All set personal bests during their performances
First place finish in 800 meter race propels her from fifth to third at the end of the day
Metairie, La., native does not clear height, but gains valuable experience at highest level
First Greenie pole vaulter to compete for event title at NCAA Championships
Sophomore clears the 4.00 meter mark for the fourth time this season
Doug Fraley - who has made a name for himself on the local, national and international levels in pole vaulting - is entering his fourth season with the Tulane Track and Field program, working with the jumps and multi-event athletes. In the short amount of time he has been with the Green Wave, his athletes have made a significant contribution to the success of the program.
Since his arrival on campus, 15 Green Wave women's athletes of Fraley's have etched their names into the Tulane indoor record books. Merritt Van Meter broke the school record in the pole vault during the 2014 indoor campaign with a jump of 4.27 meters (14'), and under Fraley's watch, she qualified for the 2013 and 2014 NCAA Indoor National Championship. Van Meter also won the Gold Medal during the 2014 Conference USA Indoor Championships. In Fraley's first year with the program, Estefany Cruz qualified for the 2012 NCAA Indoor National Championship in the triple jump.
A guru in the pole vault, Fraley's athletes have rewritten the indoor record books in the event in which Fraley won three NCAA National Championships. Van Meter, Mary Carson Pitts (3.84 meters or 12' 7.25"), Joanna Lapucha and Jessica Knierim (tied at 3.80 meters or 12' 5.5") hold down the top three spots in the event during the indoor campaign.
During the outdoor season, Fraley has left his mark on both the men's and the women's program, as 16 women and six men owe their top ten marks in the Tulane record books to the tutelage of Fraley.
Van Meter broke the school record in the pole vault in 2013, clearing 4.11 meters (13' 5.75"), while also earning the gold medal at the Conference USA Outdoor Championships, and placing 19th at the NCAA Outdoor National Championships, marking the first Tulane athlete to compete in the same event at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships in the same season since 2001. Lapucha also jumped a 3.92 meter jump (12' 10.5"), good for the silver medal at the C-USA Championships, qualifying her for the NCAA East Regionals while also qualifying for the postseason in 2014 with a leap of 3.98 meters (13' 0.75") for the Silver Medal at the C-USA Championships.
Cruz posted three-consecutive trips NCAA Outdoor Regional appearances under Fraley's watch from 2012-14. Fraley was also directly responsible for Devon Breaux's history-making success when he earned a Silver Medal in the long jump and a bronze medal in the high jump at the 2013 Conference USA Outdoor Championships on his way to being named the Male Freshman of the Meet before becoming the first male Tulane athlete - along with discus thrower Thomas Lynch - to qualify for an NCAA Regional, as he competed in Greensboro, N.C., in the long jump. Breaux made a second appearance to the NCAA East Regionals in 2014 in the long jump, becoming the first male Tulane track and field athlete to compete in back-to-back regionals.
In addition to Cruz, three other Tulane jumpers on the women's side qualified for the 2014 NCAA East Regionals in Lapucha, Pitts and Tamika Brazzel, meaning four of the record-setting seven who qualified for the postseason were under Fraley's watch.
In 2012, three of his athletes - Lapucha, Cruz and Zandria Debowles - scored points for the women's squad during the Conference USA Indoor Championships, while Katelyn Price in the high jump joined Cruz and Lapucha in scoring points during the C-USA Outdoor Championships.
Fraley's athletes built on a strong 2012 to post serious results at the Conference USA Indoor Championships in 2013, where Van Meter, Lapucha and Knierim all scored in the pole vault, Cruz, Briana Santiago and Tamika Brazzel scored points in the triple jump and Tiffany Kenney scored in the pentathlon. Brazzel scored in the triple jump and the long jump during the 2013 C-USA Outdoor Championships, while Van Meter, Lapucha and Cruz all scored points in their specialties.
Following the 2013 season, Fraley's work with Brazzel over the course of the season allowed her to medal in both the long jump and the triple jump at the 2013 Junior Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa.
