Dec. 7, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Tulane's indoor track and field program got their season off to an outstanding start on Friday, as 14 student-athletes posted top ten finishes at the BSC Panther Indoor Icebreaker in Birmingham, Ala. at the Birmingham CrossPlex, while junior Merritt Van Meter, sophomore Lilla McMillan and senior Melanie Mainor won event titles in their respective events.
Van Meter led a pack of Tulane pole vaulters, as she tied her meet-record leap of 4.00 meters (13-1.5) on Friday to capture the event title, while four others finished in the top ten in the event on Friday.
McMillan followed up her collegiate debut in last year's BSC Icebreaker in which she finished sixth in the 200 meter dash with Friday's event title. The Mill Valley, Calif., native placed first out of 44 runners on Friday, notching a new personal best of 24.31 in the event, which doubled as the new meet record.
Mainor tied for the top high jump on the day, posting a leap of 1.65 meters (5-5). She recorded an identical mark at last year's version of the BSC Icebreaker, which stood as a personal best until she eclipsed it later during the 2013 indoor season.
"This meet was good for us to be able to measure where our athletes are at this point in time," stated the director of Tulane track and field Eric Peterson. "To see Lilla, Merritt and Melanie come out and win events right off the bat is a good sign for them, as it is a great way for them to start their indoor seasons. Lilla set a new meet record and won the 200 meters going away. We have come to expect the consistency out of Merritt. For Melanie to win an event right out of the gate is going to be a good boost for her confidence."
In terms of the pole vaulters, Friday's dominance was nothing out of the ordinary, as the Green Wave were typically at the front of the pack during most meets last season. Van Meter burst onto the Green Wave scene last year during the same meet, breaking the previous school record in her first meet as a Tulane student-athlete, only to be passed by her on multiple occasions throughout the season.
On Friday, Van Meter was joined by true freshman Mary Carson Pitts, junior Jessica Knierim and senior Joanna Lapucha in the top 5, as they all tied for third on the evening with identical leaps of 3.55 meters (11-7.75). Another true freshman in Emma Staisloff placed sixth on the day with a jump of 3.40 meters (11-1.75).
With Pitts and Staisloff making their debut jumps for Tulane on the evening, they have also entered the Tulane indoor record books with their performances. Pitts' jump is good for the fifth-best jump in school history, while Staisloff's mark stands as the seventh-best in Tulane history.
Seven current Green Wave pole vaulters now hold the top-10 spots in Tulane history in the pole vault, as Van Meter (first), Lapucha (second), Knierim (third), Pitts (fifth), sophomore Jill Doyle (sixth), Staisloff (seventh) and sophomore Haley Miller (eighth) - who jumped 2.95 meters (9-8) on Friday - are all in the record books.
In addition to the pole vaulting unit and the event titles won by McMillan and Mainor, Tulane got a slew of outstanding performances from the rest of their student-athletes throughout the day, as well. Tulane saw all three of their triple jump participants on the day finish in the top ten, as senior Briana Santiago notched the third best triple jump at the meet, leaping 11.76 meters (38-7). Santiago was followed immediately by sophomore Tamika Brazzel, who came in fourth with a jump of 11.69 meters (38-4.25). Sophomore Taylor Caulk posted a new career-best triple jump of 10.94 meters (35-10.75) on Friday, placing eighth at the meet.
Brazzel also notched a top-five finish in the long jump, as she placed fourth in the event of 33 with a leap of 5.65 meters (18-6.5).
"I know that our jumpers have been training very well, and we kind of use this meet as a test, as in all three of the events, our athletes competed from a modified approach distance," mentioned Peterson. "They aren't doing a full run yet. They are just testing their technique. For them to all place high like they did is exciting."
In the throws portion of the event, Tulane made a splash as true freshman Taylor Potts made her collegiate track and field debut, and she did so in strong fashion. The Fishers, Ind., native, posted the fourth-best shot put throw in school history, as she placed eighth at the BSC Icebreaker in the event, tossing the shot put 12.48 meters (40-11.5).
In the 800 meter run, sophomore Jessica Adamson and junior Michelle Kreutzberg found themselves in the top ten in the event, as they both posted new personal bests of 2:15.51 and 2:21.72, respectively. Adamson came in second place in the event, while Kreutzberg came in eighth. Adamson actually had a wardrobe malfunction, as she lost a shoe within the first 100 meters of the race.
"I was very pleased with Jessica's performance," added Peterson. "She was in the lead until the final 30 meters of the race, and unfortunately didn't hold on for the win, but she posted a lifetime best under those circumstances. It shows a lot of toughness an commitment on her part to finish in a relatively new event for her."
The Green Wave won't return to action until after the New Year, when they will head back to Birmingham, Ala., for the UAB Blazer Invitational on Jan. 10-11.
Fans can follow the Tulane track and field programs on Twitter (@GreenWaveXCTF) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.
Women's 200m Dash
1. Lilla McMillan, 24.31*
26. Hilary Woods, 25.97
Women's 400m Dash
21. Dominique Hever, 1:01.70*
28. Madison Smith, 1:05.24
Women's 800m Run
2. Jessica Adamson, 2:15.51*
8. Michelle Kreutzberg, 2:21.72*
25. Allison Wegner, 2:29.69*
Women's High Jump
t-1. Melanie Mainor, 1.65m (5-5)
Women's Pole Vault
1. Merritt Van Meter, 4.00m (13-1.5)
t-3. Mary Carson Pitts, 3.55m (11-7.75)*
t-3. Jessica Knierim, 3.55m (11-7.75)
t-3. Joanna Lapucha, 3.55m (11-7.75)
6. Emma Staisloff, 3.40m (11-1.75)*
17. Haley Miller, 2.95m (9-8)
Women's Long Jump
4. Tamika Brazzel, 5.65m (18-6.5)
21. Taylor Caulk, 4.92m (16-1.75)
Women's Triple Jump
3. Briana Santiago, 11.76m (38-7)
4. Tamika Brazzel, 11.69m (38-4.25)
8. Taylor Caulk, 10.94m (35-10.75) *
Women's Shot Put
8. Taylor Potts, 12.48m (40-11.5)*
Women's Weight Throw
23. Dana Ohlson, 7.64m (25-0.75) *
-- Cheyenne Swanson, FOUL
* = Personal Best