Big Green Harriers Destroy Harvard; Switchenko Treads on Crimson Toes
The day after the Harvard cross country team stooped to Dartmouth, 22-33, Friday in Hanover, Crimson coach Bill McCurdy went bird hunting.
"I was so mad, I wanted to shoot something," he said.
But just as the Big Green flew by Harvard, the partridges flew by McCurdy and both team and coach came home empty-handed.
Led by speedstar Art Switcenko, Dartmouth took command of the race at the halfway mark of the six mile race. And though the Crimson tried hard to spoil Dartmouth's romp, it could not make up the difference over the treacherous hills of Dartmouth's home course.
After taking last year off, Switchenko--whose name sounds like "a dead-end weapon" according to McCurdy--repeated his 1978 stellar performance when he outraced the legendary Harvard trio of Eddie Sheehan, Peter Fitzsimmons and Mark Meyer.
"The race looked like a carbon copy of '78," McCurdy said. "Switchenko looked tired in the middle and you thought he was going to drop out any second, but he never slowed up."
Harvard's Buck Logan kept up with Switchenko over the first two and a half miles of the race but by the three mile marker "both had become extremely anti-social," McCurdy said.
Still a little tired from his third place finish at Tuesday's Greater Boston Championships, Logan succumbed to the hills at the three mile mark, finishing the race in 29:36--21 seconds off Switchenko's pace.
Dartmouth captured third and fourth in 29:48 and 30:11 respectively, while Harvard's Adam Dixon had to settle for fifth in 30:27.
Dixon's lack of cross country experience plagued him Friday over the uneven course. "Dixon wasn't going to give those hills an inch," McCurdy said.
"About a half-mile from the finish there's a small hill and once he got to the top you wondered how his legs were going to keep moving," he added.
For the fifth time this season, freshman Felix Rippy was Harvard's third man in. He finished seventh in 30:39.
Although the Dartmouth course gave even the experienced runners some trouble, a newcomer managed to break into the varisty line-up Friday, as freshman Paul McNulty came in fourth for Harvard and ninth overall in 30:56.
"After Paul won the junior varsity race at the GBC's he demanded a promotion and the labor relations board prevailed," McCurdy said.
Harvard's final man in, Eric Schuler, suffered from a cold and found himself in trouble early in the race but hung on for a 31:09 finish.
"I've got to hold myself in check--I can't be unhappy because we're getting a hell of a lot more out of this young team than anyone would have expected," McCurdy said, adding, "Still, I sure don't like this losing business."
With a 5-3 record (2-2 in the league) Harvard heads to New Jersey Saturday for the Big Three Championship.