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Improved Thinclads Look Toward Better Record

Penn Quakes in Anticipation

By E.j. Dionne

The Harvard Indoor Track team opens its season next Tuesday against Boston University with a very good chance of improving considerably on its disappointing performance last year.

Although the thinclads ended up with a dual meet record of 4-1 last season (losing only to Northeastern, 48-61), they could manage only a tie for fourth place in the Heptagonals, a meet in which Harvard usually does well, and it finished a distant 20th in the IC4A's at Princeton.

The outlook is much brighter this year. "We have to reorganize a whole new team," head coach Bill McCurdy said yesterday, "but I'm very optimistic about the possibilities for putting together a very strong squad."

The Crimson has 16 returning lettermen, including co-captains Bob Clayton and John Quirk, triple jump record holder Kevin Benjamin, pole vaulter Jim Kleiger, shot put ace Joe Naughton, and distance man Ric Rojas, the star of the cross country team.

In addition, spirit is better this year. The cross country team's success led upon itself, with the result being better attended practices and more enthusiasm. Some of this should carry over to track.

The B.U. meet should be more of a practice session and experimental laboratory than anything else. Last year, the thinclads clobbered the Terriers, 83-35, and much the same can be expected on Tuesday.

The team's first big challenge comes on December 9 at West Point. Harvard trounced the Cadets last year, 72-46, but the two squads have something of a tradition of winning at home and losing away. Thus, a Harvard victory at the Military Academy would provide the first tangible sign that the team really is on the upswing.

"Our team will be pretty well balanced between track and field," McCurdy said, "but on the whole, we have a little more strength and depth in the field."

Jay Hughes, junior letterman, and sophomore Steve Niemi will be strong in the 35 pound weight for Harvard Neimi was unbeaten last season as a freshman.

In the long jump, Leon Sharpe, a sophomore who finished first in the GBC's and sophomore Via Vanderpool Wallace make the Crimson's a clear threat. A knee injury suffered last spring may inhibit Sharpe, however, and clouds the team's future somewhat.

Pole vaulters Jim Kleiger and sophomore Blaine Heckel and Don Berg provide the Crimson with a potent attack, while the triple jump team of Kevin Benjamin. Howie Corwin and Sharpe is one of the strongest in the Ivies.

Bill Bihrle, Fred Lang and Tom Kline will try to take up the slack left by the graduation of high jumper Ed Baskauskas, while shotputters Naughton and Jay Hughes should have few problems with any squads the Crimson will face.

In the track events, spring veteran Bailee Reed should get strong backing from junior Austin O'Connor, with Vandepool Wallace another possible contender. The hurdlers will be led by Dewey Hickman, with Ed Cole and football halfback Steve Dart providing support. Co-captain Clayton and Nick Leone are tops in the 600.

The Mile

The mile and two mile slots will be filled by cross country men, with John Quirk the leading miler, and Rojas the top two miler. Also in contention are Marshall Jones, Jim Hughes, Bill Durrette, Andy Campbell and several more.

The Crimson will have to improvise in the 1000, where Quirk and Clayton could fill the gap.

As usual, the University of Pennsylvania appears to have the strongest team in the Ivies, with Princeton and Harvard close behind. Cornell, a disappointment in the cross country season, is also a team to watch.

Locally, Northeastern poses Harvard's only real threat. The Huskies beat the Crimson last year both in dual meet competition, and in the Greater Boston Championship.

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