"We haven't had anything go right for us this season," lamented Harvard cross-country captain Stein Rafto after the harriers journeyed to New York City yesterday to finish ninth out of a ten-school field competing in the Heptagonals at Van Cortland Park.
By the time Ed Sheehan crossed the finish line first for the Crimson in 27th place, the only spectator left was the old guy who sells re-washed golf balls on the ninth hole of the Van Cortland public golf course.
Sheehan completed the five-mile circuit of what used to be the Van Cortland family estate in 26:02, while sophomore Thad McNulty clocked 26:07 to finish in 33rd place. Reid Eichner placed third for the harriers followed by Mark Meyer and Noel Scidmore.
Princeton came away with a first-place finish and the Ivy League championship. All eight Ivy schools compete in the Heptagonals with Army and Navy rounding out the field. The Tigers racked up a low team aggregate score of 60 compared to Harvard's 195 point total.
Army's Curt Alitz careened across the tape in first place with a time of 24:37, which was 15 seconds slower than his winning time last year, as a dank mist enshrouding the Bronx slowed down the field. Dean Stevens of Dartmouth traversed the circuit in 25:02 to come in the runner-up while Princeton's Bruce Barnes and Jerry Kooymans finished third and fourth.
Yesterday's unseemly performance was especially hard to swallow since last year the Crimson placed second behind the Tigers with both Rafto and Eichner earning all-Ivy honors by virtue of finishing seventh and eighth respectively.
Rafto was once again gunning for an all-Ivy berth yesterday, running in 15th place at the halfway mark. He began to develop leg cramps and by the time he reached "Cemetery Hill" at the end of the course, he had dropped back from 15th to 59th.
"You just watch the race pass you by," Rafto said glumly.
The only squad the Crimson managed to edge was Brown, but once again the harriers trailed Columbia and Penn, who beat Harvard in a tri-meet earlier in the season at Van Cortland.
With things going so badly for the harriers, Sheehan and Co. might as well have stopped awhile and rummaged in the woods for some golf balls themselves. You can usually find some vintage Spaldings because Van Cortland golf course, founded in 1896, is the oldest public links in America.