ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Tulane’s track and field team sent mostly runners to Albequerque, N.M., for the Cherry and Silver Invitational this weekend, and it paid off in dividends as many of the student-athletes set new season and personal bests, including junior pole vaulter Merritt Van Meter’s new Tulane indoor record for the pole vault.
Van Meter launched 4.27 meters (14-0) for a new personal best and a new school record. The Metairie, La., native topped the previous school record – one of her own – by four one-hundredths of a meter. Van Meter led a quartet of pole vaulters who had solid days at the Albuquerque Convention Center on Saturday.
Junior Jessica Knierim and senior Joanna Lapucha tied each other with matching vaults of 3.72 meters (12-2.5), which were both good for season highs. True freshman Mary Carson Pitts – pole vaulting collegiately for just the third time – set a new personal best with a jump of 3.57 meters (11-8.5).
But it was Van Meter that stood out for the Green Wave on the afternoon. The junior finished second in the event, and the jump shattered her previous season-high of 4.05 meters (13-3.5). Van Meter still owns the top pole vault mark in Conference USA. Prior to this weekend, there have only been three other student-athletes in the NCAA with better pole vault marks than Van Meter’s mark from Saturday.
“I was really excited to see the way a few of our jumpers have performed this early in the season,” stated the director of Tulane track and field, Eric Peterson. “Merritt’s improvement is very significant for her. She has been working hard to make some adjustments, and as a result, she has come on early this season. She is excited about continuing to make progress from this point forward.”
A trio of triple jumpers also had stellar days for the Green Wave, as junior Estefany Cruz, sophomore Tamika Brazzel and senior Briana Santiago all finished in the top-15 on the day. Cruz had the top triple jump for Tulane as she notched a leap of 12.26 meters (40-2.75) in just her second meet this season. Brazzel and Santiago, however, both notched new season bests with jumps of 12.19 meters (40-0) and 12.02 meters (39-5.25), respectively.
“We have continued to see improvement from Tamika and Briana in the triple jump, as well as some consistency from Estefany,” added Peterson. “The results from those three kids were huge.”
The fact that some of the jumpers found success at the Albuquerque Convention Center meant a lot to Peterson and his staff due to the fact that the NCAA Indoor National Championships will be held in this venue later this season.
“All in all, it wasn’t a success across the board, which track and field meets typically aren’t, but the things that are happening at the front end of our team are very good, and we are excited about the results,” added Peterson.
Next Thursday, the Green Wave will return to the Birmingham CrossPlex – a venue in which they have competed twice already this season – for the Southern Miss Invitational, a one day meet.
Fans can follow the Tulane track and field programs on Twitter (@GreenWaveXCTF) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.
Women’s 800m Run
20. Tiffany Kenney, 2:23.19
Women’s High Jump
21. Tiffany Kenney, 1.48m (4-10.25)
— Melanie Mainor, NH
Women’s Pole Vault
2. Merritt Van Meter, 4.27m (14-0) * #
t-17. Jessica Knierim, 3.72m (12-2.5)
t-17. Joanna Lapucha, 3.72m (12-2.5)
27. Mary Carson Pitts, 3.57m (11-8.5) *
Women’s Long Jump
15. Tamika Brazzel, 5.60m (18-4.5)
32. Tiffany Kenney, 5.01m (16-5.25)
Women’s Triple Jump
12. Estefany Cruz, 12.26m (40-2.75)
14. Tamika Brazzel, 12.19m (40-0)
15. Briana Santiago, 12.02m (39-5.25)
Women’s Shot Put
25. Taylor Potts, 11.32m (37-1.50)
36. Tiffany Kenney, 9.71m (31-10.25)
*- Personal Best
# – Indoor School Record
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