A great middle distance runner under the late and legendary Bart Sullivan at Holy Cross, Merritt won the New England 440-yard track championship for three straight years as a collegian. He won the Ryder 440 in the BAA games at Boston Garden three times and, as a sophomore in that meet, won the John Briggs Trophy as the most valuable New England Runner in the competition. He also won the New England AAU 600 championship twice, placed third in the IC4A indoor 600 and was fourth once in the National AAU 600. He was ranked seventh among the middle distance runners in the world as a junior. A native of Massapequa Park, NY, Merritt graduated from Chaminade High School and also Harvard Law School.