The Harvard cross country team, coming off a dual whipping at the hands of Columbia and Penn last weekend, is seeking to get back on the winning track as they meet Brown at Franklin Park this afternoon.
The Bruins, not traditionally among Ivy cross country powers, have another typical squad featuring a good runner and a host of average backup men. Brown number one man Thomas is reputed to be just that, a good runner but not a great one.
"Thomas ran against us last year as a freshman and is a good runner," Crimson coach Bill McCurdy said, "but not one I would put in the class of (Ric) Rojas or (Jim) Keefe."
"Both Keefe and (Andy) Campbell finished ahead of him last year, as did Rojas who set a course record at Brown in the process. Still, Thomas was only a frosh then and may be better now," McCurdy added.
Bruins' 2-3 Punch
Bruin harriers Mayes and Murphy finished 2-3 for Brown in their meet with Yale earlier this fall. Both ran last year against Harvard, but finished well back. O'Connell, Watkins, and captain McHale figure to be other Bruin scorers.
The story of today's race will probably be told not as much by how good Brown is but by what kind of shape the Crimson squad is in. "Campbell and Keefe are over their injuries, so that won't be a factor," McCurdy said. "Instead, I'm more concerned that they just haven't had any real workouts."
Crimson captain Rojas, who has placed first in every meet so far this year holding off some tough competition, looks to be the forerunner in today's race. Rojas simply appears to be in a better class than the Bruin harriers.
Other Crimson strength will have to come from the surprising Dirk Skinner, Jeff Brokaw, and perhaps Fred Linsk, Karl Tsigdinos, or Jeff Campbell who is up from the freshman team.
Over His Head
"That Skinner has been running over his head all year, really doing a fine job," McCurdy said. "And freshman Jeff Campbell will start. He earned a starting spot off his work in the Columbia-Penn debacle."
Campbell, running in a freshman meet against Andover Wednesday, set an Andover course record as he blitzed the track in 12:18.8.
The Crimson harriers are trying to forget last week's thumping in New York. "We were hurt by the difficult second mile," McCurdy said, "and the aggressive pace thrown at us by Penn in the first and second mile. We were simply not experienced enough and ready to cope with it. Except for Rojas, that is, who didn't let it bother him a bit."
"After last week I should forget about prognosticating," McCurdy said, "but this time, we should win."