"The situation looks very hopeful," Coach Jaakko Mikkola commented yesterday as he put his near record-sized cross country squad through its last paces before tomorrow's University Intramural Handicap, on the basis of which a ten man Varsity will be selected for the four way intercollegiate meet on October 11.
Sixty of the 107 man squad appeared yesterday to jog around the 3.7 mile course. Mikkola followed the runners by car, warning them to conserve their strength for tomorrow's race.
Handicapping, on the basis of previous record, experience, and state of training, as well as brief observation during the last week, has been done, and the squad is now divided into six categories, from outright newcomers to former Varsity pacemakers. At about 4 o'clock tomorrow afternoon the starting gun will send the first 15 men on their way up the riverside course from behind Newell Boat House.
Thirty seconds later the second group of 22 will leave the line followed by the third classification of 11 men, who start with a total handicap of 50 seconds. One minute and ten seconds after the initial start, group number four with 18 entries will get going. A seven man party will then leave with one minute and 50 seconds against them and finally the Varsity, who will have to make up three minutes and ten seconds on a course for which the record is 19:01, take their mark.
Twenty minutes later the first contingent of finishers should pull into sight on the stretch back of Newell, which is also the finish line. The race amounts to a time trial for every man on the squad, and the ten best times will give some indication of this fall's Varsity and what it can do.
The quadrangular meet a week from tomorrow will see Tufts, Holy Cross, and M.I.T. competing with the Crimson Varsity at Franklin Park, while Freshmen and J.V. runners from the four schools may line up here on the Charles River course.
Assisting Coach Mikkola with his extra large team is the new track weight-coach, Ed Flannagan, recently of Andover.