"If our people are healthy, then we're going to be the team to beat,' Harvard track coach Bill McCurdy said yesterday.
That is one hell of an "if." Already key members of the men's indoor track team--All-American Adam Dixon and jumper Gus Udo, just to name two--are out with injuries and won't be able to compete in today's meet against B.C. at the ITT.
Overall, even with a healthy squad, the thinclads will need some help from the freshmen if they're going to live up to McCurdy's prophecy. With the graduation of captains David Frim, Marc Chapus, and John Murphy, the team is particularly vulnerable in the short distances and the mile relay.
The squad's success in the long distance events depends on senior Adam Dixon, who set an American record in the 1000 meter run last year, and the rest of the cross country runners. Freshmen harriers Peter Jelley and Cliff Sheehan should add the extra depth the team is looking for.
McCurdy feels that the jumping events--long jump, high jump, and triple jump--will be the team's strength. A healthy Gus Udo competing in all three events, along with sophomore Mark Henry and freshman Jim Gregory helping out in the high jump, will provide the team with experience and talent.
In other events, Tom Schuler will join Alec Quintero in the 35-lb. weight throw and will be tossing the shot put with co-captain Lanny Tron and junior Peter Rittenburg, while co-captain Dave Randall, now ailing with an injured knee, will be returning to pole vault. Freshmen should play a large role in the hurdles with the addition of Steve Ezeji-Okoye and Jim Herberich to aid veteran Kimbro Stephens.
The season will depend on the recovery of Dixon, Udo, and Randall, as well as the speed with which ex-gridders Scott Murrer and John O'Brien can get themselves in shape. Princeton, Penn and Dartmouth should be the Crimson's major competition, but Yale--coming off a strong cross country season--could also be a threat. Health will indeed probably end up being the determining factor in the Ivy League championship.
Today's meet against the Eagles marks the opening of this year's campaign. McCurdy has had to juggle his lineup because of injuries, but B.C. should not be a serious threat. Last year, the Crimson destroyed the Eagles 95-41, and although Harvard has lost a lot of talent through graduation, so has B.C.
B.C. took only four events last year--the 35-1b. weight throw, the shot put, the high jump, and the 1000 meter run--and only one of those winners, John Corcoran, who ran the 1000, is facing the Crimson today at 6 p.m. With injuries to key runners, this meet will give the Crimson coaches a chance to look at a promising group of newcomers while the freshmen get some experience.
"It's only because I am so old and so wise that I know we will overcome this injury plague and win," said McCurdy.