Mel Embree placed third in the high jump and Ed Ajootian copped a bronze medal in the 35-lb. weight throw to highlight Harvard's performance in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Indoor Track Championship held over the weekend in Detroit.
Embree and Ajootian accounted for all of the thinclads' meet total of six points, good for a 14th place tie with Hawaii, Wisconsin and Lousiana State. Texas ElPaso won the team title for an unprecedented third straight year while Villanova, which took third in the IC4A meet last weekend, was runner-up.
Embree's 7-ft. 2-in. jump behind winner Dwight Stones of Long Beach State and Georgia's Jim Barrineau Stones' leap of 7 ft. 2 3/4 in. tied the meet record set by Chris Dunn and Pat Matzdorf in 1972.
Barrineau also soared 7 ft. 2 in. but was awarded second place because he had fewer misses at lower heights.
Harvard's only other point winner in the two-day meet at Cobo Arena was Ajootian. The surprising sophomore took third place in the 35-lb. weight throw with a heave of 62 ft. 3 1/4 in.
UTEP's Emmitt Berry won the event at 65 ft. 8 in., as Mike Schomer of Western Michigan notched the runner-up spot.
"I'm not upset or anything," Embree said about his showing. "It was a good competition, even though a cramped jumping area forced us to take fewer steps."
For Embree, the third place finish marks a steady climb to national prominence.
Last winter, he tied for eighth place after an early season injury. In the outdoor NCAA finals last spring, he placed sixth.
"I'm in good position for the outdoor season," Embree added.
Coach Bill McCurdy said he has been impressed with Ajootian's progress throughout the season.
"While he was considered 'good' as a freshman, his best throw was only 56 feet. Now he's consistently in the 60's," McCurdy said.
"He deserves the success he has achieved," McCurdy noted. "He was all by his lonely while working out this fall."
The thinclads' other entrant in the event, Dan Jiggetts, did not place. "Danny's the kind of thrower whose balance is thrown out if his timing is just a little bit off," McCurdy said.
Harvard might have done better in the final standings had tragedy not befallen the Crimson's only other entrants, the twomile relay team.