May 24, 2013
GREENSBORO, N.C. - After an indoor season in which she qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the pole vault, Tulane track and field redshirt sophomore Merritt Van Meter extended her outdoor season by another week by qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships at the East Regionals in Greensboro, N.C., on Friday afternoon.
The Metairie, La., native tied for first in the pole vault by clearing 4.10 meters (13' 5.25") at the Irwin Belk Track at Aggie Stadium. Two weeks after winning the event title at the Conference USA Championships, Van Meter will continue to do what she does best at the national meet in Eugene, Ore., in two weekends.
"Merritt is now one step away from being able to accomplish the ultimate goal," said Tulane director of track and field Eric Peterson. "That's huge. To compete at your best in the biggest meet is what we are trying to achieve throughout our program. Merritt has been performing really well all season long, and this is the best outdoor meet she has had all season. She came in at 3.85 meters (12' 7.5") and making that on her first attempt, and then clearing four meters on her first attempt before getting 4.10 meters on her second attempt."
Van Meter's jump was just one one-hundredth away from tying her personal outdoor best that she set earlier this season at the Sun Angel Classic.
Junior Joanna Lapucha, who also competed on the day, cleared 3.85 meters (12' 7. 5") to tie for ninth on the day. Her performance marked the first time the Lafayette, La., native competed in an NCAA Regional.
"We are really proud of the season Joanna had," added Peterson. "She is, by far, the most improved athlete in our program, across the board. To see her have the chance to not only qualify for regionals, but compete well here, is a good indication of the competitor she is becoming. That is really important for her, individually, and for our program in general."
Van Meter also becomes the first Tulane women track and field athlete to qualify for both the indoor and outdoor national championships in the same event in the same season since Marie Ablander did so in the triple jump in 2001. Asumnu qualified for both the indoor and outdoor championships in 2007, but did so in different events.
"We are very excited," said Peterson. "We have established a precedent for our program to be represented at the national level for years now. To see Merritt qualify for the Indoor Championships and now the Outdoor Championships is a great testament."
On Saturday, redshirt sophomore Estefany Cruz will attempt to join Van Meter at the National Championships as she triple jumps.
A link for live results can be found on the track and field schedule page on TulaneGreenWave.com.
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