With key runner Jed Fitzgerald in doubtful shape, the varsity cross country squad must use all its depth potential to meet the challenge of a favored Dartmouth team today. Although Fitzgerald is suffering from a leg injury, he has attended recent practices and may still prove the decisive contribution to a Crimson victory.
Mark Mullin, who outran the University of Massachusetts team last week to spark an impressive Harvard victory, is expected to turn in good time, as are Ralph Perry and Jack Benjamin. Benjamin has a slight cold that may affect his running, but still remains a threat to the Indians. Sophomore Bob Knapp and captain Eddie Martin have overcome early-season injuries and add significantly to Crimson point potential.
On paper Dartmouth has a big edge over the Harvard squad, largely on the basis of its near-win last week over powerful Brown. Brown nearly routed Harvard last Friday.
Both Tom Larris and Nick Jennison, Dartmouth's two infallibles, have outrun Bill Schwabe, star of the Brown squad, who proved faster than any Crimson harrier in the Friday meet. Theoretically, this gives Dartmouth the first and second spots in today's race, with runner Dan Tompkins counted on for either fourth or fifth.
The Crimson's hopes rest on Mullins and Fitzgerald, who can break up this powerful Dartmouth combination and give greater Crimson depth a chance to score. Coach Bill McCurdy stressed yesterday the difficulties in predicting the outcome of a meet involving so many sophomores on each team, and he balanced his team's unfamiliarity on the Dartmouth course with their "fighting spirit."
"I honestly believe that Harvard depth can pull us through," McCurdy said, and pointed out that Dartmouth harriers have not beaten the Crimson since 1951.