The last time the Yale men's cross country team won the annual Big Three Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet, no one on the 1985 squad was alive.
In fact, the last time the Elis won, man had not yet walked on the moon. Dwight D. Eisenhower was still president.
That year was 1960, but the Bulldogs ended a 24-year drought at Franklin Park yesterday by capturing the Big Three meet, beating Harvard, 25-34, and Princeton, 22-37. Harvard finished second, knocking off Princeton by a 25-32 count.
"Twenty-five years is long enough for anything," said an elated Yale Coach Steve Bartold after watching his team pack together well enough to offset a one-two finish by the Crimson's Paul Kent and Bill Pate.
During the past 25 years, Yale men's cross country has run in Harvard and Princeton's shadows, but the sun was shining on Eli yesterday.
"This is the first time you could consider us competitive in the cross country portion of the H-Y-P," Bartold said.
The meet started out close.
"Our strategy was to take it to them early and try to get a pack to stay with Yale's lead runner," Kent said.
The Crimson plan worked well for a while.
Four Cantabs--Kent, Pate, Michael Spence, and Mark Foley--were in the lead pack at the one-mile mark, which they passed in 5:09.
At two miles, Kent and Pate began to pull away from the pack, but other Crimson runners faded.
Kent emerged as the frontrunner and finished the five-mile course in 25:30, 16 seconds ahead of Pate.
But five Elis and two Tigers squeezed in between Pate and the next Cantab--John Oja--who was 10th in 26:33.
Just 32 seconds separated the first and fifth Yale runners, creating a high-scoring Bulldog pack that pushed the Elis to victory.
Despite the second-place team showing, Harvard's continuing progress pleased Kent.
"I think that was the best race of the year by far," Kent said.
"It's good to beat Princeton," said Harvard Coach Ed Sheehan. "We saw some good things out there. Paul and Bill continue to run extremely well."
Harvard now has a week to train for its first post-season meet--the Heptagonal Championships--next week at Van Cortlandt Park in New York.
"With a week of some good rest, the men will be primed for Heps," Sheehan said. "If we run to our capacity, we'll be in the top three."
But as far as the Big Three meet goes, Yale will covet its victory for at least a year.
"The first time is always the hardest," Bartold said. "I think next time will be easier."