Harvard Track 20th at IC4As; Ajootian Qualifies For Nationals
Only the 1976 Red Sox rate above the Harvard indoor track team on the bell-shaped curve of frustration. Last week the team finished a paltry 20th in the IC4As at Princeton, falling badly from last year's fifth place finish.
This winter, the team's final record in dual meets was 1-3 compared to a 5-0 mark last winter. Two weeks ago, the trackmen struggled to a sixth at the Heps; last year, they sprinted to a strong second.
At the IC4As, the Crimson could manage but five points. Ed Ajootian collected four of them as he heaved his way to the NCAA finals. Ajootian's 63-ft. 8-in. toss was a personal best and good enough for second place.
The two-mile relay team blazed to the tape in 7:33.0 in the qualifying race, a quicker time than last year's winning standard. A vintage field in the finals prevented the team of Thad McNulty, Scott Dolson, John Chafee, and Jeff Campbell from repeating last year's championship effort.
Coach Bill McCurdy was flu-ridden and did not make the trek to New Jersey. For McCurdy, and the ailing members of his squad who did not make the trip and had to content themselves with sprints for the porcelain bowl, it was a dismal end to a dismal season.
"We managed to combine all the negative aspects that we could think of," McCurdy said yesterday. He added that the failure to replace graduating seniors and the flu bug especially hurt the team this year.
The Crimson's meets were often highlighted by stellar individual performances but team victories were snuffed because of lack of depth.
Tri-captain Jeff Campbell doubled or tripled in every meet, sacrificing his own opportunities for individual achievement to benefit the team. At the IC4As he passed up the finals in one of his individual events to run in the two-mile relay and help his cohorts in their unsuccessful quest to qualify for the Nationals.
Sprinter Todd Hooks symbolized many of the frustrations facing the Crimson. The tri-captain rushed his recovery from a stifling leg injury to bolster a depleted sprint and hurdle corps. The timber-topper performed brilliantly at times, as did hurdler Paul Organ, but the pair could not pull the team through alone.
"It was disheartening and the spring looks the same. We just were not able to develop," McCurdy said.