PRINCETON, N.J.--Harvard's track team built up a 17-point lead in the field events and then came on strong late in the running competition to defeat previously unbeaten Princeton and Yale, 73-59-16 Saturday in the Big Three meet at Princeton's Jadwin Gym.
"The whole meet was an exciting exhibition of team spirit," coach Bill McCurdy said yesterday.
McCurdy predicted last week that for Harvard to win, "someone's going to have to do something he hasn't done yet." Quite a few of McCurdy's trackmen did some things they had not done before--more than a half dozen team members turned in personal best performances.
The strong team effort began in the weight events when Ed Ajootian (62-7 3/4) and Dan Jiggetts (62-6) both threw personal bests as they finished 1-2 in their 35-lb. weight throw showdown with Tiger Gene Mancino. Ajootian's toss broke the meet record.
The Crimson then swept all four places in the shotput, as Kevin McCafferty heaved the shot 52 ft. 7 in. for first and Jiggetts picked up second.
Hunt Block popped his longest jump of the year to win the long jump at 23 ft. 3 1/2 in. Breaking his own meet record of 6 ft. 10 1/4 in., tri-captain Mel Embree soared to victory in the high jump at 7 ft.-even, and Dan Sullivan (6-8) nabbed second for the Crimson.
Jeff Campbell ran a strong 4:11 mile to finish second in that event, sandwiched between Tigers Craig Masback (4:10.1) and Charlie Norelli (4:12.0) Masback came back to take another first in the 1000, beating second-place finisher Jim Springate (2:16.1).
Joel Peters ran into stiff competition from Princeton's Chuck Hedrick and Pierre Gourdon in the 600, but the Harvard tri-captain outsprinted the Tigers to win in 1:11.7.
Princeton was starting to roar, though, and the Tigers continued to narrow the gap in the sprints. After a great start, Harvard's Todd Hooks pulled up lame in the 60-yd. hurdles, as Yale's Harry Davis went on to win in 7.6 seconds. Davis also won the 60-yd. dash, but more important, Princeton picked up second place in each event and third in the dash for eight points.
Geoff Stiles cleared the bar at 14 ft 6 in. in the pole vault for a personal best, but the leap only earned him a third place. Dan Williges led a 1-2 Princeton finish by vaulting a meet record 16 ft. 1/4 in., and the lead was cut to 51-40.
With Princeton leading the triple jump and only three running events remaining (including the Tigers' strength, the relays), the pre-meet predictions of a neck-and-neck finish looked accurate.
The two-mile began with the triple jump still in progress, and Harvard's Pete Fitzsimmons followed the pace of Yale's Dan Schlesinger for over half the race. With about four laps left, Fitzsimmons made his move, blazing by a pack of Princeton runners and then Schlesinger to win in a personal best time of 8:58.4.
All of a sudden, the Harvard team was alive and yelling, and the momentum had swung. As the mile relay was being run, Embree bounded 47 ft. 1 3/4 in. in his final triple jump attempt to capture first place--his second victory of the day.
Princeton opened about a 30-yd. lead in the first two legs of the mile relays, but tri-captains Sam Butler (49.2) and Peters (48.7) tore up the track in making up the distance as Harvard won at the tape in 3:20. The Crimson added a couple of points to the final score in the two-mile relay, behind strong legs by Springate (1:55.4) and Wayne Curtis (1:56.6).
After the final win, the team took a victory lap en masse around Jadwin's 220-yd. track and in anticipation of Saturday's Heptagonal meet at Cornell, yelled thunderously, "Heps! Heps! Heps!"