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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

Runners Meet Tough Pennsylvania, Long Triumph Streak In Jeopardy

By John L. Powers

It has been a while since Harvard cross country coach Bill McCurdy has had to use "the big psyche" for a dual meet, but two weeks ago, the signs were posted on the bulletin board in Dillon Field House.

There was a press release from Pennsylvania, quoting Red and Blue coach Jim Tupenny as having said incredibly slanderous things about McCurdy's squad Beneath it was an interview with Tupenny. allegedly staged by McCurdy. in which the Penn coach needled the Crimson harriers individually. And off to the left was a large white placard with a limerick on it. attesting to Penn's hubris, and the inevitable punishment which Harvard would wreak upon it.

The presence of the signs has always meant that the Crimson is worried about its next opponent -worried that it may lose its victory streak, which now numbers 26. Usually. the concern is unwarranted. but today. for the first time since the 1967 Big Three meet. Harvard will have to run for its life at New York's Van Cortlandt Park.

Pennsylvania has never beaten the Crimson in a dual meet, and usually, never comes close. The Red and Blue put up a challenge last fall, but watched a deep and talented Harvard squad scatter it all over Cemetery Hill in a 17-44 triumph. This year. Penn will challenge again. and this time it has a squad that could knock the Crimson off.

Humiliated

Five good sophomores from Penn's freshman team that humiliated Harvard last October form the crest of the Penn varsity, and together with captain George Lokken and veteran Dan Stevens, have put the Red and Blue out of reach in three dual meets this fall.

Sophomore Julio Piazza. perhaps the top freshman cross-country runner in the East last year. is the man to beat this afternoon. Sophomore Mike Koerner, the Crimson's undefeated top man. must be the one to do it. The battle will be an interesting one to watch. but the outcome of the meet will hinge on whether Penn's long distance team can break Harvard's scoring bloc during the middle third of the race.

Hard Push

Tuppeny apparently feels that the Crimson's harriers are basically short distance types, and believes that Lokken and the tough Penn sophomores can destroy the amazing Harvard cohesion with a hard push at the three mile mark.

"They will. like hell?y McCurdy says. "They'll need to put five runners before our top five. and I've seen no indication that they can do that."

If Harvard captain Keith Colburn can stay with Lokken and outsprint him. he may take some of the pressure from senior John Heyburn and junior Tom Spengjer. who must contend with Stevens. Roy Shaw and Dave Pottetti. who've shown steady improvement since the start of the season. could help here. too, but they will have to hold off Penn sophomores Karl Thornton and Eliot Rogers.

Columbia is racing in the meet as well. but it is not expected to be a rival. It's ? Harvard and Penn.

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