A foot. It doesn't seem like a big deal. But the injured feet of Adam Dixon, Eric Schuler, and Dave Randall were the difference in the Harvard men's indoor track team's 75-61 loss to Northeastern at the ITT, on Saturday.
Without Dixon and Schuler in the mile, and Randall in the pole vault, Northeastern swept the Crimson in both events. Gus Udo's absence was also felt in the triple jump, where the Huskies took first and second. Despite these losses, the Crimson gave Northeastern all it could handle in the other events.
Jimmy Johnson got the thinclads off to a fast start with a tremendous performace in the long jump. The event had become a duel between Johnson and Northeastern's Russ Hartman with each one topping the other's last leap. Hartman broke 23 feet first, but Johnson met his challenge with a leap of 23'11'', his finest jump ever. Johnson's ecstasy only lasted a few seconds, however, as Hartman flung himself through the air for all of 24'1". And at the end of the preliminaries, Hartman's leap was the longest of the day.
The crowd that had formed around the sand pit for the finals became hushed as Johnson bowed his head and began the approach of his first jump. As soon as he left the ground it was obvious that this was no ordinary leap. Before the length was announced the crowd burst into applause, and once the official announced the 24'7" distance, the applause became frenetic. Hartman had two more chances to top it, but neither jump came close, so Johnson took the event, besting his own personal record by over a foot, and missing the University record by inches.
On the Run
Harvard took every track event but the mile and the hurdles. Scott Murrer and Brad Bunney both won in literal "photo finishes," with Murrer winning the 660 by a few hundredths of a second, and Bunney copping the 880 by an even smaller margin.
From the very start of the 660, it became apparent that it was going to be a four-man race among Murrer, Steve Ezeji-Okoye, and Northeastern's Roy Higgins and Dave Culford. The four of them chugged around the track in a pack until the final lap when Murrer and Higgins took off Ezeji-Okoye outkicked Culford to finish third but was disqualified by a questionable line call.
The Crimson totally dominated in the two-mile and the 1000-yard runs. Bruce Weber, Andy Gerken and Peter Jelley finished one-two-three in the two-mile, and Cliff Sheehan turned in a very fast 2:13.3 to take the 1000.
What had begun as a Northeastern runaway had now become a legitimate contest. Needing victories in both relays and a sweep in the high jump to win, the Crimson put on a final surge. The mile relay had only two of its original members (since Bennet Midlo pulled a hamstring going around the first turn of the 440 and Dwayne Jones had hurt his thigh in the same race), but Ezeji-Okoye and Peter Rittenburg did admirable jobs filling in as the Crimson won by over four seconds.
The thinclads then captured the two-mile relay, but the Crimson could not produce the necessary sweep in the high jump, as sophomore Mark Henry finished third.
THE NOTEBOOK: While giving Cliff Sheehan a pep talk, Adam Dixon was approached by an official and ordered off the track. "It shows how quickly you are forgotten," Dixon said. "It's like being chairman of the Communist party in Russia and suddenly finding yourself in a six-foot cell in Siberia."
Northeastern 75, Harvard 61
35-lb. weight: 1 N.U., Karanikolas, 55'2 1/2"
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