In the fastest race Hanover has seen for a long time, the Harvard cross country team hit the comeback trail again yesterday and edged Dartmouth 26-29.
"It was the best race ever run on this course," Dartmouth's head coach Ken Weinbell said after the meet. "In terms of competition, it was the best race in three or four years," he added.
Harvard Capt. Mike Koerner, came back from a long layoff with the virus to take first place and beat the Hanover Country Club course record. He ran the 5.0 mile course in 26:54.
In addition, the number two and three runners broke and tied the club record. Tom Shiland of Dartmouth, who set the record of 27:40 in 1970, came in second behind Koerner in 27:19. And Harvard's John Quirk took third place in 27:40.
Koerner stayed way out in front for the entire race. At one point, Shiland came within about 100 yards, but couldn't keep pace and fell back.
John Quirk stayed in the number three spot for the whole race but he was challenged most of the way by Dartmouth's Jim O'Neill, who finished fourth, and Brian O'Hanion, who took fifth.
"It looked like O'Neill and O'Hanion were going to take him," Weinbell said, "but he finally decided to forget about them and try to beat Shiland for second."
O'Neill finished in 27:47 while O'Hanlon was clocked at 27:50.
The next six runners ran together for the entire race and all finished within 15 seconds of each other. Harvard's Tom New finished sixth in 27:57, just ahead of teammate Fred Linsk who took seventh at 28:00.
The battle for eighth place went right down to the wire. Dartmouth's Steve Shirley ran neck and neck throughout the meet with Harvard's Marshall Jones. Shirley beat Jones at the line by one second. They finished at 28:04 and 28:05 respectively.
Close behind Jones was Dartmouth's final scorer Larry Kroll, who finished tenth in 28:08, ahead of Harvard's Jere Hines, who was timed at 28:12.
Koerner began the race at a strong pace and just kept on going. He was timed at 4:30 at the first mile and 9:20 at the second.
Koerner's effort was especially impressive in view of his long lay-off. He missed the Cornell meet last Saturday and was a questionable starter for today.
Indians Hurt, Too
The Indians have also been suffering some from injuries. Capt. Eric Potter competed yesterday for the first time all year and finished a disappointing 14th in 29:18.
Harvard's win yesterday was the first real indication all season that an injury-free, virus-free squad will stand as a strong threat to the Ivy League and in the Greater Boston Championships next Tuesday. John Quirk, injured for most of the year, came from a tenth place finish against Cornell to third yesterday.
And the middle group of Tom New, Fred Linsk, Marshall Jones and Jere Hines, which showed promise against the Indians provided the depth which the Crimson needed yesterday.
The weather was perfect for the race. New Hampshire contributed not only fair skies to the runners, but also surprisingly warm temperatures.