The sports season of 1957-58 will be remembered, perhaps more than any other year, for its high and its low points. There were very few mediocre teams at Harvard this year; they were either good or bad. The lows were few, but they were bitter: the horrendous November afternoon at New Haven, the hockey team's decimation in Minneapolis, Yale's perennial defeat of the swimming team, and the heavyweight crew's third-place finish at the Sprints.
The high spots of the year were more numerous and for the most part came in one of the most successful springs ever seen in Cambridge: the first three quarters of the football game against Princeton, the soccer team's rout of Yale, the basketball team's surprising successes, the destruction of the Ivy League by the hockey team, the squash team's near miss against Yale, and the consistent wins of the track team. The spring saw one success after another by the Eastern championship baseball and tennis teams, Joel Landau's astounding victories in leading the track team to the rout over Yale, and the lightweight crew's domination of the East and subsequent invitation to Henley. It is unfortunate that such a successful spring be terminated by the University's dropping two of the college's less fortunate teams as an "economy measure."
Football in Retrospect
The fall means football and 1957 will be remembered as the year that voracious sports columnists called for President Pusey's, Tom Bolles', and John Yovicsin's blood after the 54 to 0 loss against Yale. The eleven's 3 and 5 record has been worse in recent years, but an eight touchdown loss to the Eli effectively ruins any season. Few Harvard fans will ever remember without a shudder the spectre of Dick Winterbauer cocking his arm in the direction of the Crimson goal line for one of his numerous touchdown passes. It must be remembered, however, that the game found the varsity at its lowest physical peak of the year as most of the starting line along with half the backfield was out with various injuries. The Crimson had expended most of its resources in its near upset of a vastly superior Princeton eleven and had nothing left for the Yale game. The varsity's new coach John Yovicsin, while he did not have the most auspicious season, proved himself as an able coach, when he had the material. Next year should see somewhat of an improvement as Captain Bob Shaunessy, Hal Anderson, and Pete Briggs will give the Crimson one of the stronger lines in the Ivy League while Ron Johanson, Sam Halaby, Dick McLaughlin, and Chet Boulris will form a nucleus of the backfield. The problem, as it has been in the past years, will be to replace two good ends, Tom Hooper and John Copeland.
Cross Country and Yardlings Successful
But aside from the doings on Soldiers Field, the fall was a fairly successful one. The cross country swept to an undefeated season as Pete Reider won the major race of the year against Princeton and Yale. Captain Jim Shue, Ken MacIntosh, Larry Ekpebu, Tommy Bernheim, and Roger Tuckerman formed a consistently improving forward line that finally enabled the varsity soccer team to gain a creditable 6-2-3 record as well as a 4 to 2 win over the Elis. The season also saw the appearance of sophomore Lanny Keyes who may well turn out to be one of the finest fullbacks Coach Bruce Munro has had in a long time.
The Yardling scene also showed signs of promise as the Freshman harriers had an undefeated record while the '61 eleven lost only one game, and gained some measure of revenge by edging a strong Yale eleven, 20 to 13. Charlie Ravenel and Terry Lenzner will probably be the best bets for starting positions on the varsity eleven this fall.
Hockey Team A Puzzle
The varsity hockey team must be termed as the year's most puzzling squad. By all rights, this should have been the finest sextet seen at Harvard in a long time. The entire 1956-57 team, which went to the NCAA finals in Colorado, was back with the exception of the goalie, Jim Bailey. Harry Pratt proved himself an able replacement for Bailey as the season progressed and Bruce Gillie and Mike Graney came up from last year's freshman team to give added depth. But while the sextet won the Ivy League and eventually went to Minneapolis, it did not live up to its advance notices. In such games as the 5-4 loss to Northeastern and the 4-4 tie with Dartmouth, the Crimson played slow, sloppy hockey and looked like anything but a championship team. Even in most of its wins, many Watson Rink fans had the feeling that the sextet was playing only as hard as it needed to and no harder. Nevertheless, the Crimson did compile a 16 and 3 record, Captain Bob Cleary did lead the nation in scoring and Bob Owen did prove himself to be one of the finest defensemen in the country. The trip to Minneapolis ended in two overwhelming defeats, but it is becoming obvious that Eastern hockey is just Little League action compared to the power-houses of the West. Next year does not look quite so bright, as the varsity will have to fill the large holes created by the graduation of Cleary Owen, Bob McVey, Lyle Guttu, and John Copeland.