Even with the recent success Fraley has had with Tulane, he is certainly no stranger to the program. Fraley spent one season with the Green Wave as a volunteer pole vault coach under former head coach Ron Bazil in 1996-97. During that season, he coached Robbie Manard, the 1997 Conference USA Championship pole vault champion, and helped him set the school record in the event with a height of 16'8 ¾" that still stands to this date.
Fraley has been a staple on the New Orleans track and field scene, coaching with various high school and club organizations, along with officiating in the area, for the last 18 plus years. His pupils have gone on to win 18 LHSAA State Championships in the pole vault, and claim multiple long jump, triple jump and high jump titles. Fraley has seen four of his understudies win USATF or AAU National titles and many others have enjoyed success on a national level.
Prior to joining Tulane, Fraley coached at the high school level, working with student-athletes from many of the area's top programs. Before she competed during her freshman year at North Carolina - and ultimately transferring to Tulane - Fraley coached Van Meter at Country Day High School to a nation's best clearance of 4.17 meters (13' 8.25") in the pole vault in 2010, a mark which won her the LHSAA 1A State Championship and set the state record. Dalton Duvio of John Curtis High School - and currently of Stanford University - was a two-time state champion in the pole vault and ranked sixth nationally in the event in 2011 with a vault of 5.20 meters (17'1"). Dalton's brother, Dylan - who will also join Stanford University - finished as the LHSAA Division II State Champion at the State Outdoor Meet with a jump of 5.08 meters (16' 8") that he achieved with the help of Fraley. Kyle Rose - a graduate of Jesuit and former LSU Tiger pole vaulter - and Caitlyn Rodrigue - formerly of Dominican and LSU - were also mentored by Fraley over the course of the last few years.
During his tenure as a high school coach, the Fresno, Calif., native was instrumental in the success of over 15 student-athletes, allowing them the opportunity to compete at the collegiate level. His pupils have earned scholarships to schools on both the east and west coasts, including schools like Tulane, Chicago, LSU, Georgia, Yale, Stanford, Southeastern Louisiana, North Carolina and Harvard.
Before moving to New Orleans to open the Spine Care Center of Metairie in 1995, Fraley spent a one-year stint as an assistant coach at his alma mater of Fresno State under his father and legendary track and field coach, Bob Fraley. As a student-athlete at Fresno State, Fraley won three NCAA National Championships in the pole vault, claiming the 1986 indoor title while winning both the indoor and outdoor titles the following year. He was the Fresno State Athlete of the Year in 1985 and 1986 before sharing the honor with Kevin Sweeney in 1987. In 1993, he was selected to Fresno State University athletic Hall of Fame before entering the Fresno County Hall of Fame in 2004.
After college, Fraley continued to compete on a regular basis as a part of the International Association of Athletics Federations Grand Prix circuit and qualified for six USA National Teams. He qualified for multiple World Grand Prix Finals and finished fourth overall at the event in 1987. His personal record was collected in 1992 when he cleared 5.80 meters (19' 0.25") at a competition in Sestriere, Italy.
Fraley has remained incredibly active in the development of the sport that he has dedicated his life to performing and teaching. He has been a keynote speaker and is an annual lecturer at the National Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nev. and has acted as the Master of Ceremonies at the National Pole Vault Summit and the North American Pole Vault Championships, both events which he helped organize. He also continues to contribute to the growth of track and field by serving as a member of the United States Track and Field Pole Vault Development coaching staff, a post he has held since 1995.
In addition to his coaching and developmental aspects of the sport, Fraley has remained interested and involved in the physical and mechanical aspects of the sport. He has been fortunate enough to work with some of the world's top coaches and biomechanics from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Scotland, Sweden, Russia and the United States. He has studied the areas of technique, speed, strength and kinesthetic development and even contributed as the co-author of the pole vault chapter in the "Complete Book of Jumps", which was written by Ed Jacoby and, his father, Bob Fraley.
Fraley resides in New Orleans.