Whether it was black cats, walking under ladders, or a shattered mirror that jinxed the Crimson track forces at New Haven Saturday, or whether Jaakko's operatives were just having an off day will never be known. But in the most brilliantly contested Heptagonal meet since its inception five years ago, favored Harvard went down to defeat to Cornell by a slim half point, 46 3-7 to 45 13-14.
It was not until two hours after the hurdles and standards had been stowed away, however, that the outcome of the meet was decided as officials clustered around a movie projector in Payne Whitney Gym and watched pictures of the finish of the 440-yard relay.
Sprint Relay Finish Tight
Anchored by flashy Jim Pender, who won both the Century and the furlong hurdle events, Cornell had clearly won the sprint relay. Don Donahue and George Kroupa of Penn had finished in a blanket drive for second place, and the officials had tentatively awarded the latter the palm.
In the projection room the decision in favor of Penn was confirmed.
If Harvard had been awared the second place, meet honors would have gone to the Mikkolamen: if a tie had been declared, the Crimson and Red would have finished in a deadlock.
Donshue Bangs Barrier
Both Princeton and Yale finished close behind the leaders, with 42 and 40 13-14 points respectively, as Penn, Columbia, and Dartmouth trailed in that order with 24 3-7, 21 3-7 and 18 6-7 points.
Harvard's misfortunes started early in the day, as Don Donahue cracked into the ninth hurdle in the 220 lows and failed to place in the money; and in the highs the Crimson ace, conceded an excellent chance for first honors, took only a fourth as Mase Fernald finished in fifth place.
The Crimson's stock went down another couple of points when Charley Smith, white hope in the 100-yard dash, pulled up lame in his trial heat and was scratched in the final.
But there was a bright side of the picture, too. Jim Lightbody, shifted into the 880 in a desperate bid for points, scored a stunning 1:54.1 victory in the half. And Bill Shallow outdid himself with a tremendous 170 foot, one inch hammer heave to capture first place and set a new meet record. Dick Sears took fifth in the same event.
Haydock Ties in Jump
In the high jump Captain Bob Haycock tied with Princeton's Dick Robinson for first place with a leap of six feet, one inch.
In the mile relay Harvard was doomed by Lightbody's tiring 880. Running in the number three spot, he handed the baton and a one-yard lead to Anchorman Torby Macdonald, who was unable to withstand the speed of Cornell's Johnny Nevius and took second.
Two Harvardites, Marshall MacIsaac and Stephen Madey, placed in the vault, the former tying for second, and the latter ending in a seven-way tie for third. In the jump Bob Partlow took fourth, as Dartmouth's Don Blount upset Princeton's Anson Perina with a tremendous leap of 24 feet, 6 3-4 inches.
George Downing, who took third in the discus, had a bad day in the shot-put, failing to get beyond the 47 foot, nine inch mark. He took fifth behind his teammate, Howie Mendel.