Redshirt junior pole vaulter Merritt Van Meter will compete in her third straight NCAA Championships on Friday
March 13, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - After breaking the school record and winning the Gold Medal at the Conference USA Indoor Championships, Tulane redshirt junior pole vaulter Merritt Van Meter will look to cap her indoor track and field season with a strong showing as she will join the best of the best at the NCAA Indoor National Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, N.M., on Friday.
The women's pole vault will begin at 7pm CT. The meet will stream live on ESPN3.com beginning at 6:55pm CT, and a tape delay of the entire meet will air Saturday, March 22, starting at 5:30pm CT on ESPNU. Live results can be followed at TulaneGreenWave.com.
Van Meter is coming off an indoor season in which she led the Green Wave with the top six pole vaults during season. The Metairie, La., native's top leap - a 4.27 meter (14-0) at the New Mexico Cherry and Silver Invitational on Jan. 25 that doubles as the 15th-best mark in the NCAA going into the championship meet - broke her own school record. Coincidentally, the venue in which she broke the record will be the same one she competes in on Friday for a chance to become just the fifth Tulane multi-time All-American in track and field.
"This is the third season in a row that Merritt has qualified for a national meet, which solidifies her as truly one of the elite pole vaulters in America," stated Tulane track and field director Eric Peterson. "I know that she wasn't satisfied with her national meet performances last year. She is looking forward to competing on Friday and seeing if she is ready to see if she can be right in the thick of it."
Van Meter also won the Gold Medal at the Conference USA Championships late last month in Birmingham, Ala. She won the event with a vault of 4.15 meters (13-7.25).
In 2013, Van Meter qualified for both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor National Championships. While she earned All-American status by finishing 19th during the outdoor championships, Van Meter did not clear her first bar during the indoor meet.
"Only 16 women qualify for this meet," added Peterson. "It's a very elite group of athletes. For Merritt to have earned the opportunity to go and test herself at the highest level is exactly what we hope for from all of our kids who are national-level competitors."
Van Meter is looking to join Tulane track and field legends Ana Ruzevic, Gloria Asumnu, Solomon Kandie and Hanne Lyngstad as the only mutli-All-American honorees for the Green Wave. Van Meter will be the first track and field athlete to compete in three-straight NCAA Championship meets in a row since Ruzevic competed in the outdoor championships from 2010-12 in the javelin.
"Merritt is representing Tulane at these meets, and it doesn't only give her national exposure, but it gives our team national exposure as well," mentioned Peterson. "Merritt is leading the way for us. It's very significant what she is doing."
The rest of the Green Wave track and field team have already begun the outdoor portion of their schedule. On Saturday, Tulane will compete in the Southern Miss Invitational in Hattiesburg, Miss.
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Tulane Entries to NCAA Indoor National Championships
Merritt Van Meter