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Harvard, Princeton and Yale Face Off In Historic Meet

Portions Courtesy Harvard Athletics Communications and Yale Sports Publicity

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Harvard, Princeton and Yale represent the only Ivy cross country teams in action this week, but do so in perhaps the longest standing collegiate racing rivalry in the country.

For the men, Saturday's 4:45 p.m. race in New Haven, Conn., is the 97th running of the Harvard-Yale dual meet. Last year, the Bulldogs narrowly lost to the Crimson by three points at Boston's Franklin Park for the first time in 20 years.

The women's race between Harvard, Yale and Princeton kicks off at 4:15 p.m. and is the 34th annual running of the tri-meet. The Crimson won the dual meet against Yale last year (the Tigers did not compete). The Tigers are currently ranked No. 9 nationally in the most recent U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll and also hold down the No. 3 position in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

H-Y-P Meet History

Although varsity cross country competition among Harvard, Princeton and Yale began in early 1907, the schools held their first triangular meet in 1922. Since then, such triangular competition has been held annually with just three interruptions. One came as a result of a rift between Harvard and Princeton in the late 1920's; harriers at all three schools were inactive during World War II; and the Princeton men have elected not to compete since 1998.

 

In 1971, the freshman race was replaced by junior varsity competition. At the same time, freshmen were allowed to compete in the varsity meet. While welcoming freshmen on the varsity, Harvard initially adopted a policy of permitting only freshmen to run JV. By contrast, Yale and Princeton JV squads consisted of both freshmen and upperclassmen. In 1972, Harvard adopted the same policy as Princeton and Yale.

 

The women's teams began competing against each other in 1976, and varsity status was gained at all three schools in 1977.

 

The Main Memorial Trophy

Presented to the winner of the H-Y-P men's cross country meet; given in memory of Ensign Malcolm Gardner Main, captain of the 1941 Yale cross country team who was killed in action on Nov. 13, 1942, in the Battle of the Solomon Islands.

 

The Cheever Memorial Trophy

Presented to the winner of the H-Y-P women's cross country race; given in fond memory of Olivia Thorndike Cheever (Radcliffe '43 '49) by her brother, John.