Commencement week activities will take on an international flavor this afternoon, as a combined Harvard-Yale squad takes on a team made up of athletes from Oxford and Cambridge, England in a 4:30 p.m. meet in the Stadium.
This year's competition is the 24th running of the meet since 1899 and the first time since 1965 that it has been staged in the United States. Harvard-Yale leads the series 12-11, and has won the last three encounters.
The meet should be close since the scoring system (only first places count) makes each event an all-or-nothing affair. And with this type of scoring, it is possible that the meet could end in a tie, as the 8-8 final score of the Cornell-Penn/Oxford-Cambridge match proves.
The Harvard-Yale teem seems assured of wins only in three events, and one of those, the pole vault, will have no English entrants. Nevertheless, Harvard's Jim Kleiger should be the center of attention as he makes one last assault this Spring to clear 17 feet. He has already soared 16 ft. 8 in. this year and has re-written the Harvard record book.
Harvard-Yale also looks solid in the javelin and high jump. Adrian Tew, who set a new Harvard record with a throw of 226 ft. 7 in. seems to have too much for Cambridge's Colin Shaw, whose 197 ft. 6 in. best is considerably below Tew's mark. In the high jump Harvard's Mel Embree has cleared 6 ft. 8 in. and teammate Bill Bihrle has gone 6 ft. 6 in., both far above Oxford's Richard Gyles's 6 ft. 2 in. best.
The only sure English win seems to be in the 880 where Philip Lewis's 1:47.1 over 800 meters seems untouchable for any of the Harvard-Yale performers. Yale's Toby McLeod's 1:54.0 in the 880 is the best the Harvard-Yale squad can offer, but it doesn't seem likely that any serious challenge to Lewis will be mounted today.
The best race of the day should be the mile in which Oxford's Robert Steele will take on Harvard's John Quirk and John Hexem of Yale. Steele, who won the 1500 meter event in 1971, has a best mile time of 4:04. Quirk has gone 4:04.4 and Hexem has done a 4:05.5. The meet record of 4:03.4 and the Stadium standard of 4:04.2 seem in jeopardy.
That fourth straight victory may be an elusive prize to capture.