An unbeaten Crimson varsity marred a perfect record in 1961 by dropping the Big Three Cross Country Meet to Princeton. In spite of the efforts of Ed Hamlin, Eddie, Meehan, and Mark Mullin (the greatest runner in Harvard history) and in spite of coach Bill McCurdy's favorable predictions, the Crimson came within only 11 points of the Tiger distance men in that outing.
Today, McCurdy takes yet another unbeaten squad with the same optimistic prophecy of varsity victory to Tigertown--the site of this year's triangular contest. A Big Three victory could be more elusive than ever, with the McCurdy men facing virtually the same Princeton team that won a year ago and a much stronger Yale squad.
Individual honors will undoubtedly go to Yale's fabulous Bobby Mack. The Elis' "Mechanical Man" best everybody last year and will do so again barring injury, illness, or a great effort by Meehan. McCurdy has admitted that Yale has four competent men in back of Mack "capable of finishing before our own fifth man."
So, discarding Princeton, the varsity distance men must take second, third, and fourth with a strong complementing finish by a fourth runner. Hamlin, Meehan, and sophomore Bill Crain have to run higher than fifth, with fourth man Jack D'Arcy placing somewhere near them for a Crimson Big Three crown.
Unfortunately, this strategy ignores Princeton. Enjoying an abundance of good runners found neither in Cambridge nor in New Haven, the Tigers have seven men capable of displacing anyone of the Crimson's group on a good afternoon.
Princeton's depth forces McCurdy to count on his secondary runners as well. This means fast races from the three-some of Bob Anshuetz, Pete Huvelle, and Dick Hawkins. As McCurdy puts it, "the strength of Harvard's fifth man may decide the race."
For the first time in a long time, the Big Three meet is one that any competitor can win. Yalie brilliance in Mack, the Crimson "big three," and Tiger depth should make the race as tight as any to be seen in the Ivy League for quite a while.