For the first time in 31 years a New England team won the annual IC4A Cross-Country Championships, as the University of Massachusetts took the team title with 106 points in yesterday's running in Van Cortland Park in New York.
A second New England entry, Providence College, trailed the Redmen in the final standings by 19 points, as it edged out Navy, 125-130, for second place in the 66th running of the meet.
Georgetown, the pre-race favorite, slumped to fourth position with 156 points, while surprising Northeastern rounded out the top five. The Huskies finished just five points behind Georgetown.
In winning this meet for the first time, Massachusetts revenged an upset loss which it suffered at the hands of Providence 11 days ago in the New England championships.
As only three Harvard runners competed in the race, the Crimson was not counted in the overall team competition, where a minimum of five runners is required. Captain Jim Keefe, freshman Stein Rafto, and senior Bill Muller ran for individual honor in the meet, but none of the trio fared well.
Keefe, who had the best chance of finishing in the top 20, pulled up after the first half-mile with a pulled muscle. The Harvard captain finished the race, but he did so on one leg, and finished too far back to count.
The Crimson's first runner to cross the line was Rafto, who placed 73rd. Muller finished in 99th position.
Dirk skinner was also supposed to compete for the Crimson, but a nagging ankle injury, which has plagued the Harvard senior throughout the fall, prevented his participation.
While the Crimson harriers were having their troubles, Army's Dennis Trujillo was not. Trujillo, who won the Heptagonals 11 days ago on this same course, breezed to an easy victory in the individual race, bettering the second-place finisher, Randy Thomas of UMass, by 14 seconds.
Two Other Stars
The Redmen placed two other runners in the top 20. William Gillin took fifth place in the meet, while John McGrail placed 13th. No other team was able to land more than two runners among the first 20 finishers.
The Crimson harriers thus end their season on what Rafto termed "a disappointing day for Harvard." Their final record of 4-6 includes a second-place finish in the Greater Boston Championships and a seventh-place showing in the Heptagonals.