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Embree, Ajootian Cop Gold Medals at IC4A's

By Steven J. Parker

Harvard track stars Mel Embree and Ed Ajootian just keep rolling along. Two weeks after throttling their competition at the Heptagonal Championships, the two field event stand-outs reaffirmed their national ranking with solid victories at the IC4A Championships held over the weekend in Philadelphia.

Steady Embree, who has been runner-up for the last two years, took top honors in the high jump with a leap of 7 ft. 3 in., eclipsing the old meet record of 7 ft. 2 in. set by Chris Dunn of Colgate four years ago.

Ajootian, the sophomore wunderkind, won the hammer throw with a toss of 200 ft. 8 in.

Harvard's only other entrant, John McCulloch, closed out Crimson scoring with a fourth place finish in the high jump. The thinclads' total of 26 points was good for seventh place in the 36-team field.

Maryland won the team championship with 94 points, ten more than runner-up Penn. Defending champion Seton Hall was third.

Embree, the first seven-root high jumper to be accepted at Harvard Medical School, was never pressured after the bar was raised to 7 ft. 2 in.

Having cleared 7 ft. 3 in. in three straight meets, Embree just missed making 7 ft. 4 1/4 in. "If Fields [from Seton Hall], who took second, had made 7 ft. 3 in., I think I would have cleared 7 ft. 4 in." Embree said afterwards.

Stupid Meet

Ajootian won the hammer throw on his last toss. "It was a stupid meet," Ajootian said. "The other guys gave it to me." Ajootian's toss of 200 ft. 8 in. was eight feet shorter than his personal best. "I don't think any of us were used to competing in the morning," he said. "Two other entrants had thrown over 200 feet before coming into the meet."

Ajootian, whose brother Charles won the 35-lb. weight throw for Harvard in the indoor NCAA's back in 1969, has a good chance to continue the family's winning tradition at this year's outdoor version, to be held in Philadelphia the weekend of June 5-6.

"There are only two other guys with better throws than me," he said. "I hope I can unload with the big throw."

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