn Downtown

Golf at Mountain View CC (Old Elks Club)

Everyone Invited 

 Please help spread the word however you can.  More details to come...


Sunday, May 9, 2021

Another Olympic Trials Qualifier


Tori Gerlach posted a very fine 9:45 PR to qualify for the Olympic Trials 3000M Steeplechase in Oregon. Congrats!  Good things do happen in Portland.


Thursday, May 6, 2021

That Time Penn State Beat The Barkley Marathons

 It certainly wasn't this year!  I detailed our collective Nittany Lion experience at this years event in a previous post.

But once upon a time... 2012 to be exact, a Penn Stater finished the Barkley Marathons in his first ever attempt! Now that I have immersed myself in the world of Trail Ultra Running (not as a runner, but as a keen observer!), I had to find John Fegyveresi and invite him to become an honorary member of our group.

Previous honorary members have included Dave Wottle and Yevgheni Arzhanov from the 1972 Olympic 800M, the best race ever run. Another is Penn State's first entrant in an Olympic Trial Marathon, Joe Head.

I have said that members of our group are consistently the most intelligent, interesting and accomplished people I have ever met.  John certainly meets the criteria, and much more.  Please welcome John Fegyveresi to our group!


Finishing the Barkley

Here is John's Barkley Report from 2012.

I have brought back the 10 Questions format and John was very nice in responding despite the end of the semester hurricane he finds himself in at Northern Arizona University.  I hear they might have a few runners there too!

 1. Is it possible to train for the sleep deprivation encountered in the Barkley?

I made a real effort to try to train for sleep deprivation (if it’s even possible). I purposely stretched many of my long efforts into the night or would simply wait and go out at night for a 6-8 hour effort after being up all day. My biggest effort with respect to sleep-deprivation training came with an ~80-mile continuous hike along the mid-state trail which I started rather late in the day. This meant I would be hiking through the night completely and into most of the next day. I also purposely got myself lost a few times on the trail so I could practice navigating my way out (a way to train for basic orienteering). With this said, I was also a grad student, so sleep was often something I wasn’t getting enough of. Also, I had a lot of experience with 100-mile races and long thru-hikes, so staying up for long hours was something I was already somewhat accustomed to. Still, nothing really prepares you for 60 hours on your feet with out sleep.

2. What years found you in State College?

I was in State college from Summer of 2007 through Early 2015 while attending graduate school (first MS, then PhD). I grew up near Rochester NY, and had been living in Cleveland since 1994 (when I went to CWRU for undergrad).

3. Any memories of the mountains around State College? Were you running much then?

I have quite a few fond memories of the mountains, trails, and parks around State College…and had quite a bit of fun exploring while living in the area. I spent a ridiculous amount of time in Rothrock running, hiking, and training. Those were probably my fondest memories. I certainly explored the Mt. Nittany area often as well, but honestly played around just about everywhere. There is also a very active trail running community in the area, so I ran a lot of the “local” races (i.e. Tussey Mountainback, Rothrock 30k, Hyner 50k, Oil Creek 100, etc…)

 4. What was the best part of the PSU experience? The worst?

This is a tough question. I think most importantly,I did meet my future partner and spouse while in graduate school at PSU, so that has had an immensely positive impact on my life. Otherwise, and I know it may sound cliché, but my favorite part about my PSU experience was simply that it was a long overdue experience back into my love of science. I had worked for years in an office cubicle setting, wishing I’d go back to graduate school to study science. So…while at PSU, I was mostly just content that I was on a new path and I really tried to suck the marrow out of my experience there. Add to this that there are some amazing trails and scenery around the area, and I honestly had an amazing time during my 8 years there. I also had an incredibly supportive advisor, who really mentored me well. Lastly, I really liked that I was somewhat close to family and could visit with a rather quick jaunt in my car. Worst part about my PSU experience? I try not to dwell on things that may disagree with me, but I suppose I wasn’t the biggest fan of the whole huge college football scene, and the chaos that came with it.

5. As a climate scientist specializing in ice core analysis, what does the ice tell us about the Earth’s future? Does it differ from what the trees tell us?

 Oh boy…this is a very loaded question, and one that I could spend hours responding to. My short answer would be that ice cores are an incredibly high-time-resolution archive of past climatic changes (back several hundred-thousand years). What this means is that we can study every aspect of past changes in climate to better understand natural variability and the influence of different natural forcings. We can directly measure the concentration of the atmosphere that has been locked in the ice core bubbles for thousands of years. All of this will help inform us of what we may expect to see in the near future (especially with the now very large human contributions). We are also getting really good at our atmospheric modeling. With actual proxy data from ice cores, we can better tune our models with past data, so that we know that they are accurately working, and then can be projected into the future with a high level of confidence (and lower uncertainties) that the results are representative of what we can expect to see.  Tree rings mostly agree with ice core records, but they also don’t go back in time nearly as far (the oldest tree is only a few thousand years old, so still within our current Holocene warm period). In addition, tree rings are affected much more by local influences like droughts, fires, etc, and may only be revealing a record for a smaller regional or local area.  With that said, paleoclimate reconstructions gleaned from tree rings are still a proven and reliable climate proxy to use that does inform us about past climate changes within the Holocene.

 6. Did you find Lazarus Lake more or less sane than you first imagined?

 Laz is pretty much how I imagined him to be. Despite his portrayed appearance and demeanor, he’s actually a very gentle and compassionate guy (albeit with a slightly wonky sense of humor). I have actually become good friends with Laz over the years, and even spent many miles walking/running with him on his TransCon USA journey.

7. Has anything been as difficult as finishing the Barkley in the rest of your life?

Difficulty is a hard thing to quantify. From a race/adventure perspective, there a couple things that come somewhat close in my mind, most notably my speed fast-pack thru-hike of the Vermont Long Trail. In the summer of 2019 I was going for the fastest time on the trail and did it non-stop over 7 days completely unsupported. I was entirely wrecked at the end and the suffering was drawn out over a longer period than with Barkley. But, I still think Barkley itself was the hardest single physical thing I’ve ever done for sure, and that includes my thru-hikes of the AT and PCT as well. My thru-hikes were a completely different type of difficulty, matched by their overwhelming awe-inspiring moments and wonderment.  Looking at my life in total, there are quite a few things I’ve been through that were mentally, emotionally, or maybe even spiritually? more difficult to get through. I think most notably here would be the long 5-year slog of completing my dissertation. It is incredibly difficult to make it through a PhD Program and I almost failed in that process (a couple of times). It’s a very protracted type of suffering that’s hard to explain…but well worth it when you come out the others side.

8. If you found yourself back in Happy Valley right now, where would you go to eat and what would you order?

 If I was back in State College, I’d immediately head to Meyer Dairy and get a chocolate ice cream. There really aren’t any good ice cream shops in Flagstaff…

 9. My best man hiked the Appalachian Trail with his daughter a few years ago. He described the entire PA portion as the worst part. Would you agree?

Pennsylvania is definitely tough due to all the frustrating rocks on the trail, but I think from a pure difficulty perspective, that Maine was the hardest state (with New Hampshire not far behind). Every mile of the trail in Maine was just straight up tough.

10. As the newest honorary member of the PSU Track and Field Alumni group, do you have any questions for us? 

No questions really, but I am grateful and humbled to be invited on as an honorary member. One of the things that I desperately miss about living in State College was getting out daily and on weekend runs with the Nittany Valley Running Club. I hadn’t realized how spoiled I was with the running community in State College until I left.


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