Sophomore Merritt Van Meter has the 16th best jump in the nation on the season
March 8, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - A record setting indoor season for sophomore Merritt Van Meter will culminate with a chance to secure the NCAA indoor pole vault title during the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., on Saturday.
Van Meter is the first pole vaulter in the history of Tulane's track and field program - both indoor and outdoor - to compete in the event at the highest stage for an NCAA student-athlete.
"When she first arrived here, we set a longtime goal of her to be back at the national level of competition by June, so for her to be at this level already is a remarkable achievement for her," said Tulane director of track and field Eric Peterson. "The injury that she suffered while she was at North Carolina was severe enough that it kept her out of competition for an entire year. For her to be back at this level during her first season of competition after the injury is something we are already proud of. Of course, we know she is capable of more than just being a part of the group. It is a wonderful achievement for her to qualify for this meet, but we are all hoping for a great competitive effort out of her."
When Van Meter decided to continue her track and field career at Tulane, she was reunited with longtime mentor Doug Fraley, Tulane assistant track and field coach for jumps. Fraley coached Van Meter in high school at Country Day, and introduced her to the sport prior to her time at the private school in Metairie, La.
Van Meter is coming into the meet with the 16th best jump in the nation this year, clearing 4.23 meters (13-10.5) at the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 8. Coincidentally, the NCAA Championships will be held at the same venue as the Tyson Invitational - the Randal Tyson Track Center. That jump is the top pole vaulting mark in Tulane's history.
The Metairie, La., native owns the top six jumps on the season for the Green Wave, clearing 4.00 meters (13-1.5) in four different meets. She broke the school record for pole vaulting on three different occasions during the season, including her first meet when she jumped 4.00 meters (13-1.5) at the Panther Ice Breaker on Dec. 1, 2012.
The highest spot a Tulane women's track and field student-athlete has placed at the national indoor meet is third place. Nadja Peterson finished in third in the 400 meter dash at the 2001 NCAA Indoor Championships, finishing in 53.65 seconds, and Hanne Lyngstad placed third in the one mile run when she finished in 4:39.54 at the 1999 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Live results of the meet will be made available at www.flashresults.com.
You can follow the Tulane track and field programs on Twitter (@GreenWaveXCTF) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.
ENTRIES FOR NCAA INDOOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Merritt Van Meter