Third time pays for all.
A bit of a cliche, perhaps, but ask Adam Dixon, John Murphy and Thad McNulty if they don't believe it. Dixon, Murphy and McNulty, each running in his third event of the day, teamed with Noel Scidmore to race to a win in the meet's final event, the two-mile relay, sparking the Harvard track team to a stirring 71-65 win over Northeastern at the ITT Saturday.
The win snapped the Huskies' streak of 36 consecutive dual-meet victories.
Earlier, two wins by McNulty (mile, 1000) and Murphy (two-mile, 880), and two apparent seconds from Dixon had put the thinclads in good shape. But an unexpected loss in the long jump and the news that Dixon's runner-up spot in the 600 had been forfeited due to a lane violation vaulted Northeastern right back into the running.
"When I heard Dixon was disqualified in the 600, I didn't know where we were gonna make up the points," coach Bill McCurdy said after the meet. "That's when we decided to run Murph in the two-mile and half-mile."
If he was worried about making up the points, McCurdy could have consulted his tri-captain, Joe Salvo. The senior sprinter, returning from injuries that sidelined him the first half of the campaign, appeared in top form as he won the 60-yd. dash, helping to pick up the slack.
Meanwhile, Marc Chapus, in his first race ever at the distance, narrowly missed setting a school record when he blazed to victory in the 440 with a time of 49.17. In addition, pole vaulter Dave Randall turned in his best performance in Harvard colors when he won the event with a jump of 13 ft. 6 in.
Middle distance man Mike Ferrari, who handed Dixon his first defeat of the year in the 600 and ran the anchor leg of the mile relay, paced the Northeastern attack. As expected, the Huskies swept the high jump and nabbed first in the hurdles and the shot.
When Northeastern then picked up points by winning the mile relay and grabbing second in the two-mile, the two-mile relay became the deciding event.
With the thinclads clinging to a 66-65 lead, McCurdy elected to lead off the relay with Murphy. The junior All-American, who had expected to run only one event because of painful blisters on his feet, sprinted in front and handed the baton to Scidmore with a five-foot lead.
Try as he might, however, the ailing Scidmore could not stay in front and finished his leg with the thinclads several feet behind.
But this time, Dixon was not to be denied. Despite tendonitis in his knees that will sideline him for a week, the amazing sophomore grabbed the stick from Scidmore and raced off. In seconds, he pulled even. Then, the patented Dixon burst of speed put him in the lead. By the time anchorman McNulty got the baton, the Crimson was five yards in front.
The tri-captain held the lead against Northeastern's tough Tom Mortimer, and cruised past the finish line, winning the meet and breaking the Husky streak.
Coach Irwin Cohen's Huskies will ahve a chance for revenge when Harvard hosts the Greater Boston Championships in three weeks.