Today's Harvard-Northeastern cross country meet at Franklin Park isn't likely to be one of the season's big races, but there may be an interesting individual battle between sophomores Tony Frontierro of Northeastern and the Crimson's John Quirk.
Frontierro lost to Quirk in the freshman meet between the two schools last fall. Harvard placed five men in front of Frontierro, the Huskies' top finisher. The time between Quirk and his rival was 43 seconds.
Quirk continued to pace the Yardlings, and Frontierro prepared for revenge at the Greater Boston Meet a month later. But Quirk sat out the GBC's with an achilles tendon ailment, and though Fontierro won, he had yet to outrun Quirk.
"I think he was psyched out," Frontierro said while sitting under a tree after his victory. He doubted that it was an injury that kept Quirk out of the race.
Today, Frontierro is probably the top man on the Northeastern varsity, while Quirk is one of three mentioned yesterday by coach Bill McCurdy as Harvard's best bets against the Huskies.
This will be the year's first meet for Harvard, which is seeking to extend a streak of 33 consecutive dual meet wins. Only two runners are injured on what may be both the youngest and the best cross country team ever at Harvard.
The two injured runners are sophomores Marshall Jones, who has a groin pull, and Nat Guild, who is suffering from a hip ailment. A few other Crimson harriers have slight injuries, but will run today.
Harvard, which has an important meet Saturday against powerful Penn, is a clear favorite this afternoon despite running on the Huskies' home course, which is shorter and faster. McCurdy considers Northeastern a "good team," but admitted that he was forced to look beyond this meet.
The Crimson's top hopes this afternoon, besides Quirk, are captain Tom Spengler and junior Mike Koerner, who was the winner in this meet last year. Koerner set a golf course record during preseason camp this month, while Spengler became the first runner to never miss a workout in three years of camp.
Behind those three there is excellent depth, including Bob Seals, Howie Foye, and sophomores Tom New, George Barker, and Mark Connoly. Dave Pottetti, an All-American as a sophomore, decided not to come out this fall but has said that he may run an occasional race.
A freshman meet begins at 3 p. m., with the varsity race scheduled for 4 p. m.