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Defending champion Villanova, Michigan State, and Penn State will provide the major opposition today when the varsity cross country team seeks to improve on last year's third-place finish in the IC4A's in New York's Van Cortlandt Park.
The Crimson harriers, who have coasted to victory in every competition so far this fall, worked hard in practice last week, mixing the hill work in Waltham with running on the track. There was a light workout, Saturday and none yesterday, when the team left for New York.
"I don't really know Villanova," McCurdy said, "but they seemed to handle Penn pretty easily." In a five-school meet in Philadelphia two weeks ago, the Wildcats took five of the top six spots, leaving third place to Quakers' Julio Piazza. Harvard nearly duplicated that feat in the Heptagonals a week later.
The Crimson, running without Tom Spengler, will set its sights on Villanova men and try to keep with them. McCurdy also emphasized the importance of a fast start. "Every guy has to run the best race he possibly can." said Harvard's captain and top man, Keith Colburn, "I'm going to run this race as I would any other." he added. "I'm going to just try to stay up front as long as I can."
Pottetti New Peril
In addition to Colburn, the top Crimson threats are Dave Pottetti and Mike Koerner, Koerner, a sophomore, has been number one or close to it for Harvard all season, but only in the last few weeks has Pottetti started making vital contributions to the team's performance.
Another relatively new asset is Roy Shaw, one of the stars of last fall's team. Injuries have bothered him this year, and only recently has he started finishing high up, although he won an early-season meet against Brown.
Harvard's fifth man, right behind Shaw is John Heyburn, who McCurdy feels is still improving noticeably. Backing him up are Erik Roth and Howie Foye. If one of the Crimson top five falters, either Foye or Roth will have to finish high up enough to compensate.
"A lot of our guys are IC4A's veterans." McCurdy said. "They've been through the mill, and they realize they're good enough to win this year." Pottetti was seventh last year, and Colburn finished eighteenth.
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