The varsity cross country squad will have a chance to vindicate itself this afternoon when it meets Penn and Columbia at New York's Van Cortlandt Park. Last Saturday the Crimson went down to the worst defeat of coach Bill McCurdy's reign, and Penn has the potential to hand the varsity its second straight loss.
Quaker Ernest Tracy, second to the Crimson's great Dyke Benjamin in last year's meet, will be the man to beat today. Teammate Jon Jerbasi and a host of bright sophomore prospects should give Tracy strong support. Moreover, it is rumored that Penn has an experienced returning serviceman who may upset all predictions.
Columbia has lost most of last fall's first-line performers, including the spectacular Jose Iglesias, and the Lions are unlikely to figure strongly in the final standings. Lou Rissone and Peter Javiscas could finish among the leaders, however.
Another Crimson showing like Saturday's debacle against Brown seems improbable. Mark Mullin and Jed Fitzgerald have stood out in practice this week, and Don Kirkland and Jack Benjamin are ready to move up with the frontrunners.
Most encouraging of all for the varsity is the news that captain Eddie Martin has looked better during the past week than at any other time since he incurred his crippling heel injury. If Martin is healthy, there are few men who can beat him. Sophomore Tony Field, weakened earlier this season by the effects of an operation, will start for the first time today and should help the Crimson cause.
Ralph Perry, a pleasant surprise in the squad's first two races, has conquered a bad cold and will be in condition to place high this afternoon. Bob Knapp, Greg Baldwin, and Wes Hildreth should provide added depth.
The freshman meet is a toss-up. On Wednesday, the Yardlings, without their ace Ed Hamlin, took an 18-43 beating from Andover. Hamlin should be back in action today, however, and the Crimson has at least an even chance to win.