Joel Landau, the varsity track team's stellar hurdler, climaxed probably the greatest personal season in Crimson track history last weekend, as he won both the 120-yard high hurdles and 220-yard low hurdles titles in the ICAAAA meet at Villanova.
In the process he smashed both varsity records to give him his third and fourth Harvard records, all gained this season.
On the strength of Landau's two wins, a fourth by John DuMoulin in the hammer, and a fifth in the javelin by Skip Pescosolido the varsity scored 13 points, good for a sixth place tie with Penn. Favored Villanova nosed out a surprising Penn State team to retain its title.
But the story of the meet, from a Crimson standpoint, was all Landau, Harvard's first winner in a running event since E.E. "Gene" Record won the low hurdles in 1932, his third straight win in the event.
In all, Landau had to run six races in the two days, a qualifying heat and a semi-final heat in each event, as well as the finals.
Two weeks earlier, Landau had won both hurdles events in the Heptagonals, but the press of exams had prevented him from doing any real practicing in the interim.
Layoff No Detriment
But the layoff proved no detriment to the speedy junior. In his first race Friday, Landau loafed through a qualifying heat in the highs, a heat in which four of the six would qualify for the finals. However, he was soundly trounced for first place by B.U.'s Dave Settele, an outcome which caused some concern for his coaches.
He then came back to win his qualifying heat in the lows in a somewhat unspectacular 24 seconds. But it was the last of his three Friday races which proved conclusively that Landau was in top form.
With the low hurdle field narrowed by the qualifying heat, and only three of the six in each semi-final heat qualifying for the finals, Landau took no chances. He asserted himself from the start and won with ease in 23.0 seconds, breaking the Crimson mark of 23.4 seconds set by Bob Rittenburg in 1955. At that, according to his coach, Bill McCurdy, Landau appeared eased up at the finish.
The following day he gained his revenge on Settele in the semi-finals of the high hurdles. He ran all out and according to McCurdy looked good in beating Settele.
The first of his finals was in the highs. He got off to his best start of the season, and he needed it. He and Villanova's Bob Holup raced neck and neck for the first six hurdles, but then Landau began to pull away, to win by two feet in 14.2 seconds, breaking the record of 14.5 seconds held by Don Donahue in 1941.
In his sixth race in two days, the low hurdles finals, he and Cornell's Bo Roberson ran nip and tuck for the first six hurdles as both pulled away from the rest of the field. Again Landau's conditioning proved the big margin as he pulled away and finished the race all by himself. His winning time of 22.9 seconds broke his day-old record, but was disallowed because of a trailing wind of five and one-half miles, one-half mile too much for an official record.
In addition to these two records, Landau set a new indoor 60-yard high hurdles mark of :07.3 seconds, breaking the old mark of :07.4, and he added the 220-yard dash record to his string by running a 21.0 against Army. By way of completing his dossier, Landau has also run a :09.8 100, which would have tied the Harvard mark, but that, too, was disallowed because of a trailing wind.
DuMoulin Takes Fourth
DuMoulin placed fourth in the hammer with a toss of 173 feet, 9 inches, made in the qualifying round. Pescosolido bested his qualifying throw of 188 feet, 10 inches, but his 190 foot throw Saturday did not change his fifth place Friday standing.
Of the other Crimson entrants, captain Al Gordon did possibly the best, although he did not get past the trials in the 440. He finished in a virtual tie for second, and sideline observers felt that he had finished second, or at least no worse than third. However, the judges saw it differently, giving him fourth and eliminating him from further competition. The second place time was :48.3, only .3 seconds off the Harvard record.
The other Crimson entrants did not place. Pete Reider, in the two-mile, showed the effects of the heat and a rough trip to Villanova the night before. He faded badly after the first mile and was never able to move back into scoring contention.
Lee Barnes in the 220 got off to a fast start in his preliminary heat, but the distance proved too much for him, and he too faded badly at the end, finishing out of the qualifying bracket.
Neither of the other two hammer entrants, Jim Doty or Dunc Johnson, was able to advance into Saturday's finals. Doty just missed qualifying, however, as his best throw, 164 feet, placed him seventh among the competitors. Six of the qualifiers advanced to the finals. Johnson's best toss was 150 feet.
Landau in NCAA Meet
Both Landau and Gordon will go to Berkley for the NCAA tournament June 13-14 at the University of California. There Landau will meet the best in collegiate hurdling, including Elias Gilbert of Winston-Salem, and Glenn Davis of Ohio State, the Olympic 400-meter hurdles champion. Gilbert last week broke the world's record in the 440-yard dash.
The following week, both will enter the AAU meet at Bakersfield, California.