Nov. 30, 2012
New Orleans - Tulane's indoor track & field team will spring into action this Saturday, Dec. 1 with their first meet of the indoor season at the Birmingham CrossPlex. After spending the fall semester preparing for the season, the women are ready to see the fruits of their hard work when they compete in the sprints, jumps and hurdle events, starting at 10 a.m.
"The reason that we are competing this early is to really give all of our sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers an opportunity to test themselves before the end of the semester," said Tulane head coach Eric Peterson. "They've been working really hard, and I think everybody's making a lot of significant gains in fitness, strength, power and speed."
Sophomore Estefany Cruz will return as the team's top indoor triple jumper. Her distances in this event earned her a second place ranking in Conference USA standings last year as well as a trip to the NCAA championships. Cruz is set to compete in both the triple jump and the long jump on Saturday.
The team is also looking forward to the debut of redshirt sophomore Merritt Van Meter, who will compete for the Green Wave for the first time on Saturday. The Metairie native transferred to Tulane from North Carolina, where she competed as a freshman during the 2010-11 campaign.
She is not the first Van Meter to attend Tulane as a student-athlete: both her grandfather, Cliff, and father, Cliff Jr., competed on the Tulane football team. In high school, Van Meter soared to 4.17 meters to lead the nation in pole vaulting her senior year at Country Day. During her lone season at North Carolina, she placed 37th nationally for indoor pole vaulting. She spent her first season at Tulane (2011-12) recovering from an injury and received a redshirt season. When she competes in the pole vault on Saturday, it will be for the first time in over a year Van Meter has taken part in a competitive event.
Freshman Tamika Brazzel is one of the most promising athletes on the team. She competed at Oceanside's (Calif.) El Camino High School where she recorded a school record in the triple jump and 300-meter hurdles. At the California state championships, Brazzel finished third in the triple jump and fifth in the long jump, the same two events she will compete in on Saturday.
Lilla McMillan is another talented freshman competing for the first time at a college level. She prepped at Mill Valley's (Calif.) Tamalpais High School and holds school records in the 100-meter and the 200-meter. She placed third in the 200m and sixth in the 100m at the California state championships. The sprinter will compete in those two events this weekend.
Other freshmen to expect great things from are sprinter and New Orleans native Kayla Quincy, middle distance runner Jessica Adamson from Toronto, Canada, and multi-event athlete Dana Ohlson from Brant Beach, N.J.
"What we're looking for right now is to give them an opportunity gaining some experience, challenging themselves in competitive situations, and using it as a way to get a baseline setting of information on where they are," says Peterson.
Tulane will be competing in the 200m, 400m, 800m, 60m hurdles, 4x400 relay, high jump, pole vault, long jump, triple jump and shot put. Following the opener, the Green Wave returns to action at the UAB Blacker Indoor Invitational, Jan. 10, 2013m in Birmingham, Ala.
"It gives them an opportunity to put their uniform on, that process of being nervous and excited, and going out and pushing themselves. Everybody's really excited about it. It's been a long semester working toward getting ready to compete. I think everybody's really eager to get out there," says Peterson.
You can follow the Green Wave cross country/track and field program on Twitter (@GreenWaveTkFld) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.