March 5, 2022
Rothrock State Forest
by Mike Casper

Mild temperatures in the mid-thirties with no breeze greeted runners on Bear Meadows Road as skiers zigzagged down the slopes behind the lodge at Tussey Mountain. Runners gathered for this early March run had their share of ice to traverse this year. Just past the first bridge, Bear Meadows Road had a few bits of ice but was 98% clear, rather than being fully iced up like last year. But turning onto Laurel Run Road a quarter mile later, conditions were worse than for last year’s run. While last year’s route had lots of ice, especially dicey on the first switchback, and fully covered sections that included ice and soft snow, this year’s version was nearly all ice, though patches of gravel peeked through here and there in two narrow wheel tracks. Runners were advised it could be treacherous going, and that keeping to Bear Meadows Road was a viable alternate option, but nearly everyone was game for the Laurel Run adventure.

Winter Parts took the overall win and claimed first place in the non-binary category. Matt Balogh was first in the men’s category, with Michael Palumbo placing second and Charlie Connolly third. Crystal McNeal won the women’s category, with Emma Maras in second and Christina Gehring in third. Christian Gilbertson took second in the non-binary category.

Several runners bettered their times from last year’s icy foray. Brent McNeal took 10 minutes off, Crystal McNeal took 7 minutes off, Mike Casper took 11 minutes off, and Brian Brown took 9 minutes off.

Thanks to all who brought used shoes for Sneakers4Good or made donations to the Tussey Mountainback’s 2022 event beneficiary, the Dyslexia Reading Center of Central PA.

Special thanks to Marvin Hall, Michelle Hutnik and Katharine Adams for their help with registration and finish line, and to Pamela Luu for photography. Photos at

Those who run Tussey Teasers #1 through #5 (February’s Teaser #0 was a bonus) will be eligible for a special prize drawing that will take place on June 19 immediately after Teaser #5, the Eager Seeger Half Marathon.

The next Tussey Teaser, on April 10, is the Tussey-to-Whipple 11 Miler, run on Legs 1 through 3 of the original Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK course. Since this is a point-to-point run starting at Tussey Mountain, runners will need to arrange their post-race transportation from the finish at Whipple Dam State Park.

Runners are encouraged to bring their gently used running shoes to be collected at each run for a program called Sneakers4Funds that supports entrepreneurs in communities and countries around the world.

For details, driving directions and waiver forms for the remaining Teasers, visit

Runners are raring to go at the start

Matt Balogh and Winter Parts share a laugh after the run

Natasha Volkers on the way up the longest switchback

Crystal McNeal completes the ice adventure

Overall Order of Finish

Place First      Last                     Gen    Age  Town              State   Time
----- -----      ----                     ---    ---  ----              -----   ----
   1  Winter     Parts                    NB      24  State College      PA     40:02
   2  Matt       Balogh                    M      23  State College      PA     41:15
   3  Michael    Palumbo                   M      26  State College      PA     48:05
   4  Charlie    Connolly                  M      25  State College      PA     49:30
   5  Jimmy      Farnan                    M      23  State College      PA     51:14
   6  Vineeth    Pothanamkandathil         M      25  State College      PA     55:14
   7  Christian  Gilbertson               NB          State College      PA     59:20
   8  Terry      Reid                      M      63  Bellefonte         PA     59:30
   9  Brent      McNeal                    M      41  Huntingdon         PA     59:49
  10  Crystal    McNeal                    F      39  Huntingdon         PA     59:47
  11  Luis       Duque                     M      37  Port Matilda       PA   1:03:45
  12  Jim        Maras                     M      60  State College      PA   1:06:52
  13  Zach       Raniassini                M      22  Petaluma           CA   1:08:14
  14  Greg       Basarab                   M      65  State College      PA   1:08:25
  15  Emma       Maras                     F      20  State College      PA   1:08:26
  16  Jeff       Schiesler                 M      66  Port Matilda       PA   1:09:48
  17  Mike       Casper                    M      63  State College      PA   1:11:46
  18  Christina  Gehring                   F      43  State College      PA   1:11:50
  19  Natasha    Volkers                   F      36  Port Matilda       PA   1:12:26
  20  Katie      Dry                       F      36  Boalsburg          PA   1:14:52
  21  Brian      Brown                     M      47  Lewisburg          PA   1:36:50
  22  Victor     Pasco                     M      56  Port Matilda       PA   1:48:35