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The Harvard track team, beset by injuries, walkouts, and bad breaks, will attempt to break out of its spring slump this afternoon when it faces Dartmouth at Soldiers Field in the first home meet of the season.
The Crimson have had little trouble disposing of the Big Green in recent years, trouncing them even with a contingent of Harvard runners competing at the Penn Relays. But a Harvard runaway seems more remote this spring, and the complexion of the meet has been changed radically by the Harvard injury situation.
Fortunately for the Crimson some of the men unable to compete at losses to Army and Princeton because of injuries or out of sympathy with the PALC occupation of Massachusetts Hall, have returned. "We have all the same problems, except we don't have a strike to contend with," head coach Bill McCurdy said yesterday. "It should be a pretty close proposition, and will probably come down to the relays."
In the field events, Harvard is still without the services of Leon Sharpe, one of its top triple and broad jumpers. Sharpe who wrenched his knee in March, is recovering, but McCurdy says his leg is still bothering him. Pole vaulter Jim Kleiger, one of the few Crimson runners to make the trip to the Penn Relays over the weekend, was a victim of the injury jinx. He banged his foot in Philadelphia, and will be sidelined tomorrow.
Triple jumper Kevin Benjamin, with a history of knee problems, has recovered from his latest injury, and will compete. Ed Beskauskas, also out with an injury, will also attempt a comeback in the high jump.
In the running events, miler John Quirk has not fully recovered his strength after about with mono, but he will run, as will Bob Clayton. Harvard's top half-miler, who will make his initial "voyage of the season", McCurdy said yesterday.
Today's meet, McCurdy said, shapes up as a battle in both the field and the running events. The critical events in the field appear to be the discus, which McCurdy described as a "must event for Dartmouth", the javelin, where the Dartmouth and Harvard entries appear to be fairly equal, and the high jump, an event McCurdy called "up in the air."
The sprints, a Harvard strength so far this season, will be crucial for the Crimson. Baylee Reid, captain Bud Wilson, and Austin O'Conner must score in order to offest Dartmouth's advantage in the distance races. The quarter, with Nick Leone, and the half, with Clayton, are a "toss-up", and with Rick Rojas suffering from a vital infection, the distances will be in the hands of Mike Koerner, Fred Linsk, and Bob Seals.
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