While their countrymen on the U.S. Olympic team are cavorting in the warm summer climate of Australia, the nation's cross-country runners will carry on, as always, back home. The climax of each season is reached in late November when the National Collegiate Cross Country Championships are held annually on the Michigan State University campus. To judge from these chilly color pictures taken at last year's meeting, one might conclude that Michigan State was located in Yukon territory instead of in customarily temperate East Lansing. That the harriers had more than their share of difficulties to overcome is graphically evident on these pages. In addition to a snow-covered course, they were hampered by a temperature of 12° and icy, 37-mile-an-hour winds—an unusual inducement to speed. Surmounting chills and hazards, Charley (Deacon) Jones of Iowa and Henry Kennedy of the host team managed to stage a thrilling stretch duel which the Iowan won by a stride. The winning time for the four-mile race was under 20 minutes, a cross-country rarity.
Though Jones went on to make the Olympic team as a steeplechaser and will not be around to defend his title, 1956 must by no means be considered an off year for the championships. If anything, the simultaneous running of the Olympics should have a rousing effect on the event. There is still plenty of talent at home, and the college distance runners, their blood warmed by the heroic deeds in Melbourne, will be more eager than ever to exhibit their potential greatness—and the weatherman be damned.
NIPPING FROST PLAGUES RUNNERS IN ONE OF THE MOST MEMORABLE NCAA CROSS-COUNTRIES EVER HELD AT EAST LANSING
Shoes crunching on the snow, four of the leaders—Kennedy, George King of NYU, Max Truex of USC and Lew Stieglitz of Connecticut U.—pass the two-mile mark.
JOHN G. ZIMMERMAN