Well, beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but the varsity track team isn't going to be. Since its old haunt, the Stadium, is being re-turfed, the varsity will be forced to take its talents elsewhere this spring.
All may not be lost, however, for the Harvard track fan (and that's how many there usually are--one track fan). Hopefully, work on the Stadium will be completed in time for the Yale meet which is, after all, the piece de resistance of any track season.
At that, Harvard sympathizers may be spared the sight of the track team's fall from grace. Last winter the Crimson was overpowering. For the first time since 1958, it defeated Yale indoors (60 to 53 1/2) and it swept to the Heptagonal title by the margin of three tenths of a point, 43 1/2 to Army's 43 1/2.
But the outdoor meet schedule differs from the indoor list of events in several insidious ways. There are two sprint events instead of one, and two hurdle races instead of one. The spring program includes javelin and discus throws in addition to the five winter field events. And the two-mile relay, the windup on the winter schedule, is not run outdoors.
Switch Poses Problems
Unfortunately, it just so happens that the varsity has no sprinters, one crippled hurdler, and no proven javelin or discus throwers. Furthermore, the two-mile relay was probably the Crimson's strongest running event by the end of the winter.
Even the minor changes affect the Crimson adversely. Don Kirkland is temperamentally better guited to the indoor 600 than to the outdoor 440, and Ed Hamlin is more at home in the indoor 1000 than in the outdoor 880.
The one beneficial alteration in the schedule of events is the addition of the hop, step, and jump. Here Chris Ohiri, if he can stay healthy, and Zeke Asikiwe should give the varsity a definite edge.
In other words, the varsity loses on almost every count by the switch to outdoor competition. The Crimson should still get through the Princeton and Brown-Dartmouth meets fairly easily, but the clashes with Army and Yale will present problems. And a repetition of this winter's Heps triumph would be a monumental accomplishment.
Big Three Are Back
The fabled Big Three of captain Mark Mullin, Eddie Meehan, and Hamlin will again lead the varsity's ground forces. Coach Bill McCurdy will count on them for domination of the 880, mile, and two-mile. Harry Rich, Greg Baldwin, and Bob Knapp should provide some help.
Again, as last year, the high point of the season should be the climactic battles in the mile between Mullin and Bobby Mack of Yale A clocking very near 4:00 is a definite possibility.
Kirkland, Rich, Dave Nawi, and Lowell Davidson should form an effective 440 corps. Jack Spitzberg is the lone hope in the hurdles, and Ohiri and Hobie Armstrong may or may not pan out in the sprints.
Field Events Look Strong
Ted Bailey in the hammer throw and Rick DeLone in the shot put are towering figures in the field events. Art Dotenshould be right behind Bailey, and Sarge Nichols will back up DeLone. Marty Beckwith and Jack Spitzberg could give McCurdy two 6 ft., 4 in, high jumpers.
The broad jump group is strong and deep, with Ohiri, Beckwith, Axikiwe, Sid Marland, and Al Albright. The pole vault, with Don Forte and Jay Mahaney, will still be weak. Armstrong in the javelin and Loern Clayman in the discus could be pleasant surprises, but have yet to prove themselves.
Things could go either way. If the varsity can roar back from its Puerto Rican trip and hand Army its annual spring trouncing, the rest of the season could be quite pleasant.