The herd giveth and the herd taketh away.
Racing against both Columbia and UPenn, the Harvard harriers stomped on the Quakers, 26-39, at Van Cortlandt Park in New York yesterday.
A lack of experience and fatigue from Tuesday's tough meet against nationally ranked Providence College combined to thwart the Crimson's attempt to avenge last year's loss on the same five mile course.
"The Columbia home course is so tough," injured captain John Murphy said. "You have to run against the Van Cortlandt course as well as the people."
Harvard's top five finishers included four sophomores and a freshman, none of them used to the interrupted running of the course, which winds a narrow path through the hilly woods.
Columbia junior Wally Collins used the home course advantage to snag top honors in the race, finishing in 25:20. Harvard sophomore Eric Schuler followed him four seconds later for the number two spot.
Schuler, who has been nursing a hurt knee but came on strong Tuesday, said he felt tired at the start but caught a second wind going into the third mile.
"I was so surprised," Schuler said afterwards. "I wasn't planning on doing so well becaue I had felt so tight after Tuesday."
Harvard led at the mile mark with sophomore Buck Logan pushing the 4:47 pace. But Logan, who won the season opener against Northwestern, dropped back soon thereafter as the more experienced runners took over.
Going into the final mile, Schuler said, he saw Columbia's second man gaining. But Schuler toughed it out, pushing to the top of Cemetery Hill to ruin any Lion hopes for a one-two finish.
Places three, six and seven belonged to the Lions while Penn captured fourth and fifth. Logan had to settle for eighth with a time of 26:12.
To round out the Crimson's score, sophomore Bruce Weber came in 12th in 26:27, freshman Marty Wehlege took 13th in 26:29 and sophomore Andy Regan was 15th in 26:36.
A late blossomer last year, Weber hails from Wellesley and should continue to score for Harvard again this season.