The undefeated Harvard track team, coming off easy win in the GBC and Big Three meets the last two weekends, faces its toughest competition of the season this afternoon at Cornell when it meets the seven other Ivy League schools plus Army and Navy in the Heptagonals.
The Midshipmen, who have never won the Hep title, are rated heavy favorites in the contest, with defending champion Penn and the Crimson relegated to contender status. The possibility of a Harvard win looks slim, largely because of the overwhelming superiority of Navy in the field and the relative balance of the other schools in the running events.
The Quakers and the Crimson will probably knock each other out of contention on the 220 tartan oval, while Navy builds an insurmountable lead in the field events and watches the others fight over the more closely contested running contests.
Harvard's chances for first were dealt a damaging blow at last week's Big Three meet in New Haven when the team's top triple and long jumper, Vincent Vanderpoole-Wallace, sustained an injured leg. The injury did not heal sufficiently to allow Vanderpoole-Wallace to make the trip to Ithaca, and Harvard may be out as many as 6 to 8 points in the contest as a result.
The Crimson do, however, have good scoring potential in both the running and field events. Freshman Huseyin Kayali, who triple jumped a surprising 47 ft. 7 in. at the Big Three, could score in the event, as could Leon Sharpe. Mel Embree could score in the high jump, but Navy will score big here, as will Penn in the long and triple jump. Harvard's best shot at first in the field will be in the pole vault, where Jim Kleiger is the favorite.
After Navy's weight men have taken a possible 1-2 in both the shot and 35-pound weight throw, Penn and Harvard will begin chipping away at the Midshipmen's lead in the running events. Bob Clayton is the favorite in the 1000-yard run, but Penn's Dennis Fikes has run the distance under 2:10 as well, and the two could provide the crowd with quite a race.
Nick Leone is a slight favorite in the 600-yd. run, but he will be up against a talented field, and strategy, and some elbows and spikes in the wrong places, could drastically change the complexion of that race.
The two mile has seemed personally to belong to Harvard's Ric Rojas of late, and the junior is favored again this weekend. There are, however, a surfeit of sub-nine-minute two milers to contend with, so the race could be a wide-open affair, as could the mile with John Quirk.
The Crimson seem to have the least scoring potential in the sprints where hurdler Dewey Hickman appears to have the only chance of scoring for Harvard, but the Crimson relays should score lots of points. The mile contingent could take first, but the two-mile quartet must face a very fast Navy relay but could surprise as well.