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What can you say about a team that goes from finishing third in a greater Boston ski league that encompasses Tufts, B.U. and B.C. one year, to finishing first in a Divison II meet, whose competitors include such traditional skiing powers as Bates and St. Lawrence the next? Well, how about "surprising"? Maybe "incredible."
As amazing as it may seem, Radcliffe's first place finish was a reality last weekend at Green Mountain College in Putney, Vermont.
Star freshman Vera Fajtova led the way with a second place finish in the giant slalom on Friday morning, followed by another runner-up spot in the slalom that afternoon.
Radcliffe tied with Bates for first in the team standings for the giant slalom. Carlyle Singer and Lenny Wilson aided the cause, coming in 11th and 16th place respectively.
At the end of the first day, Radcliffe held a six point lead over Maine, as Wilson notched a ninth in the slalom with Singer schussing in at the 12th position.
The weekend came down to the cross-country race, and in the hope of picking up some badly-needed points, three alpiners opted for ironwoman roles and decided to ski the relatively flat seven kilometer track.
Karen Linsley, who had earlier placed 20th in the giant slalom ground out a 15th, while Lenny Wilson picked up points as she came in 29th. But the real point grabbers were Judy Rabinowitz, who was second, and Eleanor Apthorp, who crossed the finish line 13 seconds later.
At the final point tally, statisticians were heard to mutter, "I never thought Harvard would do it."
The Harvard ski team returned from the Dartmouth winter carnival last weekend having shown a slight improvement over the previous week's finish of dead last. At Hanover they finished tenth out of eleven schools, as Vermont continued its two year domination of the Carnival circuit.
The weekend began inauspiciously as two Harvard skiers who were counted on heavily skied below expectations in the Friday morning slalom. Eric Jewett took a spill and managed a 22nd place finish, while Alan Hale was disqualified for allegedly trying to ski through a pole he was supposed to go around. Bruce Ballantine also survived a fall to come in 26th.
Due to warm temperatures, the Friday snow was slushier than the speech of frat-partygoers would be that evening. These conditions presented waxing problems for the cross-country skiers in the afternoon.
Ken Houston managed to wax his boards adequately and finished in 21st place, his best finish as a Harvard skier.
The other Crimson skiers were less fortunate with the wax, none finishing higher than 35th.
The team's fortunes plummeted as the carnival went on. The only positive aspect of the giant slalom on Saturday was the absence of a fall by a Harvard skier, but this plus was more than offset by the minus that the top finish was a 41st by Phil Duff. "It was quite demoralizing," Hubbard said.
One ray of hope for the skiers was the continued improvement of David Rand as a jumper. Of the 14 points accumulated in this event, 11 were won by Rand as he placed 24th. "It has been a long time since a Harvard jumper looked like a jumper in the air, but David does," Hubbard said.
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