Basketball and Squash
While the hockey team may have been to some observers a disappointment, the basketball team was a pleasant surprise as it forged to a 16 and 9 record and finished fifth in a strong Ivy League. Led by Captain Dick Woolston, Monk Muncaster, and Bryant Danner, the Crimson five had its most successful season in ten years. A victory over Yale in the last game of the year would have given the quintet a tie for third in the Ivy League, but Johnny Lee and Larry Downs scored 78 points between them to sink the varsity, 105-87. The quintet, nevertheless proved itself to be one of the college's most exciting teams and played to virtual sellouts in the IAB while a few year ago, the only spectators had been friends of the family and a few janitors.
The squash team came within a hair of being the best in the East as its only loss of the year came at the hands of a very strong Yale team, 5 to 4, at New Haven. The rest of the Crimson's matches were veritable slaughters as it plowed its way through various opponents to set the stage for the all-important Eli match. Captain Larry Sears climaxed a very successful season in this match when he beat the Eli's Sonny Howe in three quick games. The crucial match was between the varsity's Gerry Emmet and the Eli Captain, Harvey Sloane, and while it went to five games, Sloane eventually won the match and provided the Elis with their margin of victory. The prospects for next year are particularly bright as Emmet should fill in well for Sears at No.1 while Charlie Hamm, Gerry Poletti, Fred Vinton, and Ed Wadsworth will give Coach Jack Barnaby some real depth.
Swimming, Fencing, and Wrestling
Coach Hal Ulen's swimming team had its usual frustrating season as it won 9 meets, had an unexpected loss at the hands of Dartmouth, and then had to swim against Yale. It did better than expected in losing only 58 to 28, but for the ninth straight year, the Crimson swimmers found themselves in second place in the East. Ulen did turn out three particularly fine swimmers in Dick Seaton, John Hammond, and Jim Stanley, who will be the nucleus for next year's second place team.
There was a rebirth of interest in the fencing team as Coach Edo Marion's swordsmen had a creditable 7-5 record for the season. Mitch Thomas was perhaps the premier performer on the team at sabre as he made the second team All-America. The Crimson wrestlers had only an average season as they finished fifth in the Ivy League and were edged by Yale, 16 to 10. Captain Bob Foster went through the season undefeated and will be back next year as will Joe Noble who suffered only one loss. The winter's sole undefeated team was the indoor track squad which won its four dual meets. Joel Landau showed signs of what was to be expected of him in the spring as he went undefeated in all his hurdles races while French Anderson in the 600 and Pete Reider in the distances also starred.
The most successful freshman teams were, as usual, the Yardling sextet with a 16 and 6 record and a 6-2 win over Yale, and the '61 squash team which had a 10 and 1 slate and an easy win over the Blue.
The Spring Sports
The Spring salved any and all wounds and even made some forget the football holocaust. The baseball team survived an early season hitting slump and went on to win its first Eastern Baseball League title in 29 years as well as defeating Yale 12 to 7. The crucial game was against Dartmouth and the Crimson valuted into first place by belting the Indian's star pitcher Pete Quirk, and winning, 5 to 4. The formula of victory can be found in the varsity's two fine pitchers, Dave Brigham and relief ace Gerry Emmet, a steady catcher in John Davis, and the combined hitting of Frank Saia, Kent Hathaway, Bob Cleary, and Tom Bergantino. No matter how the final two games turn out against Yale, this must be rated as Coach Norm Shepard's finest season.
After last year's disappointments, it was a particularly satisfying year for Harvard crew. The lightweights rolled over all their opposition and were a unanimous choice to go to Henley. The heavies went into the Sprints undefeated and only finished third by a stroke of bad luck. All told Harvard crew this spring won 51 out of 55 races. The record speaks for itself.
Coach Jack Barnaby's tennis team followed the idyllic spring pattern as it went undefeated to win the Eastern Intercollegiate League. The match of the year was the Crimson's outstanding 6-3 defeat of Yale which saw varsity Captain Dale Junta climax his Harvard career by defeating Yale's Donald Dell, one of the country's best young players in three sets. Between tennis and squash, Barnaby's teams amassed a 27 and 1 record for him this year. Again the record speaks for itself.
Joel Landau's four first places in the varsity track team's 85 to 55 rout of Yale must rank as the year's most exciting sports accomplishment by a Harvard athlete. Landau went on to win twice in the IC4A and should be well nigh invincible next year.
It was, then, a dismal fall, a good, winter, and a banner spring. 1957-58 will probably be remembered as the year of the Yale football game, but it was more than that. It was the year that Harvard had the best basketball, baseball, tennis, and lightweight crew teams in a long time. All one can hope for now is that John Yovicsin will be able to develop some kind of pass defense by next November