The Harvard track team will go to Cornell this weekend in hopes of regaining the Heptagonal Championship crown from undefeated Army.
The injury-plagued Crimson dropped a tense decision, 57-51, to the Cadets in December and will be eager for revenge. The presence of seven other Ivy teams and Navy will complicate some events, but with the possible exception of Yale, none of them should threaten the Harvard-Army monopoly of the team championship.
Two weight men and three distance runners are coach Bill McCurdy's best bets for the first-place points. Captain Dick Benka is the defending champion in the shot put and has thrown over eight feet farther than his nearest rival, teammate Charlie Ajootian. In the 35-pound weight, sophomore Ed Nosal will pair up with Ajootian to battle Navy's Ed Potts.
Doug Hardin will defend his title in the two-mile against Yale's Frank Shorter and Princeton's Eamon Downey. They are the only other entrants who have broken the nine-minute barrier this season. Hardin has never lost to either of them on the track and holds an important psychological edge. Crimson sophomore Dave Pottetti is a dark horse possibility in this event and should pick up valuable placing points.
Juniors Royce Shaw and Keith Colburn have worked all week to maintain form despite persistent ailments. Shaw coasted to an easy second place behind Jim Baker in last year's meet. Unless Yale's Steve Bittner can withstand a fast early pace, the Californian should outdistance the field in the one-mile with ease this year. Jim Enscoe and Tom Spengler both stand excellent chances of placing behind Shaw.
Colburn, who set the University 1000 record at 2:09.3 earlier this season, has not competed in two weeks due to a slight muscle pull. He may have lost a bit from his patented finishing kick and will have to survive an afternoon trial heat to qualify for the evening final. Penn's Jerry Williams and possibly Yale's Bittner and Army's Larry Lemaster will pose the chief threats.
Jim Coleman in the high jump, Pete Lazarus in the pole vault, and Skip Hare in the long jump will all be near the top in their events and should provide important team points. Hare, third in the long jump last year, seems to have recovered from a troublesome leg injury. Sophomore 600 runner John Gillis has been plagued with similar muscular troubles and may be handicapped against Army's top-seeded middle distance men today.