Jan. 23, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - After a weekend off from competing, the Tulane track and field jumpers - along with two others who will compete in non-jumping events - will travel west to Albuquerque for the Cherry and Silver Invitational at the Albuquerque Convention Center on Friday and Saturday.
Live results can be followed by clicking on the live results link on the track and field schedule page on TulaneGreenWave.com. Final results will be posted at the conclusion of the meet.
Tulane will be focusing their efforts in the jumping events that they have found tremendous success in early this season. The Green Wave will feature athletes in the high jump, pole vault, long jump and triple jump.
"Right now, our strongest athletes on the team are in our jumping areas," stated the director of Tulane track and field, Eric Peterson. "This venue is the host site for the NCAA Indoor National Championships. This weekend will be the only time we will go to Albequerque and compete in this venue prior to the NCAA Indoor Championships. It's an important place to expose our kids to. It's the right place for our athletes in these events to be competing this weekend. Part of the reason it's such a good place for jumpers is because of the elevation. It's not an ideal setting for middle and long distance runners. But, what you are going to find is athletes in strength and power events, you'll see those athletes compete really well in that environment. We are looking forward to putting our kids out there."
In addition to those four events, junior Tiffany Kenney will be the lone runner for the team this weekend, as she will take part in the 800 meter run. Kenney, along with freshman Taylor Potts, will also compete in the shot put.
Junior Merritt Van Meter headlines the pole vaulting group that will compete over the weekend. Already this season, Van Meter has an event title to her name, as she was the top pole vaulter at the BSC Panther Indoor Icebreaker in December, and she tied for third at the UAB Blazer Indoor Invitational two weeks ago when she leapt 4.05 meters (13.3-5). In Albuquerque last year, the Metairie, La., native placed third with a jump of 3.95 meters (12-11.5).
In addition to Van Meter, three other quality pole vaulters will take part in the event this weekend. Two veterans in senior Joanna Lapucha and junior Jessica Knierim will join freshman Mary Carson Pitts. Lapucha leapt 3.65 meters (11-11.75) two weeks ago at the UAB Blazer Indoor Invitational, while the top jumps on the season by Pitts and Knierim - both 3.55 meters (11-7.75) - came back in December.
Last season, Lapucha cleared her current-career high mark of 3.80 meters (12-5.75) for third place at the Cherry and Silver Invitational, while Knierim bested 3.65 meters (11-11.75) for 13th place.
Redshirt junior Estefany Cruz made her season-debut two weeks ago in the triple jump, and she will compete again during this meet. After suffering a minor injury in the fall, she missed the BSC Icebreaker meet in early December before coming in second during the triple jump two weekends ago. The Guatemalan posted a jump of 12.31 meters (40-4.75). Senior Briana Santiago and sophomore Tamika Brazzel will also compete in the triple jump.
"Merritt leads a very strong and deep group of pole vaulters, and Estefany leads a group of strong and fairly deep group of triple jumpers," added Peterson.
Senior Melanie Mainor will take part in the high jump, along with Kenney. Mainor has competed in both meets for the Green Wave so far this season, clearing heights of 1.65 meters (5-5) and 1.64 meters (5-4.5), respectively. Mainor tied for first for the event title at the BSC Panther Icebreaker. At the time, it was Mainor's lifetime best jump.
Kenney and Brazzel will both compete in the long jump. Brazzel was just two one-hundredths of a meter short of tying her personal best in the event in December when she leapt 5.65 meters (18-6.5) to place fourth at the meet.
Potts, who had an outstanding collegiate debut back in December, will compete for just the second time in her career. The Fishers, Ind., native notched a shot put toss of 12.48 meters (40-11.5) in her first collegiate meet, ranking fourth in school history in the event.
"Taylor is a talented, young thrower in our program who I think will be able to mix it up pretty well at the Conference USA Championships this year for us, even as a true freshman" added Peterson. "It's an important time for her to be competing. She threw a lifetime best during her first meet, and this will only be her second collegiate meet, so we will be looking to see some improvement out of her."
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Women's 800m Run
Women's High Jump
Women's Pole Vault
Mary Carson Pitts
Merritt Van Meter
Women's Long Jump
Women's Triple Jump
Women's Shot Put