March 9, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Sophomore Merritt Van Meter represented Tulane at the NCAA Indoor Championships on Saturday night in Fayetteville, Ark., marking the first time a Tulane pole vaulter competed at the highest level.
Despite having a stellar season for the Green Wave and competing for a full season for the first time in over a year, Van Meter did not clear her first bar of 4.00 meters (13-1.5) at the Championships.
"Merritt achieved a lot this indoor season just to get qualified," said Tulane director of track and field Eric Peterson. "She was very ahead of schedule in her development, and that was rewarded by her earning an opportunity to come to the national meet to represent Tulane. Obviously, she didn't have the kind of meet she was hoping for, but it's also a great opportunity for her to learn and experience what it takes to be successful at the national level."
Van Meter was one of four women who did not clear their initial bar. The pole vault title was given to Natalia Bartnovskaya of Kansas, who cleared 4.45 meters (14-7.25).
During the Metairie, La., native's first indoor season as a member of the Green Wave track and field program, Van Meter shattered the school record in the pole vault on three different occasions. In her first meet with Tulane, she broke the top spot in school history with a 4.00 meter (13-1.5) leap, and broke that record two more times, ultimately clearing 4.23 meters (13-10.5) at the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 8. Coincidentally, the NCAA Championships were held at the same venue as the Tyson Invitational - the Randal Tyson Track Center.
On the season, Van Meter notched the six top jumps on the season for a Greenie. Coming into the NCAA Indoor Championships, her record breaking jump was good for the 16th best spot in the nation.
Van Meter transferred to Tulane after competing for a season at the University of North Carolina. Upon her arrival to Tulane, she was reunited with longtime coach and mentor Doug Fraley, who is Tulane's assistant track and field coach for jumps.
Van Meter will now turn her attention to the outdoor track and field season, where the rest of her teammates have shifted their focus. The squad competed in the Bob Hayes Cowboy Relays in Lake Charles, La., this evening.
"We have a lot of work to do, and we need to improve in every stage of our program," added Peterson. "But, we are proud to have had a student-athlete qualify for the NCAA National Championships."
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RESULTS FOR NCAA INDOOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Merritt Van Meter, NH