On paper they were supposed to lose, but then, they don't run track meets on paper.
Harvard and Army ran Saturday's indoor meet on the ITT's newly dedicated Albert H. Gordon track, and the Crimson found unexpected strength in the field events to upset the Cadets, 79-57.
A combination of the dedication ceremony, a large crowd, and--most of all--a gutsy effort by a reinjured Adam Dixon, inspired the men's indoor track team to run its best meet this season.
Dixon's long-awaited return collapsed, in disaster when the All-American middle distance specialist hurt his foot in the stretch run of the 1500-meter race, in which he finished second in spite of the injury. Before he started to work out just two or three days prior to the meet, a knee injury had sidelined Dixon for more than three months.
Dixon's injury--which has been tentatively diagnosed as severely strained foot ligaments--will be examined today. If the preliminary prognosis proves correct, Dixon will not compete for six or eight more weeks.
Army thinclad Gus Grant, followed by teammates Cardell Williams and Mozina, set the early pace in the 1500. Crimson runners Eric Schuler and Paul McNulty followed right behind them, with Dixon in the rear. With three laps to go, Dixon made his move, passing McNulty and Mozina to chug into fourth. He moved into first with one lap left and Cadet Williams breathing down his bcak.
As Dixon and Williams came around the last turn, Dixon accelerated, injuring his foot in the process. Although obviously in extreme pain, he continued to run but could not keep Williams from taking the lead, and losing the race by half a step.
"I didn't really feel the pain with the adrenalin flowing," Dixon said. "I was proud that I did as well as I did. I think I ran a good race."
Dixon's injury could have really demoralized the team, but rather than giving up, the Crimson pushed even harder, Harvard took first and second in both the 400 and the 500, the races that follow the 1500. The field eventers had their best day this season, with Jim Johnson winning the long jump with his best leap of the season, captain Lanny Tron taking first in the shot put, and Al Quintero setting a personal record with a weight throw of 16.39 meters to take second place in that event.
Dwayne Jones jumped out to a quick lead in the 400--and never looked back--but Bennet Midlo had to really put on a burst of speed to overtake Army's Charles Baber by less than half a second, giving the Crimson first and second in the event.
"I just started running the 400 in the spring last year," Jones said. "I rely on my speed, nor endurance. I just get a stride and go."
Scott Murrer continued his winning ways, taking the 500 for the third consecutive meet. Army's Daryl Jaschen took an early lead, but the Crimson's Steve Ezeji-Okoye passed him with 220 yards to go. Murrer, Ezeji-Okoye and Jaschen were neck and neck until the final 50 yards, when Murrer outkicked his opponents to take first and Ezeji-Okoye held Jaschen off to take second.
In order to win the meet, Harvard had to get help from unexpected places, and freshman Cliff Sheehan's upset in the 1000 certainly helped. Sheehan had been scheduled to run the 800, but McCurdy placed him in the 1000 to fill Dixon's vacancy.
Sheehan had to come from way back to overtake a Cadet duo of Brian Oscher and James Stewart. All three finished within a second of each other, with Sheehan edging Oscher out by .02 seconds.
THE NOTEBOOK: All three of last year's captains, Mark Chapus, David Frim and John Murphy, were on hand for this meet.