The women's track squad opened its 1981 outdoor season with a second-place finish in a triangular meet Saturday at the University of Massachusetts.
The Crimson amassed 58 points to the University of New Hampshire's 64, while UMass copped third with 38 points. The Harvard team, despite the absence of Kristen Linsley, displayed its usual strong performance in the distance events.
The two-mile quarter, which went unbeaten throughout the Indoor season, maintained that status. But weak efforts in the sprints and field events hampered the Crimson's overall finish and probably cost it the meet.
Strong winds considerably slowed the times, but the Crimson managed firstplace finishes in the quarter-mile, mile and two-mile runs. Co-captain Becky Rogers grabbed the top spot in the 440, turning in a time of 60.9 seconds, followed by Yardling teammate Lucy Ashley, who finished in 62.0.
In one of the meet's more exciting races. Dariene Beckford pulled out a neck-to-neck battle to cop a first in the mile, finishing in 5:08. "It was so exciting because the pace started out slow because of the wind and then picked up," Rogers said yesterday. Marry took third with a time of 5:10. Harvard's two mile relay team of Rogers, Martha Clabby, Hedithy and Ashley followed suit by cruising to victory with little problem.
The Crimson women were denied possible first in the half-mile when co-captain Clabby and a UNH runner snapped the tape together. The judges, without the aid of an accu-timer, awarded the top spot to UNH. Freshman Grace Defries copped third in that event with a 2:20.6 timing.
The Crimson didn't fare nearly as well in the field events or hurdles, but did manage two firsts. Kim Johnson launched the shot 40 ft. 5 in. to claim first in that event. Liane Rozzell than aided the Harvard effort by leaping 5 ft. 0 in. to win the high jump.
The Crimson sprint effort offered few points to the Harvard tally, but revealed potential talent for future meets. Yardling Alice Neuhauser and veteran trackster Cecile Scoon finished third and fourth respectively in the 200-yd, dash. And another Yardling, Kathryn Busby, a newcomer to the team, turned in a surprise performance with a fourth-place finish in the 100-yd. dash.
THE NOTE BOOK: Two weeks ago the team ran in a meet in Georgia to warm up for the upcoming season. True to form the two-mile relay squad of Rogers, Clabby, Herlihy and Linsley captured top honors by turning in a 9:18 clocking. But the highlight of the meet went instead to the coaching staff. Assistant coach John Babington donned his running shoes and took to the track, running a very respectable 4:50 mile as legions of women runners cheered wildly. This week members of the team will be hosting visitors from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The visitors are in Cambridge in preparation for next weekend's meet in New Haven, Conn., which will match up a squad form Oxford-Cambridge against Harvard-Yale. The women expect some stiff competition from their British visitors.