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Dick Williams, a pole vaulter on the varsity track team, won the University Handicap race along the Charles yesterday afternoon. Running with a five minute handicap, Williams defeated Phil Robertson, a sophomore hurdler, by about five yards.
The chief excitement, however, was provided by Jim Schlaeppi, a letter-winner with the cross country team last year, who recorded the best corrected time of the afternoon.
Schlaeppi, who has not been able to get in a single hard workout since returning to college, arrived on the scene ten minutes after the race had begun.
He warmed up while running from the locker room to the starting line, and then, running all by himself, proceeded to cover the 3.3-mile course in 18 minutes and 30 seconds.
The race was begun amid the usual squabbles over the size of the handicaps. Dave Rosenthal, a varsity hurdler, was awarded the biggest handicap, seven minutes over the "scratch" runners and at least two minutes over all others.
Rosenthal lost his advantage, however, in a futile attempt to block the course for his pursuers by closing the large iron gates beneath the Eliot bridge.
Williams and Robertson, both of whom started in the next or "five-minute" group, soon thereafter forged ahead of Rosenthal, and battled it out the rest of the way. Williams won the race with a finishing sprint in the last 50 yards.
Williams, who has no immediate plans to follow up this, his initial success as a runner, was originally reluctant even to enter the race. Upon finding his name on Coach Bill McCurdy's list of starters, he declared emphatically that "I've never run three miles before and I never will."
However, McCurdy, who has been coaxing extraordinary performances from his charges for years, eventually prevailed upon Williams to run.
All of the varsity cross country runners, with the one notable exception of Schlaeppi, started from scratch. The winner among this group was French Anderson, whose corrected time of 18:44 was second fastest.
Anderson, who finished 11th overall, was closely followed by several other varsity runners including Captain Dave Norris (18:45), Dyke Benjamin (18:48), and Pete Reider (18:56). Reider, the top Crimson runner for the past two years, is as yet recovering from an illness incurred while visiting Israel to compete in the Maccabeiah games.
Other varsity finishers, in order, were Ed Martin, Dave Donaldson, Al Gordon, Wes Hildreth, and Gary Brooten. Still further back were Howie Katz, Joe Julian, Lincoln Hollister, and Larry Lavers.
The large freshman contingent was led home by Brandy Harrison, who started with the varsity runners from scratch and produced the fifth fastest corrected time of the day, 18:53.
The remainder of the Yardlings all had a two-minute handicap. Edwin Harrington and Jacques LaFrance were the leaders among this group, each recording corrected times of just over 20 minutes.
Both the varsity and freshman squads officially open their seasons later on this week. The Yardlings travel to Andover for their first meet on Friday, and the varsity takes on Springfield and highly-regarded Maine Saturday morning at Franklin Park.
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