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The Harvard cross country team squashed all doubts that it is not a strong and winning squad Saturday by handily disposing of previously-touted Cornell team at Franklin Park. The score was 1940.
The Crimson's Rick Rojas set a new record for the five-and-one-half-mile course to win the race. His time was 26:06, one second faster than Tom Spengler ran the course in a race against Cornell two years ago.
Saturday's decisive win makes the victory over Penn two weekends ago seem like anything but a fluke and establishes Harvard as the team to best in the Ivies.
Cornell appeared aggressive as the race opened, but its team strength was easily broken by the strong push of the Crimson runners during the second mile of the race.
Right before the teams passed the one-mile mark, a pack of six Cornell and five Harvard runners led the race. By the two-mile, however, the pack had spread out and Harvard had men in seven of the first eight positions. Even at this point, there was little doubt that Harvard would win the race.
Rojas trailed nearly all of his teammates and competitors up the first hill of the race, but then got in gear at about the one-mile mark and took the lead. Rojas then increased his lead for the rest of the race, winning finally by about 250 yards.
Crimson captain John Quirk finished second in the race, crossing the finish line in 26:43. Cornell's Phil Collins got third. Harvard freshman Bill Durrette captured fourth place, and the Crimson's Andy Campbell got fifth.
Marshall Jones, Jim Keefe and Jim Hughes rounded out Harvard's top seven, finishing seventh, ninth and tenth, respectively. Cornell's fourth-best finisher, Tim Cahill, took eleventh.
Harvard is now 7-0, and already this year the Crimson has broken the long winning streaks of two of its opponents. Cornell had an 18-meet winning streak, until Saturday and Pean had a streak of 31 consecutive victories until they faced the Crimson this year.
The Harvard team strikes this year with more than the power of a group of talented runners, the difference between this and last season's teams.
Harvard coach Bill McCurdy said after the race Saturday that last year's team, which compiled a lackluster 7-3 record, had as much physical talent, but lacked the cohesiveness of this year's team.
The Harvard junior varsity also crunched its Big Red opposition, winning 1843. Freshman Bill Ockerman, a Massachusetts state quarter-mile champion, won in 28- 04.
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