In its strongest national showing ever, the Harvard women's track team took 13th place last weekend at the AIAW Indoor National Championships in Cedar Falls, lowa, with 13 points.
Competing in the huge, domed arena of the University of Northeastern lowa, the Nebraska Cornbuskers easily captured first-place honors with 84 points, followed by Tennessee and the University of Virginia with 64 and 57 points, respectively.
Despite the recent mass exodus of many women's sports programs to the wealthy National Collegiate Athletic Association, the lowa meet served as the national indoor championship for all colleges because of the NCAA's inability to arrange a meet so soon after its decision to offer women's championships.
Harvard junior whiz Darlene Beckford proved herself equal to the meet's high calibre by winning the mile in an outstanding 4:38.3 showing. Teammate Jenny Stricker took the lead early in the race, with fast quarters of 65 and 73 seconds, but was passed with one lap to go by UVa. junior Jill Haworth. Beckford then bolted into the lead at the final turn to out lean Haworth at the tape by .2 seconds.
Stricker finished in 4th place with a 4:44.32 effort, while senior Co-captain Mary Herlihy turned in a lifetime best of 4:49.62 to take 8th. All three were named to the All-American team.
Harvard's only other entrant in the meet was freshman Kate Wiley, who took 10th in the two-mile event with a time of 10:20, 4. Wiley's time pruned four seconds off Beckford's old University mark set in 1979.