The British are here! The British are here!
And they're here to take on the Harvard and Yale track squads this afternoon on the Harvard and track.
Members of the Oxford and Cambridge track squads have made the journey across the Atlantic for this bi-annual competition. The Crimson and Eli squads face their British counterparts every two years, with the meet held alternately in the United States and England.
For this afternoon's meet, 42 British made the trip--23 men, 13 women, with coaches and their spouses rounding out the encourage.
Today's competition is the first of four the English will have with Ivy League track teams during their day stay. The Oxford Cambridge troops will take on Cornell April 9, and the Penn thinclads three days later.
The meet signals the opening of the Harvard track squads outdoor seasons The men are hoping to add an outdoor Heptagonal trophy to the one they took this winter, while the women are aiming to shake off the injuries that plagued them all winter.
Two years ago, when the meet took place in England, the Harvard Yale men won every event but the steeplechase, while the visiting women took all but two events. Although this year's Oxford Cambridge team looks a bit stronger, the Americans are favored.
There will be four people competing in each event--a member of the Crimson squad, an Eli, and the two strongest competitors from the British squad.
Although both teams would like to win the meet, the event is more a cultural exchange than a serious competition. Crimson track members are housing their British counterparts, and there will be a dinner and reception this evening for both squads.
So far the English runners have been enjoying their stay. They said yesterday they find Harvard students friendly and are extremely impressed by the athletic facilities.
Of course, they have a few complaints. "We've been very disappointed with the tea here," commented Jeremy Barton a third year Cambridge student.
They are also less than enthused about the Square's recreational facilities Paul Bristow, a four-year schoolmate of Barton's and winner of the 1983 steeplechase, remarked. "I'd have to give the Filly a thumb down There's no dance floor."
While the English visitors have been forming impressions of the U.S. and Harvard, they're also been making an impression on their hosts.
One member of the men's squad who asked to remain anonymous was particularly impressed. "Their female javelin thrower drank us under the table."