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By Alyssa Palfey, GGoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 2016 Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational is set to take place this Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Penn State Blue-White golf course.
This annual meet is named after Penn State's former head track and field coach, Harry Groves. Groves coached track and field for 53 years, 38 of them being head coach at Penn State.
Groves began his coaching career in 1953, where he started as a coach of the post track team at Fort Eustis, VA. Two years later, he became an assistant cross country and track coach at William and Mary. He then became head coach a year later and remained there until he came to Penn State in 1968.
With 11 American record-holders, 21 national champions, 14 Olympians and 227 All-Americans under his coaching career, Groves is known to be one of the most respected track and field coaches in history.
Groves has also been named Regional Coach of the Year a combined 26 times and is a five-time National Coach of the Year.
Current head coach, John Gondak, is inspired by Groves' coaching success.
"Harry was a phenomenal coach here at Penn State. He added some great traditions and history to the program. I'm honored to be coaching after him and Coach Sullivan."
The Penn State cross country team swept titles at the annual Dolan Duals last Friday, Sept. 2 in Lock Haven, PA. The men's team nearly missed a perfect score of 15 by scoring a team totally of 16.
Gondak was impressed by the team's performances, but knows the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational will be challenging.
"For the men's team, this will be a different challenge than this past weekend. Our home course is a lot different, so we'll need to have a different racing strategy. There will be good Division I competition that will also be challenging," said Gondak.
The women's team finished the meet last weekend with a perfect team score of 15, sweeping the top five positions.
"For the women's team, I think they are in position to take the title," said Gondak.
The meet will take place this Saturday, Sept. 10 at Penn State's Blue-White golf course. The women's 6k race is set to start at 10 a.m., with the men following.