ITHACA, N.Y.--After two seasons on the road in Hanover and Cambridge, the Heptagonals returned to their traditional home at Cornell, and 850 enthusiastic fans filled gothic Barton Hall Saturday to watch the eight Ivy man's track teams, along with Army and heavy, go at is for the 35th straight year.
Princeton took home the trophy thanks to some outstanding performances by its distance runners and shot putters. The Tigers grabbed first place in the 5000, the 1500 and the 1000 on their way to 66 1/2 total points.
The military academics dueled furiously for second place, and Army emerged the victor with 42 1/2 points. Navy finished third, Cornell fourth, Harvard fifth. Defending champion Penn fell to sixth, followed by Dartmouth, Yale, Brown and Columbia.
Hard luck nagged the Crimson throughout: Distance specialist Bruce Weber didn't compete because of strep throat, and lingering injuries hobbled runners Cliff Sheehan, Eric Schuler and Mark Henry.
What hurt Harvard the most, however, was the disqualification of Dwayne Jones and Steve Ezeji-Okoye Jones looked like a sure winner in the 400, when Penn's Jeff Hill tried to pass him coming down the stretch. There was some contact, and Jones was called for pushing.
In the previous race, Ezeji-Okoye was pushed while rounding the first turn of the 500 He fell out of his lane, lost his stride and failed to finish.
Even in clean races, Crimson competitors repeatedly ran into trouble. In the 1000, Sheehan and Princeton's Brad Rowe finished in a dead heat, but after examining a photograph, the judges ruled that Rowe won with a time of 2:26.14, and Sheehan came in second at 2:26.15.
Rowe has dominated the Heptagonal 1000 for the past two years and had beaten Sheehan easily last week in the Big Three meet. Saturday, it looked like Rowe had wrapped up the event for the third consecutive year, building a substantial lead with only two laps remaining. But Sheehan exploded with his usual final-lap kick and almost caught Rowe as they rounded the last turn.
The two middle-distance specialists matched each other stride for stride to the finish line, but Rowe thrust out his chest for the crucial hundredth of a second.
Meanwhile, Brad Bunney had his difficulties in the 800 Coming off of a stellar performance last week, when he qualified for the NCAAs, Bunney had high hopes of defeating defending champion Cardell Williams from Navy.
But the Harvard runner immediately found himself boned in at the back of the pack, unable to pass. He surged toward the front in the gun lap to move from seventh to third, but was unable to catch William and Princeton's Mark Voit, who finished first and second respectively.
Jump and Shine
The jumping events were the brightest sports of the Crimson's day. Jimmy Johnson, Gus Udo, and Mark Henry took first, third, and fifth in the long jump, and Harvard also dominated the triple jump.
In the high jump, Navy's Leo Williams, defending champ and NCAA title holder, set a new meet record, leaping 7-ft., 3 1/4-in Williams received the Outstanding Performer Award for his achievement.