With seven returning lettermen and strong supporting runners, the Crimson cross-country team should be able to defeat the UMass in the season's opener this afternoon at 3:45 p.m. in Franklin Park.
Since the great Crimson strength of last year lay with the sophomores, Coach Bill McCurdy lost only one regular pointgetter, when Paul Deck graduated. The freshman squad moved into varsity ranks, adding three good runners, Dave Norris, Ralph Perry, and Arthur Reider to the depth that has characterized Crimson teams over the past few years.
McCurdy spoke in terms of a graph when comparing this season's team with that of 1954. Because the squad has had only three days' regular practice, it is in poorer condition than last season's starting twelve. The quality of the new team, however should rise faster and farther than that of last year's team, due to superior potentiality of this season's runners.
McCurdy expects his team to record a close victory today. The Crimson has an edge in depth on UMass. The Redmen have two of the best runners in New England: co-Captains Rob Horn and Will Lepkowski. But between UMass' top men and the rest of the team there is a large gap. McCurdy is hoeing to take advantage of this situation by ramming at least five men into the gap, while keeping steady pressure on the opponent's best harriers. If this strategy works, Umass will suffer its first loss in two tries this season. The Redmen beat Dartmouth last week, 25-30.
McCurdy is pinning his hopes on four men in particular: Captain Joseph French, Dave McLean, Arthur Wills, and Ken Wilson. The other eight of the 12 place are somewhat uncertain. Dick Wharton, a strong competitor, will definitely run if a toe injury heals in time. Robert Holmes, Norris Perry, and Philip Williams will probably run.
The freshmen looked good in their last trial runs before today's meet, in Wednesday. Albert Gordan, followed closely by team matters, turned in a top time of 16:28 for 8.2 miles around the Franklin Park golf course.