Not all Harvard teams culminate their seasons with a chance to go to a national competition. But both the men's and women's cross-country teams do.
Both squads leave Cambridge tomorrow for qualifying meets. The men travel to Lehigh University in Pennsylvania for the IC4A's, while the women will journey up to Burlington, Vt:, to run in the Eastern Regionals on Saturday.
The IC4A meet is the harriers NCAA qualifier, and they must finish in the New England top two to be invited back to the NCAA national championships, to be held on the same track the following week.
The Crimson's chief competitors at Lehigh should be Dartmouth, Northeastern, and especially Boston University and Providence College. The harriers have already beaten Northeastern and Dartmouth this season, and Captain Felix Rippy says their best chance to advance to the championships would be to knock off heavily favored Providence.
Rippy doesn't think Providence ought to be so heavily favored. "Providence beat Northeastern by only 20 points, which in a big meet is very little. We beat Northeastern by 11 in a dual meet, which is really a bigger win I'd say the odds were really even," Rippy explains.
Thirty schools will he represented at Lehigh, with seven runners from each team. In addition to Rippy, Harvard will be sending Paul Gompers, Andy Gerkin, Brace Weber, Cliff Sheehan, Peter Jelley and Jini McDonald. Although the harriers finished third in the Heptagonals two weeks ago, they have a realistic chance to win a berth in the NCAA finals next week.
The women are the defending champs in the Easterns, and there is no reason to believe they won't duplicate the leat.
Led by Juniors Kate Wiley and Kathy Good, the women ended an undefeated season with a victory at the Heps and go to Burlington as the favorites. This year, however, they should face some stiff competition from the Boston College and Boston University squads, neither of which they have come up against this year.
This Crimson will send seven runner to the meet. Joining Good and Wiley will be Captain Grace DeFries, Miriam Keltz, Leslie Cooper, Lois Brommer and Amy Simon. A victory in Burlington would earn the harriers a trip to Lehigh for the NCAA finals.