With Bob Playfair lost to the team by sickness, Coach Mikkola has withdrawn his harriers from the annual Intercollegiates, marking the first time in over four decades that Crimson runners have not been represented in the lineup at Van Cortland Park.
Victorious in every start, with Holy Cross, Dartmouth, Yale, and Princeton numbered among their victims, the harriers this season rated among the leading contenders until Playfair's illness blasted Harvard's hopes of regaining the championship, which was last brought to Cambridge by Penn Hallowell's all-time championship team of 1931.
Measuring the season's record against that of the 1934 team which finished seventh in last year's Intercollegiates. Playfair's squad shows a less brilliant record than the team captained by Charlie Woodard.
This year's team ran much closer meets, ekeing out a bare five-point victory over Yale and Princeton in the H-Y-P meet. The decisive factor which made Harvard's hopes look bright for the Intercollegiates, however, was the practice which they received on the hilly Brookline Country Club.
On the smooth course of the Charles, previous Crimson harrier outfits have been unbeatable, but with only two exceptions the teams sent to Van Cortlandt have turned in consistently worse performances than their records warranted.
Playfair furnished an example of this last year, when, after having trimmed Woodland, Minor, and Canning of Yale in the H-Y-P meet, he trailed them to the tape along the rough Van Cortlandt course. Workouts in Brookline had been expected to obviate a similar upset this year, and until the news of Playfair's illness, Jaakko's team looked good for a victory bid in the I. C. 4A.