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The starting blocks are set for the women thinclads' first indoor track meet of the season against the University of New Hampshire (UNH) this afternoon at 4:30 p.m.
The Wildcats from the New Hampshire boonies pounced on the unsuspecting Crimson pacers in last year's opener, scarring its 1978-79 record with one of only two losses.
The fleet-footed felines pose a substantial threat in today's meet, after coming off a strong cross-country season.
"A good rule of thumb is if a school has a good cross-country team, it's bound to have a good track team," coach Pappy Hunt said yesterday. During this year's cross-country season, the New Hampshire harriers beat the Crimson in a dual meet and placed higher in the Eastern Championships.
Still, Hunt is optimistic--and with reason. A corps of 11 letter winners is returning, bolstered by a cornucopia of talented freshmen.
"The meet's a toss-up," Hunt said. "We're really powerful in some events and in others it's questionable. The meet could boil down to the last two events.," he added.
Those two events, the mile and two-mile relay, will feature several of the Crimson's strongest runners combined in a couple of squads that will be tough for any team to beat.
Johanna Forman, Paula Newnham, Pat Gopaul and freshman Lenny Yajima will team up for the mile relay. Another freshman, Darlene Beckford--who is recovering from a sore throat after her return from the national cross-country championships--will anchor the speedy trio of Martha Clabby, freshman Ellen Gallagher and Rebecca Rogers in the two-mile relay.
"We're strong in the half-mile with Forman and Newnham, and in the mile with Beckford and Kristin Linsley. We've also got a shotputter, Kom Johnson, who was third in the Easterns last year, and she's looking awfully good," Hunt said.
Lack of depth in the sprints, a problem which has plagued the Crimson for the past two years, may hobble the squad again this season. Hunt says he's looking to freshman Alida Catillo to add a needed spark in those events.
Although the team lacks a surplus of two-milers, co-captain Kat Taylor promises to pace the Crimson in this event.
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