Redshirt junior pole vaulter Merritt Van Meter earned All-American status at the NCAA Indoor Championships on Friday
March 14, 2014
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Tulane redshirt junior Merritt Van Meter cleared her first bar at the NCAA Indoor National Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, N.M., clearing 4.00 meters (13-1.5) and placing 16th in the biggest meet of the season.
The Metairie, La., native was the lone Green Wave athlete to compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships, and with her mark, she becomes just the fifth multi-All-American in Tulane track and field history.
Van Meter cleared her first bar with ease, as she cleared that height or better on five different occasions on the season, including a personal best and Tulane record of 4.27 meters (14-0) - a mark that stood as the 15th best in the nation coming into the meet - at the Cherry and Silver Invitational on Jan. 25 in the same venue she competed in on Friday night.
However, Van Meter couldn't clear the second bar, set at 4.10 meters (13-5.25).
"This is such an elite group of athletes in every event in this meet, and there is absolutely no shame in placing 16th," said Tulane track and field director Eric Peterson. "She has been improving every season, and she is competing better now than she has at any time in her career. She is just a junior, so she has more time with us, and we know that she will have more opportunities in the future and that she will take advantage of them."
Van Meter wrapped up her outstanding indoor season on Friday, only weeks after capturing the Conference USA Gold Medal in the pole vault with a leap of 4.15 meters (13-7.25). During the regular season, the redshirt junior led the Green Wave with the top six pole vaults during season.
The mark Van Meter posted on Friday is much better than her last performance at the NCAA Indoor Championships. On March 9, 2013, Van Meter failed to meet the first bar at the indoor championship meet held in Fayetteville, Ark.
"She made a large improvement from last year to this year," added Peterson. "Merritt obviously has more to learn, but she is definitely headed in the right direction."
With Friday's vault, Van Meter joined Tulane track and field legends Ana Ruzevic, Gloria Asumnu, Solomon Kandie and Hanne Lyngstad as the only multi-All-American honorees for the Green Wave. Van Meter also became the first track and field athlete to compete in three-straight NCAA Championship meets in a row since Ruzevic competed in the outdoor championships from 2010-12 in the javelin.
The rest of the Green Wave track and field team have already begun the outdoor portion of their schedule, and on Saturday, Tulane will compete in the Southern Miss Invitational in Hattiesburg, Miss.
"Merritt will now move into the outdoor season, and she is as healthy as she has ever been," said Peterson. "She is very hungry to continue improving."
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Tulane Results at NCAA Indoor National Championships
16. Merritt Van Meter, 4.00m (13-1.5)