Decimated by injuries in some spots and woefully inexperienced in others, the uneven Crimson nacksters hobble into the starting blocks at I today at the indoor track and tennis building to face Brown in their season opener.
Graduation--which claimed pole-vaulter Geoff Stiles, two milers Eddie Sheehan and Peter Fitzsimmons and middle distances John Chalee as well as host of others and asserted ailments have stripped much of the laster from the squad that copped seventh place in last years NCAAs.
Nevertheless match talent remain, on the team especially in the longer distances. Despite coach Bill McGundy's proclamation that his team "has mere holes in it than a 20 year old sheet," the thinclads are hopping they will get just in time for the GBCs and NCAAs.
The team's strengths are concentrated in the 880 and up where there are three returning all Americans. John Murphy, Adam, Dixon and tri-captain Thad Mc-Nulty. Two freshmen Bob Higgins and Buck Logan, will also bolster the squad in these events although Logan, who McCurdy claims "will be a good one," may be sidelined today with injuries.
Veterans Rvan Lamppa, Noel Seidmore and Peter Johnson provide considerable depth McCurdy can rely on them to pick up the slack when he needs to use his all American trio in other events.
Lamppa preciously a middle distance pecialist, moves up to the half-mile this season, although a lack of depth in the 440 may force him to run the shorter event today. If he does run it freshman Les Palette who has lacked good in the quarter--will run the 600 along with Brian McAndrews and David Frim. Peter Rittenbury, a freshman middle-distance standout is also sidelined with injuries, and may run in the 600 when he returns.
But as the distances get shorter the quality gets thinner. Top sprinter and tri-captain Joe Salvo, who ran his first injury free season for the Crimson last year, is back on the trainer's table with a groin pull. He'll sit out today, but is expected to return soon.
"Behind Salvo," McCurdy says, "the support is kind of nebulous," Peter Nsiah was riddled with injuries last year, but he will probably be the number one sprinter today. Don Chapus--who McCurdy had hoped to move to the quarter mile--will sprint today, and freshman Phil Askenazy is likely to join him. "The sprinters aren't brilliant," McCurdy said, "but there are people there."
The same can't be said for the hurdles, where only Chuck Johnson has experience. Johnson--who has shown "Just absolutely remarkable improvement since his freshman year," McCurdy says--finished strong last spring and owns the number one spot this year.
Beyond him, the outlook for hurdlers in bleak--at least for now. Lance Miler and freshman Kim Stephens are both suffering from injuries and will not compete today. That leaves Don Kilburn and freshman James Johnson, neither of whom have competed before. "The hurdles may be good and solid later," McCurdy says, "but right now it's Johnson and a prayer."
Field events coach Ed Stowell admits: "we don't have much in the way of depth." The jumpers, with the exception of long-jumper Ben Midlo, are sadly inexperienced, and the weight men all suffer from one ailment or another. Tri-captain Tom Lena has two: an injured back and swollen root canals. He will, nevertheless, compete today.
Come February, the Thinelads may have a vastly different outlook. Once the injuries heal and the peachfuzz disappears. McCurdy will have a better idea of just where his squad stands. As for now, though, too many question marks prevent any judgements on the team--except one, which McCurdy supplied: "This team will start slowly."
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