Call this year's Harvard cross country teams "The Young and the Hungry."
Both the women's and men's teams will have junior captains and a fleet crew of youngsters trying to tear up the track.
With youth comes hunger, and the Crimson crews should be very hungry this year since neither squad did particularly well in 1986.
"It's a young team with really talented kids," Harvard Coach Ed Sheehan said.
On the men's side, Paul Gompers (who once ran a 2:15 marathon) has graduated. One of the major tasks of the team this year is to find someone to fill his fast shoes.
Under junior Captain Brian Cann, the team is seeking to be competitive while participating in a very tough Ivy League and championship meet schedule.
"We're going to surprise a lot of people," Sheehan said.
The women's team, behind Captain Katie Toner, looks to be very solid, as it has been in recent years. "They'll be one of the nation's better teams if everything gels together," Sheehan said. "It's all contingent on staying healthy."
Most of the Crimson's major confrontations this year will come in the larger championship and qualifying meets, such as the Greater Boston Championships, the HYPs, the IC4As (men) and the ECACs (women). According to Sheehan, the teams will be gearing up for these meets even more than the dual Ivy meets.
"We may be good enough to have someone qualify for the NCAAs," Sheehan said. "[Therefore] our primary goal is to do as well as we can in the championship meets."