You could call it a case of deja Va.
Last year, close friends and fierce competitors--Jenny Stricker and Kate Wiley--spent their freshman seasons as cross country runners shattering records and swapping first place finishes back and forth. Yesterday, in New York's sun-speckled Van Cortlandt Park they dredged up those memories as Harvard stomped all over seven other contenders to recapture the laurels in the Ivy League Championships.
Although rabbit-like Stricker held the lead throughout most of the tortuous, 3.1 mile course. Wiley--her determined, lanky room-mate--surged ahead in the final 600 meters to take first place with a time of 17:09. Wiley's clocking, though not a course record, is a new mark for Ivy competition in the Park by almost a minute.
"The race didn't really feel that good." Wiley commented afterwards. "But I really wanted to win."
Wiley's New York win is the first for her this fall Hampered by a wisdom tooth operation in September, her comeback has been slow, but steady. Thus far, Stricker has dominated most of the season's competition, capped by a spectacular, record-setting effort in Franklin Park last week at the Harvard-Princeton-Yale meet.
Yesterday, though, the sinewy blonde couldn't hang onto her customary lead Also passing her in the final stretch was Princeton senior Lynn Jennings, who finished barely one second behind Wiley: Stricker came in seven seconds later with a time of 17:19.
The field was notable for its remarkably rapid pace Two years ago. Darlene Beckford--a Harvard senior who is taking this fall off to train for the Olympics--set an Ivy record in the Park with a 17:58 Yesterday the top eight women bettered that mark.
Coming in third for the Crimson in the sixth slot with a 17:50 clocking was freshman Loss Brommer, who has had a strong debut season. Close on her heels was sophomore Kathy Goode with a 17:52.
Senior Ellen Gallagher--a return performer after a year's layoff from running--continued her comeback efforts with an 18:12 finish.
What was most interesting about Gallagher's race was how she ran it After the one-mile mark--where she sat in 30th place--the hilly course veered off into the woods, away from spectators. It was there that Gallagher made her move, passing 19 competitors to emerge 1 5 miles later in 11th place, a spot she clung to
"That was one hell of a fantastic surge," head women's track coach Pappy Hunt enth-used after the race.
THE NOTEBOOK: Next on the agenda for the harriers are the NCAA Region I qualifying trials at the University of Vermont on November 13.. finishing in order yesterday were Harvard (28), Princeton (56), Yale (64), Dartmouth (118), Penn (134), Brown (135), Cornell (171) and Barnard (213) Harvard has now won the Ivy competition four times in the last seven years. Princeton took the honors the other three seasons.