The varsity cross country team, still plagued by illness but still unbeaten, goes after the Heptagonal championship in New York this afternoon. Seven Ivy League squads, plus Army and Navy, will constitute the opposition.
Three of the seven Crimson runners who will go to the starting line today will be operating at considerably less than maximum efficiency.
Largely because of this, Cornell is generally acknowledged to be the premeet favorite, but those who have watched other allegedly "underdog" Crimson squads upset the odds time and again in recent years, cannot resist the feeling that the varsity may do it again today.
Pete Reider, the top runner on the team for the last three years, has been bothered all season by a variety of ailments and has been able to work out hard only very infrequently in recent weeks. He was, nonetheless, the individual winner in the Big Three meet a week ago. Questioned about Reider yesterday, Coach McCurdy volunteered that he "should be a little stronger this week than last. . . . But then, I don't know," McCurdy added, by way of an after-thought. "How often can a runner come through like that when he's not really in good shape?"
Eddie Martin and Willie Thompson are both convalescing after attacks of flu. Like Reider, they have been unable to run hard in recent practices, and just how well they can do today remains very much in doubt.
Much will depend, therefore, on the performance of the "healthy half" of the Crimson squad, which currently includes Capt. Dave Norris, Dyke Benjamin, Jim Schlaeppi, and Wes Hildreth.
The varsity's stiffest opposition should come from Cornell, Yale, and Army. Cornell has lost only to the Elis--and this on a day when its two best runners, Mike Midler and Dave Eckel, were stricken with flu. The Crimson, of course, beat Yale last week, but the meet was very close, and might well have gone the other way.