The Harvard men's cross country team beat Cornell convincingly yesterday, in a thrilling race that saw the first seven runners cross the finish line within 44 seconds of one another.
The race was close if slow for the first three miles over sluggish Moakley Golf Course. But as the harriers descended into Cornell's famed gorge, Harvard began to pull ahead. Finally, with manager Sue Barton screaming him on, sophomore Bruce Weber sprinted the last 500 yards of straightaway, passing Cornell's Harv Robinson to gain his first varsity victory ever.
Scant seconds later the Crimson's Paul McNulty, Eric Schuler, Peter Jelley and Andy Gerkin stormed the final hill to clinch the 19-36 victory.
Weber's time of 26:19:03, though nowhere near the course record, was three seconds better than that of the Big Red's runner-up Robinson. But the next four runners, McNulty at 26:38, Schuler at 26:55, Jelley at 26:59 and Gerkin at 27:01, all wore crimson.
The comfortable margin of victory surprised some runners, who had expected a close squeeze. "We didn't know what to expect out there, today," said Coach Bill McCurdy, "Our teams are quite similar and I'm happy we had such a solid win."
McCurdy noted that Cornell was a gracious host, going so far as to provide a crimson shack to shelter the team from the blustery weather.
"Not only that," McNulty added, "I taught their field Hockey coach how to open a beer without using a bottle opener."
The only damper on the win was the absence of team captain Adam Dixon, out with an injury.
Harvard's record is now 4-1, 2-1 in the Ivy League.
THE NOTEBOOK: Dixon's tendonitis, which has kept him out of action for three weeks so far, will probably sideline him for at least another week. His absence from the Greater Boston Championships Tuesday may make the 13th an ominous day for the harriers.
After the Greater Boston the team hosts Dartmouth on October 16, and then travels to New Haven to butt heads with Yale and Princeton.
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