Tulane sophomore pole vaulter Merritt Van Meter broke the school record for the second time this season by clearing 4.05 meters (13′ 3½”) during the second day of the New Mexico Collegiate Classic on Saturday.
The Country Day product broke her own school record that she notched back in early December at the Panther Ice Breaker in Birmingham, Ala. The mark she cleared today tied a personal best that she posted while still a member of the North Carolina Tar Heels.
“Merritt kept grinding through today’s competition, and in the end, she produced another school record,” Coach Eric Peterson said in a release issued by the school. “For Merritt to continue to stay so consistent in the way she is performing from week to week, as well as the way she has been able to improve, has been very exciting.”
With just four meets under her belt as a Greenie, Peterson believes Van Meter brings a lot to the table for the track and field program, and Tulane University as a whole.
“Simply put: she’s a winner,” said Peterson. “She represents Tulane with great honor and distinction. She has a lot of pride, and she loves to compete. She is a homegrown young woman who has a legacy at Tulane, and I think that is very important to her. It’s very meaningful to her when she puts the uniform on. Outside of that, she is a leader. A lot of women in our program look up to her. So far at every level she has competed at, she has been able to win. She’s a champion.”
The other pole vaulters for the Green Wave performed well on the day, too. Both Sophomore Jessica Knierim and junior Joanna Lapucha cleared 3.75 meters (12′ 3½”). Kneierim’s mark was a new personal best. They finished tenth and 11th in the competition, respectively.
“I know coach (Doug) Fraley was real excited the way the competition went for all three vaulters,” added Peterson.
During the triple jump portion of the day, Tulane’s performances from junior Briana Santiago (12.11 meters or 39′ 8¾”) and redshirt sophomore Estefany Cruz (12.11 meters or 39′ 8¾”) were good enough for seventh and eighth place.
Sophomore Tiffany Kenney and freshman Dana Ohlson both had solid days in the 60 meter hurdles, with finishes of 9.41 and 9.43, respectively. Kenney’s mark is a new personal season best.
Next week, Tulane will split their squad to participate in two separate meets -the Husky Invitational in Seattle, Wash., and the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.
Women’s Pole Vault4. Merritt Van Meter, 4.05m (13′ 3½”)
10. Joanna Lapucha, 3.75m (12′ 3½”)
11. Jessica Knierim, 3.75m (12′ 3½”)