Competing without three of its top seven runners, the Harvard men's cross-country team managed only an eighth-place finish in the NCAA Division I New England championships and national qualifying meet Saturday afternoon at Franklin Park.
Cross-country powerhouse Provindence College took home the laurels, and along with second-place finisher Boston University. Will travel to Wichita. Kansas, next week as New England's representatives at the national championship.
Realizing that his squad had little chance to qualify for the trip to Wichita. Coach Bill McNulty entered only his healthiest runners. Injured seniors Adam Dixon and Peter Mcnulty all opted to stay in Cambridge for successful indoor track seasons.
Any of the Crimson harriers who chose to compete could conceivably have qualified for the nationals by claiming one of the three individual berths awarded to runners whose teams do not qualify.
But Harvard's top finisher, freshman Peter Jelley, crossed the finish line in 30th place, 20 spots behind the slowest individual qualifier.
Jelley's time of 34:42 was a full second under his lifetime best, but he said later that he was a bit disappointed with his performance.
"During the race, I thought I was running faster than I actually was," he said. "I was pleased that I bettered my time, but I really wanted to finish in about 30:30 or lower.
Junior Eric Schuler followed Jelley across the finish line, taking 31st place in his fastest time this season, and junior Ralph Smith, whose unusual running style constantly amazes his career best.
But the day belonged to the Provindence harriers. Their "United Kingdom Connection"- Irishman Ray Treacy and England's Steve Binns-finished one-two when both runners recorded A blistering 29:04.
The entire Friars squad dominated the meet, scoring only 25 points to Boston University's 61.
The University of New Hampshire's Dean Kimball, who took sixth place, qualified for one of the individual berths at the nationals and will be able to join his brother Mark, the fourth-place finisher who competes for B.U., in Wichita.
Seventh-place finisher Fernando Branz of Boston College, and Dartmouth's Keith Hampton, who took tenth, were the other individual qualifiers. Hampton will be the only Ivy Leaguer competing in the national championships.
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