Eleven Crimson harriers, "all tried and true and mad as hell at the NCAA" according to their coach, Bill McCurdy, will open their season this afternoon with a dual meet against the powerful Northeastern Huskies.
The harries' anger stems from the new NCAA traveling regulations that prohibit the home team from fielding more than 11 runners in a meet. The visiting squad can run just nine.
Thus, in the words of McCurdy, "a premium is put on just a few select people. This is a different approach than we're accustomed to, and I'm not in favor of it."
Work Cut Out
So while many potential varsity harriers either participate in today's J.V. meet or sit in Cambridge and curse out the powers that be, the eleven members of the running elite will have their work cut out for them against the Huskies, New England's second-ranked team.
"Potentially, we've got more depth than we've had for the last few years," McCurdy said yesterday. "But we're young and inexperienced. We're green."
Part of McCurdy's problem will be the gaps left by the graduation of last year's best runners, Jim Keefe and Bill Muller. This year's captain, Bill Okerman, and junior Jeff Campbell, who emerged as an outstanding miler last spring, hope to fill the void. "Hopefully," McCurdy said, "Campbell's performance last spring will translate into a top-flight performance this fall."
Following Okerman and Campbell, McCurdy has high expectations for sophomore Stein Rafto, last year's freshman sensation who occasionally displaced Muller as the second-rated harrier. Rafto heads a group of six sophomores who comprise the majority of the team.
Included in this group are Brian Finn, Chris Bickerton, Eddie Blades, Dave Nemazee, and Bruce Dalglish.
In addition, McCurdy can count on junior Bill Kraus, a J.V. performer last year who in the words of McCurdy has "startlingly improved. He's been confounding the hell out of me all fall." Junior Brian Dunn, senior Wayne Curtis, and Mark Graham, returning after having missed last season due to an illness, comprise the remainder of the Crimson squad.
Eleven of the aforementioned twelve runners will compete against Northeastern today, as the Crimson attempt to gain revenge for the season opening defeat which the Huskies inflicted on them a year ago.
"We're a cohesive unit," McCurdy said yesterday. "The training camp was one of the most pleasant that I've ever attended. We accomplished a great deal, and as a result, we're a much stronger team than anticipated. Whether or not this shows in the record remains to be seen."
With Northeastern on tap today, and Providence and UMass lurking in the near future, this improvement might not show in the record for quite a while.