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...

Saturday, January 1, 2022

2021 Performance of the Year

There weren't very many nominations from our members this year, but it did include some quality performances.  The Interns decided not to poll members of the group for the winner this year and decided to take their meager paychecks and devote it all to an extravagant New Year's Eve Party last night. Now they want money from me to clean it up.

I had asked them to give me the listing yesterday, but they refused. I knew something was up, but was tired of dealing with the rowdy bunch and went to bed.

Alas, we finally got word from the email listserv which serves as the Premier Home of Penn State Track Alumni, that Ken Cooper had done the miraculous at the last minute.  His 35th straight calendar year of running a sub-5:00 mile came on New Year's Eve.  I will let Ken tell his story told via the email listing...

For those that like a story - The guy who paced me to my 5:00.53 on 12/20 told me on Wed that he would not be able to pace me again as he contracted COVID.  Fortunately I had reached out to my high school coach (who is still the coach at Mounds View) earlier in the week and asked for a couple of more pacers.  I thought being tucked behind multiple guys would be helpful.  I got a guy who is a former walk on at Purdue and is still fit and a guy who runs for U of North Dakota.  It was 9F so we warmed-up inside.   I am usually a guy who sticks to my plan, but I made a last second change and put spikes on for the first time since September.  If Lukas (Pacer #1) was going to wear them, then so shall I.  Calves be damned.


It was pretty cool as my dad and high school coach timed and gave splits.  There were 4 other MV coaches/alums there to see it and the many from the Bethel team (local D3 school coached by Andrew Rock) basically stopped practice to watch.  Some of them were former Mounds View state champs and knew the coaches so they learned what I was doing. 


We started with Lukas as rabbit then me then 2 recent alums behind me.  We went out hot.  The beauty of have so many people there that are coaches is that I got a 100m split for the fist time in my career.  Went through in 16 secs.  But it felt really comfortable.  That said, we slowed down and came through in 35 secs for the first 200, which was still hot.  I remember Coach saying 4:40 pace be smart.  We slowed and came through the 400 in 74 secs.  Really comfortable.  Feeling good.  The two guys behind me dropped off at 400 so it was me and Lukas.  I just sat on him.  We came through the 800 in 2:28, so another 74.  It felt like we stepped it up on lap 5, which I as fine with as it helped me avoid getting soft.  I cant remember what we came through in lap 5, but we came through 1200 in 3:41/3:42, at which time Lukas dropped off (which was not a surprise), but the other guy was not there, which was.  Not a big deal as there were enough folks around the track to keep me engaged, particularly on the far corner where the Bethel team was.  I came through lap 7 in 4:20/4:21 and knew I had it.  I mustered as much of a kick as I could.  A blistering 36/37 last 200.     


The hammy held up well.  I have been doing several eccentric strength building exercises since I tweaked it the 20th and that seemed to do the trick.  Interestingly, I did one last PT session on Wed.  The PT was convinced my hammy issue is caused from somewhere else.  She is probably right.  She actually honed in on my lymph nodes as preventing proper circulation as a result of COVID back in April.  She did some massage of 6 area of lymph nodes.  It did actually help the hammy feel better so will do those for awhile.


I appreciate you all taking such a vested interest in the streak.  This past week, I was wondering how many sub 5’s I/we have done over our careers.  I can recall some 5 x mile on the track and all were done well under 5 with 3 mins rest.  Splits in races.  There were times we did them in our sleep.  Yesterday,  I just wanted one more.  You guys helped inspire me to do this over the past month when on paper, at age 50 with no intense training in the preceding 4-6 months, I really had no business getting there.


I have zero plans to wait this long again.  I fully expect to check the box some time this indoor season.


Then I will look to drop a 55 at Penn with R.B., Kletter, Che and Jake.  Anyone else want in?

 Happy New Year Fellas.


So, the final standings of the 2021 Performance of the Year:

  1. Ken Cooper's 4:57.61 mile to complete his 35th straight calendar year with a sub-5 mark.
  2. Joe Kovac Silver Medal at Olympics in Tokyo.  His second.
  3. Michael Shuey makes Olympic team with second place finish.
  4. Isaiah Harris wins a Diamond League 800M race


  1. For the record, my accomplishment is a distant 4th to the ones listed. Those are truly magnificant. Mine is just winning one more battle against Father Time. Fun stuff. We Are!!!

  2. Joe has won several of these already and I see several more coming. And besides, the Interns were inebriated at the time of the vote. Still haven't cleaned up the mess.


Thanks for commenting. Keep up the good work! (Try to mention others to encourage them to comment too!)

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