Princeton's men's cross country team has developed a foolproof strategy which guarantees it a victory in every Ivy League contest it enters.
It shows up.
Unfortunately for the Harvard and Yale harriers, the Tiger runners made it to the starting line of yesterday's season finale tri-meet in New Haven. And all seven of their official entrants reached the finish ahead of the Crimson and Eli harriers to score a perfect 15 points to Yale's 55 and Harvard's 70.
Four Eli runners grabbed the eighth through eleventh place spots to hand the Crimson another loss, 20-35, and bring the harriers' final overall mark to 4-4.
For the first three miles of the five-mile course, the Crimson stayed with the awesome Princeton pack, but as the Tigers accelerated, the Harvard harriers faded. Princeton's lead man finished over a minute ahead of Peter Jelly, the Crimson's top finisher, in a course record time of 25:52.
Jelly recorded a 27:02 to finish twelfth, while Andy Gerken, Eric Schuler, Adam Dixon and Bruce Weber all registered times under 27:35 to claim the fourteenth through seventeenth places for the Crimson.
Muddy terrain, a constant downpour, and the harriers' discomfort with the unfamiliar course made for some rather unimpressive performances.
"I just want to forget the whole mess," Coach Bill McCurdy said after the meet. "That was an absolutely miserable way to start a weekend."
Only Dixon's race was encouraging. The senior co-captain has been out of practice for three weeks with a knee injury, and in the final ten yards of yesterday's run, he slipped and fell. But Dixon quickly recovered his balance before anyone had passed him, and proceeded to cross the finish line in 27:33.
Now that the regular season has ended, the harriers will begin preparing for the championship competition beginning with the Heptagonal meet next weekend at Columbia's Van Cortlandt Park.