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It's no fun to get wet and tough to lose, but the real pain comes when you've gone and done both, as the Harvard cross-country team learned after being drubbed by Dartmouth, 17-40, and doused by New England's consistently aquatic weekend weather, in yesterday's meet at Franklin Park.
Despite the somewhat submerged running conditions, the Dartmouth team managed to shine. Woodsman top gun Dean Stevens led in the troops, marking time near the finish line so teammates Sean Sioban, Adam Switchenko, and Arthur Jensen could catch up with him. all for the greater glory of the Big Green.
All four crossed the boundary at 25:04, an excellent time for the weather, waving a green banner in front of them (how did they know they were going to get to use it?).
Reid Eichner hung in and saved some face for Harvard, by grabbing the fifth slot at 25:27. He was followed by teammate Mark Meyer, who, after nursing a bad ankle since the Brown meet, put it together for sixth place finish at 25:43, a pleasant surprise.
Dartmouth runner James Dinardo broke up the Harvard slate by finishing seventh at 25:46. He was shadowed by Harvard's "Red Menace," Ed Sheehan, who crossed the line three seconds later, closing rapidly at the finish. Hot on Sheehan's heels was fellow Crimson runner Thad McNulty, who finished ninth at 25:52. Three Dartmouth runners filled the next three slots with another brotherly finish, and they were followed by Harvard's Brian Finn, who ran an excellent first half on the slippery course, but whose chances were hurt by an unscheduled pratfall in one of Franklin's subaqueous glades.
The outstanding Woodsman finish was caused as much by a brilliant strategy ploy as it was by dogged and consistent running. Just after the mile mark, when things looked bright and rosy for the Crimson--Eichner and Sheehan were in the lead, and the rest of the team was doing well--four of the Dartmouth runners suddenly made a move and surged far ahead.
"That was when Dartmouth lived true to their old nickname--the Indians--by cutting us up at the pass," lamented coach Bill McCurdy after the meet. "We'd left the women back at the buses and gone out to defend ourselves against the savages, but wound up getting totally scalped," he added.
A series of injuries and ailments hurt Harvard even before the race began. Freshman standout Noel Scidmore has been battling a case of pneumonia since the Penn-Columbia meet. Meyer had sprained his ankle, captain Stein Rafto has been suffering leg trouble, and freshman Guy McRoskey has the flu.
Injuries, bad weather, and enemy strategy: it all adds up, except for one thing. The absent element, however, was supplied by coach McCurdy, who said, "The deciding factor was that Dartmouth was there."
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