Feb. 8, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - For the second time in as many weeks, sophomore pole vaulter Merritt Van Meter shattered her own school record - this time by clearing 4.23 meters (13-10.5) - at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.
Last week at the New Mexico Classic, the Metairie, La., native cleared 4.05 meters (13-3.5). Prior to that, she had set the record in her first meet as a Greenie, jumping 4.00 meters (13-1.5) at the Panther Ice Breaker in early December. Her jump today places her seventh overall in the nation during the 2013 campaign.
"It was a really awesome day," stated Van Meter. "I think that it has been a really long time coming. At this point, I've put a lot of work into being able to have the physical capabilities to jump at the height I jumped today. All of the preparation was there, it was just a matter of confidence and having my head and heart in the right place. It has been a long journey, and today made it well worth it."
Tulane track and field assistant coach for jumps Doug Fraley is excited as can be when discussing Van Meter. Not only does he get to coach her now, but he helped her develop into the pole vaulter she has become during her youth, followed by coaching her at Country Day in Metairie, La.
"Merritt had a really big day on a really big stage," said Fraley. "It means a lot to be able to coach her. She has been through a lot. She had an injury that caused her to miss a year and a half of pole vaulting. Basically, last summer we had to start all over again. It was a tremendous amount of work for her, but she has been diligent. To see her on a big stage like this, and perform like she did in a really high-caliber competition, it gives me a lot of joy for her because she has really worked hard.
Green Wave track and field fans shouldn't be complacent with today's record, though: Van Meter is eager to continue her dominance in the pole vault.
"I think that I am just now at the beginning of what I am capable of," added Van Meter. "Moving forward, I think there is a lot more to come. I am very confident in the coaches that I have."
In addition to Van Meter's record setting performance, freshman Tamika Brazzel competed in the long jump, placing second in her flight with a leap of 5.58 meters (18-3.75).
"We are happy to see Tamika healthy and competing again after tweaking her hip a few weeks ago," stated Tulane director of track and field Eric Peterson. "I hope she'll wake up tomorrow and feel good enough to compete in the triple jump."
On the other side of the continent, Tulane sent some of their top runners to compete at the UW Husky Classic. This marks the first time on the season that the team has participated in two, coinciding meets.
The Greenies took part in only one event in the Emerald City today - the 200 meter dash. Freshman Lilla McMillan was the top Tulane participant in the race on the day, finishing in 25.00 seconds. She was followed by junior Hilary Woods, who ran the event in 25.32 seconds. Both McMillan and Woods won their respective heats. Not to be overlooked, senior Tiffanie Smith finished with a time of 25.32 seconds after placing second in her heat. Out of 61 runners, the three Greenies placed tenth, 19th and 21st, respectively.
"Lilla, Hilary and Tiffanie all competed very well," added Peterson. "They looked stronger and more relaxed than they did two weeks ago when we were here (during the UW Invitational on Jan. 26-27)."
Tomorrow, the Green Wave will participate in a slew of events at both meets. In Seattle, Kayla Quincy, Candice St. Etienne, Smith and Woods will all take part in the 400 meter dash, while Jessica Adamson tries her hand in just her second 800 meter run. McMillan will compete again, this time in the 60 meter dash, and distance runner Paige Callahan will run in the 3,000 meter run.
In Arkansas, Brazzel will get back to work in the triple jump, along with Estefany Cruz and Briana Santiago. Junior Melanie Mainor will look to best her high jump of a week ago when she set a personal best of 1.73 meters (5-8.0).
You can follow the Tulane track and field programs on Twitter (@GreenWaveXCTF) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.
DAY ONE RESULTS FROM TYSON INVITATIONAL
Women's Pole Vault
3. Merritt Van Meter, 4.23m (13-10.5)
Women's Long Jump
21. Tamika Brazzel, 5.58m (18-3.75)
DAY ONE RESULTS FROM UW HUSKY CLASSIC
Women's 200m Dash
10. Lilla McMillan, 25.00
19. Hilary Woods, 25.32
21. Tiffanie Smith, 25.39