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The Harvard crew returned from England a year ago this month with some expensive silverware (the Grand Challenge Cup) and gobs of good will. This year the combined Harvard-Yale track team returns with just as much good will but only some Irish linen.
On paper the team split its two overseas meets. Quite obviously, however, it dropped the big one. The loss to the Oxford-Cambridge team really hurt. It wouldn't have been so bad if they were just soundly beaten, but the fact was that they beat themselves. The whole team felt that with usual performances and a little luck the 4-9 score might well have been reversed. Oxford and Cambridge admittedly had some good track men, but not quite as good as the score indicates.
The weather of the two weeks preceding the June 23 event had been about as perfect as anyone could ask. Even the famed English fogs and mists barely showed. Yet the weatherman chose to doublecross the meet directors, causing the expected shirt sleeves to be replaced by top coats as spectator apparel as the mercury dropped.
Both teams warmed up in the same way they had for the week preceding the 23rd. The Americans and English had been living and working out harmoniously together all along. The Englishmen went quietly about their running. Every once in a while a group of Americans joined them and joked around.
No Coach at Cambridge
The difference was in the coaches. Oxford now has its first track coach in history, but the Cambridge athletes still have to work strictly on their own. Jaakko Mikkola continually talked to little groups of Harvard trackmen here and there. Somehow they appeared more strained than the British. They complained of the weather and difficulty to warm up a little more and they seemed a little more shaky. Then the meet began and with it came sharp disappointment to the visitors.
Each event was carried out in clockwork regularity--typically English. Hardly had one event ended, when the next was begun. The pole vault, the first event of the afternoon, turned out to be perhaps the most thrilling of the entire meet. Harvard entry Bob Mello and Al Burger of Oxford both cleared 13 feet, but when the bar was raised six inches the two failed to go over in three tries. Since only! firsts count, the bar was lowered three inches to provide a winner. The tall Englishman didn't come close on his tries, but Mello, after missing the first two, the bar was raised six inches the two failed to go over in three tries. Since only 15 seconds while the bar bounced up and down, but it finally stayed on the edge to provide Mello and the Harvard-Yale team first blood.
Yale's famed Hipple twins were quick to put the visitors further out in front when they swept the high jump. Both cleared six feet two inches, but John, was given first over George because of fewer misses.
Art Pinnington of Oxford got off to a fast start in the 100 and coasted in to a 9.9 time, a full two yards in front of Todd Lewis of Yale. Hal Geick got a poor start and never came close.
Berman Wins 880 in Stretch
Ronnie Berman brought American hopes to their peak by coming from behind in the 880 to beat out E. K. Robinson of Oxford in the stretch drive. Berman laid back until the last 100 yards and then literally ran Robinson into the ground. The game Englishman collapsed in the last five yards from exhaustion. The time of 1:54.9 was over a second and a half faster than Berman had ever done before.
From this point on, however, the English took complete command, interrupted only briefly by Al Wilson's expected win in the shot. Phil Hildreth proved a surprise in the hurdles, beating out Charley Durakis by three yards in the lows and Bob Twitchell by about the same margin in the highs. Hildreth's low hurdles time of 24.1 was a tenth of a second under the old meet curved-track record.
Nicholas Stacey of Oxford was the meet's other double winner with easy wins in the 220 and 440. Stacey won by four yards over teammate Jim Wilkinson in the shorter race, and an hour later ran away from Ed Grutzner in the stretch of the 440. Grutzner's 50.1 was a distinct disappointment.
Morgan the Master
The Harvard-Yale team failed to provide Phil Morgan and C. W. Brasher with any opposition in the three mile. The fact that the English won this event was not surprising, but Morgan's performance was amazing. Brasher edged Morgan out for first two years ago when the English traveled to Harvard Stadium for the combined meet and again this spring in the Oxford-Cambridge meet, but the smooth striding Morgan was clearly the master in this race. He not only ran the race 15 seconds faster than he ever had before, but beat his supposed superior by almost 20 seconds. He was 30 seconds under the meet record.
Hal Gelck's sub-par performance in the broad jump enabled George Walker of Oxford to edge him with a jump of only 22 feet 7 inches. Oxford-Cambridge clinched the meet with an easy win by Chataway in the mile (4:15) and a one yard victory in the sprint relay. The Americans stared in disbelief at the 9-4 score as they quietly trooped off the field. "Somehow the whole meet just seemed like a bad dream," is the way one of the runners put it.
The bulk of the team traveled to Dublin two days later to compete in an open meet and a scheduled-meet between Queen's College of Belfast and Trinity College of Dublin at Belfast the following night. Al Wilson won the shot and discus in both meets. Mello in the pole vault, Grutzner in the 440, Sid Williams of Yale in the high hurdles, George Dole and Frank Effinger of Yale in the middle distances, and George Hipple turned in winning performances during the three days of track meets.
After the 27th of June the group began to split up. The bulk of them stayed to travel around Europe, while a few headed right for home.
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