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When bands are playing, the air is crisp, and thousands crowd into the stadium on a Saturday afternoon, a hundred-odd cross country harriers got many an unappreciated shin-splint pounding the turf along the Charles or in the grueling four-mile course at Franklin Park. Always an inconspicuous sport amidst the noise of the football season, and until yesterday the World Series, the Crimson harrier aggregation, nevertheless, within a short two-week practice period, managed to take second in the four-way meet last Friday, and promises to attract some attention in the sports arena this fall.
Patently not a spectator sport, cross country further confuses the occasional fan by its peculiar scoring system, which puts a premium on getting a team of runners rather than one or two record-breaking champions. This may be illustrated by last Friday's meet, in which M.I.T., the winning team, placed men in the following order: 4-5-6-7-8. The sum of these numbers is 30--Tech's score for the meet. The first Crimson harrier to cross the line was in ninth place and he was followed by his teammates in the 10-14-17-22 slots which added up makes 72, enough to beat Tufts by two points. In other words, low score wins and every team is scored by its leading five men.
On the basis of the University Handicap on November 4, coach Jaakko Mikkola was not sanguine about the prospects before Friday's quadrangular, but was well pleased with the results which confirmed his belief in teamwork. In spite of the terrific time registered by Dumboman Ted Vogel, who had left his teammates far behind, the Crimson was able to fill up those vital gaps and take over the second spot. When Vogel crossed the line in 21:56.6 some spectators wondered if they were witnessing a new world record breaker or on the other hand if the course of 4.25 miles had been inaccurately measured. If the course is right, Vogel was running close to a flye minute mile all the way, up and down hill at that. The record four mile on a cinder track is only a couple of minutes less than that time.
Though the top spot runners for the College team are still nebulous, results of the Handicap and the Quadrangular give a good line on the season's Varsity. Huna Rosenfeld was the first Crimson-man to come in behind the well-trained Tech placers with the creditable time of 24:28 and he was followed in a near photo finish by Frank Gurley who may well lead the harrier squad when he puts a few more weeks training behind him. Rosenfeld, a Sophomore, is also a track miler and seems to have a long running career ahead of him. Gurley has developed his ability almost entirely under the tutelage of Mikkola since he entered in '44 and returned from the Army this fall.
With a team still in the training stage, the Rhode Island State-Connecticut meet at Franklin Park tomorrow looks like a tough nut to crack. Rhode Island is a school that takes cross country very seriously and this season's team has already crushed Springfield College 20 to 41, a rout in a cross country two-way meet. Connecticut is an unknown quantity, but Jaakko is confident that this meet will give the team the necessary experience to face Dartmouth next week and the Yale-Princeton triangular in a fortnight.
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