Ric Rojas won his race yesterday, the rest of the Crimson cross country team didn't fare as well, as both Columbia and Pennsylvania defeated Harvard yesterday in a New York City race.
Rojas broke away from his nearest competitor, Penn star Dave Merrick, at the three mile point and cruised home to a whopping 40 second margin in 25:06.
With an astounding four way tie for second, the Penn squad wrapped up an easy victory over both the Crimson and the Lions. Merrick, captain Dennis Fikes, senior Jim Rafferty and sophomore Dave McKee were all timed at 25:48 on the hilly Van Crodlandt Park course.
The next Harvard man in was Jim Keefe in tenth place. Keefe, plagued by a cold for the past week, was not able to keep up with the fast pace. By the three mile mark, he had faded to-seventh, and on the rest of the course allowed a couple more Columbia runners to pass him.
"I think we probably had more mental problems with the course than physical," John Nobles, the cross country team manager, said yesterday. "A couple of our guys have been sick or injured and they got tired early."
Running With Pain
Crimson coach Bill McCurdy said Thursday that if Harvard had a weakness, it would be in the kind of shape the team was in. "Keefe and Campbell have been sick and on a hilly course like this, these guys might let up mentally and let themselves get tired. It's one thing to run with pain when you are well, but when you're sick, you are more likely to let a little."
As early as the three mile post, the race had been decided, since Harvard had only two men in the top eight. Apparently not accustomed to the fast pace, the harriers fell behind Penn and Columbia. Even past that point, a couple of Columbia runners crept ahead so that the Crimson was left with only a first and a tenth.
The final standing placed Penn first with dual victories over Harvard and Columbia, 20-42 and 15-44 respectively. The Columbia-Harvard score was 24-31.
"It was our lack of depth that really got us," Noble said. "We should have had our first five guys under 26 minutes, but we just could not manage it. It's all pretty disappointing to say the least."