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By E.j. Dionne

Prior to the start of the reason Penn figured to be the toughest dual meet team we'd meet.

Perhaps that estimate is still correct.

However, until we have some ideas of just what the Cornell times represent in ability -- and I guess we won't know this until Saturday -- perhaps Cornell will be tougher. The meets so far show more depth than Penn demonstrated against us. They have packed them in tightly. Of course, the best way to handle a situation like this is to let them group as lightly as they want -- behind us.

Note on Cross Country Bulletin Board.

And that's the way it is. The Harvard cross country team, which surprised everyone including itself by edging Penn, meets its second big opponent today.

The Harriers (6-0) meet the Big Red at Franklin Field at high noon.

For the most part, the cross country folks have been talking Cornell up rather than down. "You don't know," said head coach Bill McCurdy. "They don't figure to be us tough as Penn, but then we didn't figure to be an tough as Penn either."

Our Lady

Despite the talk. Harvard is the favorite, but the team may need a little help from Our Lady of Good Health: captain John Quirk, as well as Freddy Linsk and Jimmy Keefe are suffering from colds and viruses of various degrees of severity.

Quirk is the most probable starter, since his cold appears to be going away. But Linsk continues to suffer from a virus which has kept him out of a number of meets already, and Keefe has been off practice since Wednesday.

Cornell, in the meantime, is no slouch team. On October 16, the Big Red smashed Lafayette, 16-47 at Ithaca's Moakley Course. The win was the squad's third of the seasons, against no losses.

Moreover the Cornell runners are unbeaten in 18 connective dual meets. Only Harvard was able to put a blot on that record, holding Cornell to a 26-28 tie in 1970. In that race, Harvard's Tom Spengler defeated All-American Jen Anderson, a member of the U.S. Olympic team this year. Spengler finished in record time.

In the meet against Lafayette, Cornell look the first four places, and seven of the top eight. The top seven Cornell runners ran within 50 seconds of each other.

The leader in the race was Capt. Tim Cahill, who finished in 26:05 on the five-mile course, 20 seconds ahead of teammate Ray De Marco, a sophomore. Third was freshman Mark Curtism who was clocked at 26:29, following by senior Dave Oertel, eight seconds behind.

And there's another man on the Cornell squad who gives Harvard some cause to worry. "Phil Collins was the only freshman who beat Ric Rojas as a freshman," said McCurdy. Against Lafayette, Collins finished eighth.

Harvard runners whom one can expect to hold their own tomorrow include No. One man Ric Rojas, senior Marsh Jones. Andy Campbell, Jim Hughes and freshman star Bill Durrette, who finished third against Brown on the 14th. George Farrely, and another freshman. Carl Tsigdennis, also look forward to good showings.

And Quirk and Keefe will be strong if they can run.

Overall, the Crimson could have some problems today, but it appears likely that the harriers will break Cornell's 18-meet streak much as they broke Penn's 30-meet streak. Which wouldn't be a bad way to avenge last year's 23-32 loss.

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