Dec. 2, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Tulane's track and field teams came away from the Panther Icebreaker, the indoor season opening meet, with 12 Top 10 finishes this past weekend at the CrossPlex hosted by Birmingham Southern.
"In general, our goal as a team was to really break the ice of the indoor season," said head coach Eric Peterson. "Give these kids an opportunity to compete and challenge themselves before final exams and get an idea of where we are after a semester of work that we feel as a coaching staff has been challenging but good."
The highlight of the day was Merrit Van Meter's performance. She was able to clear 4 meters taking home the number one spot and breaking the meet's previous record. She also broke Tulane's all-time indoor pole vault record which was set back in 2003. Van Meter is a redshirt sophomore who sustained an injury in her first at the University of North Carolina. She took last year off for training and rehab to prepare for this moment. Her first meet for the Green Wave exceeded expectations for the comeback player.
"For her to come out and clear four meters, win her first competition, set a new Tulane indoor pole vaulting school record, and set this meets record is a real boost not only for her to mark a lot of hard work and dedication, but its also a big shot in the arm for our team to because she's a national level athlete. She's somebody we're going to count going on," said Peterson.
Van Meter wasn't the only outstanding pole vaulter of the day with sophomore Jessica Kneirmin taking fourth place overall with a 3.55 meter finish. Her impressive performance allowed her to take over at third place in Tulane's all time best indoor pole vault accomplishments.
Sophomore Estefany Cruz lived up to her expectations as well placing 2nd in the triple jump at 12.10 meter. Last season, Cruz's triple jump abilities earned her a spot at the NCAA National Championship.
Melanie Mainor also did well Saturday in the high jump. The junior tied her personal record with a 1.65 meter performance.
Another highlight came from Freshman Lilla McMillan who finished sixth in the 200 meter sprint out of 64 other runners, impressive for a first college level competition. She was able to cover the short distance in just 24.86 seconds. A great start to the promising young runner's Tulane career.
"I'm really pleased with what we saw highlighted by Lilla McMillan's in women's 200 meters. It was her first time ever running indoor. Her to get sixth was a really good start," Peterson said
With the season having just gotten underway, there is always room for improvement, but after today, the future looks bright for the talent ridden team.
"We came into this meet felling optimistic about how a lot of kids would perform," said Peterson. "I believe we are leaving the meet feeling pretty good about some of the performances this early in the season. We got as much out of this meet at a team stand point than at an individual standpoint. I really feel like we're ahead of where we were a year ago."
The indoor track and field team will not compete until next semester when they return to Birmingham for the Blazer Indoor Invitational on January 10th-11th.
You can follow the Green Wave cross country/track and field program on Twitter (@GreenWaveTkFld) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.