Hawkeye track and field shines on highest stage

Records fell all season for Hawkeye track and field, and Iowa ended its 2018 outdoor season in similar fashion, with a 13th-place finish for the women in the NCAA Championships ​ — the best mark in school history.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ben Allan Smith

Iowa's Jahisha Thomas starts off the blocks during the womens' 4x100 meter relay in the 2018 Drake Relays at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa on Friday, April 27, 2018. Iowa finished second with a time of 45.58. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

It’s been a record-breaking season for Hawkeye track and field, and Iowa kept up its pace with its best finish to a season in program history.

On June 9, the Hawkeye women closed out their 2018 outdoor season with a 13th-place finish at NCAAs ​
— the best mark in school history ​
— with a record-setting 19 team points in Eugene, Oregon. The Hawkeye men tied for 31st with 9 points.

USC won the women’s championships, tallying 53 points (just 2 points ahead of runner-up Stanford), while on the men’s side, Georgia dominated, scoring 52 (no other team scored more than 35 on the men’s side).

Jahisha Thomas and Laulauga Tausaga capped Iowa’s NCAA weekend with two All-American performances.

Thomas finished sixth in the triple jump and became the Hawkeyes’ sole first team All-American in the event, even though the weather conditions in Eugene were less than ideal.

“That was definitely one for the books,” she said in a release. “That rain was something serious, but we all competed in the same conditions. My first jump was a bad jump, but I knew I had something there. Then I had a solid jump on my second attempt, and that turned out to be my best one. I felt the potential in my body.”

Thomas’ best jump was 21 feet, 5.25 inches.

Tausaga placed fourth in the discus and earned her second first team All-American honor in as many seasons.

The sophomore recorded a distance of 183 feet, 11 inches.

“I came into the discus, and I proved that I can throw with the best girls in the country again, but there is a lot of work to be done, but I am happy where I am standing,” Tausaga said in a release.

Meanwhile, two athletes on the men’s side of competition added All-American honors the day before Thomas and Tausaga.

Mar’Yea Harris finished fourth in the 400 meters with a time of 45 seconds. He said after the race the benefit of running in lane eight, which gave him a bit more focus than had he raced in another lane.

“I wanted to focus on not worrying about anyone else in the race because in lane eight, you can’t see anybody,” Harris said in a release. “I knew I had to get out, but I focused on my own race. The guys that got top three were already gone when we made the final turn, but I knew if I finished strong, then I could get a fourth-place finish.”

Reno Tuufuli added to Iowa’s strong June 8 performance by finishing fifth in the discus, just the seventh Hawkeye to earn All-American honors in the discus.

2018 is the second year in a row that Tuufuli earned fifth place in the event.

This outdoor season proved to be one of the best in track and field history, especially under current Director Joey Woody’s guidance.

The Hawkeye men finished third in the Big Ten Championships, and the woman placed sixth. Earlier this season, the men won the Drake Relays, going back-to-back on Hy-Vee Cup Championships.

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