The Crimson harriers will have "upset" on their minds as they compete in the 36th Annual Heptagonal Games this afternoon in Van Cortland Park, New York.
The eight Ivy League schools, and two of the service academies--West Point and Annapolis--will compete in the meet. Pennsylvania, the top-rated team in the east, is favored to emerge victorious today while the Tigers of Princeton are given the best chance of upsetting the favored Quakers.
Earlier this season, Penn defeated the Tigers by a narrow one-point margin. Each team easily handled Harvard in its previous encounters, and barring a miracle, the Crimson can be expected to finish no better than third in today's race.
"Penn and Princeton should be the teams to beat," Harvard captain Jim Keefe said yesterday. "We're just going to go out and see how close we can come to them."
The Crimson brings a 4-6 record and a second-place finish in the Greater Boston Championships into the meet. Five of those losses, however, occurred at the outset of the season, as the harriers have surged recently to take four of their last five meets.
Harvard's triumphs have come at the expense of four Ivy League opponents who will be running this afternoon. The Crimson turned back Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth and Yale, and only the Big Red should cause the Crimson any problems today. Harvard had to put together a great team effort to defeat Cornell three weeks ago in Franklin Park.
While the chances of revenging its earlier season losses to Penn and Princeton appear slim, Harvard should be able to overcome Columbia. The Lions handed the Crimson its third Ivy League loss this fall.
"We lost to Columbia earlier," Keefe said yesterday, "but we're probably better than they are now."
Army and Navy are question marks, as they did not run against Harvard this fall, but the Middies usually field a strong team, and they, too, could threaten the Crimson.
Harvard will depend upon the performances of Keefe, senior Bill Muller, and Stein Rafto, its top runners to date. The trio took the third, fourth and fifth places in the Crimson's most recent outing, a tri-meet versus Princeton and Yale in which Harvard finished second.
Physically the harriers are in good condition. "We still have people coming off injuries," Keefe said, "and as a result, we haven't had as much practice as we would have liked, but we're as healthy as we've been all season." Even a healthy Harvard squad, however, should finish no better than third.