BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Two seasoned Tulane track and field veterans – one who was making her season debut, and another who won an event title last month in her event – posted outstanding marks on the first day of the UAB Blazer Indoor Invitational on Friday at the Birmingham CrossPlex, as juniors Estefany Cruz and Merritt Van Meter owned the day in the triple jump and pole vault.
Cruz, who made her season debut on Friday, placed second overall in the triple jump with a leap of 12.31 meters (40-4.75). Cruz battled some minor injuries in the fall and missed the Green Wave’s first meet of the season last month. With 49 total participants in the event – including a few of Cruz’s fellow countrywomen from Guatemala – Cruz certainly made her mark on the afternoon.
Cruz’ triple jump is over half a meter better than the team’s previous season best. In addition to Cruz triple jumping on Friday, senior Briana Santiago posted a new season best with a leap of 11.85 meters (38-10.5). Sophomore Tamika Brazzel, who unfortunately saw her meet record broken by a meager .12 meters, triple jumped a distance of 11.62 meters (38-1.5).
Van Meter placed first in the pole vault last month with a jump of 4.00 meters. The Metairie, La., native bested that on Friday, clearing 4.05 meters (13-3.5) to tie for third place overall.
Senior Joanna Lapucha notched a new season high in the pole vault on Friday, as she cleared 3.65 meters (11-11.75) to place tenth in the event.
“It is not at all surprising to see some of our more seasoned and experienced veterans like Estefany and Merritt to come back from a holiday break and get back into competition-mode in a very strong way,” said the director of Tulane track and field Eric Peterson. “I’m particularly pleased with the fact that Estefany is healthy after suffering a hamstring injury. It’s nice to see her back in 100 percent health, and starting the season off strong. Merritt is continuing to be impressive, meet after meet. She improved from her best at the meet in December, and she had some good attempts at the next bar.”
The Green Wave runners ran in some unorthodox distances on Friday. Despite the odd lengths, Tulane dominated in the 1,000 meter run, as sophomore Jessica Adamson, sophomore Mikayla Sonneborn and freshman Sara Kebede all placed in the top ten out of 25 runners with finishes of third, sixth and eighth, respectively. Adamson finished the race with a time of 2:55.47, while Sonneborn was just nine seconds behind her with a time of 3:04.10. Kebede, who made her collegiate track and field debut, crossed the finish line in a time of 3:07.59.
“I do feel good about the three who competed in the 1,000 meters,” added Peterson. “All three of them exceeded my expectations for them at this point in the season. It was a new event for each of them, and I thought they all handled it well and competed well.”
In addition to the success that the three aforementioned runners found in the 1,000 meter run, junior Michelle Kreutzberg, senior Charlotte Manogue and freshman Allison Wegner took part in the 300 meter and 500 meter races.
Junior Merritt Van Meter and senior Joanna Lapucha notched new season bests on Friday in the pole vault, and both found themselves in the top ten for the second consecutive meet. Van Meter leapt 4.05 meters (13-3.5) to tie for third place overall, while Lapucha came in tenth with a jump of 3.65 meters (11-11.75).
Another bright spot on the afternoon for the Green Wave was the 4,000 meter distance medley relay team of Adamson, Kebede, Sonneborn and senior Hilary Woods. The quartet placed fifth out of 17 teams with a time of 12:31.60.
On Saturday, the Green Wave will return to the Birmingham CrossPlex to compete in the long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 meter dash, the one mile and the 800 meter run events at the UAB Blazer Indoor Invitational.
“I feel like we had a very good first day here, and we are looking forward to the competitive opportunities we have tomorrow,” mentioned Peterson.
Fans can follow the Tulane track and field programs on Twitter (@GreenWaveXCTF) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.
Women’s 300m Dash
68. Michelle Kreutzberg, 43.34 *
92. Allison Wegner, 46.64 *
95. Charlotte Manogue, 48.21 *
Women’s 500m Dash 20. Michelle Kreutzberg, 1:19.26
42. Allison Wegner, 1:25.76
44. Charlotte Manogue, 1:27.92
Women’s 1,000m Run
3. Jessica Adamson, 2:55.47 *
6. Mikayla Sonneborn, 3:04.10 *
8. Sara Kebede, 3:07.59 *
Women’s 4,000m Distance Medley
5. Adamson, Kebede, Kreutzberg, Sonneborn, 12:31.60
Women’s Pole Vault
t-3. Merritt Van Meter, 4.05m (13-3.5)
10. Joanna Lapucha, 3.65m (11-11.75)
18. Mary Carson Pitts, 3.50m (11-5.75)
t-19. Emma Staisloff, 3.35m (10-11.75)
t-19. Jessica Knierim, 3.35m (10-11.75)
Women’s Triple Jump
2. Estefany Cruz, 12.31m (40-4.75)
14. Briana Santiago, 11.85m (38-10.5)
21. Tamika Brazzel, 11.62m (38-1.5)
Women’s Weight Throw
42. Cheyenne Swanson, 11.52m (37-9.5)*
*= Personal Best
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