Jimmy Grant Invite sets tone for the Iowa women’s track

The 2018 season began as the Iowa women’s track and field team looked to make major strides.


Ben Allan Smith

Iowa’s Laulauga Tausaga competes in the womens’ shot put during the 2018 Drake Relays at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa on Friday, April 27, 2018. Tausaga finished fifth with a distance of 15.40 meters.

Sydney Becker, Sports Reporter

The Iowa women’s track team worked hard to set the tone for the upcoming season at the Jimmy Grant Invitational on Dec. 8 in the Rec Building, complete with a school record, a handful of career bests, and numerous wins.

Opening the indoor season, Iowa State, Illinois State, Drake, and Northern Iowa came to compete.

Junior Laulauga Tausaga, who took home eighth place in the Big Ten Championships earlier this year in the weight throw, started the morning with a school-record-breaking weight throw to win (20.19 meters), as well as a first-place stop in the shot put (16.46 meters).

“I would say it’s pretty special, because it is the first meet of the season, so coming out and being able to do that just sets me up for a really great season,” Tausaga said. “I’m trying to come back, and I’m trying to do some damage when I get back in weight. With shot, my outdoor season was amazing, so I’m just trying to take that feeling that I had for the last half of my season of last year and bring it in full swing for this upcoming season.”

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Jenny Kimbro not only took home first place in the 60-meter hurdles, but she also set a career best (8.34).

“I was pretty nervous, but I was mostly excited,” she said. “It was just fun to see how everyone’s training came together.

“It definitely was unexpected, but I’m excited moving forward, to keep training with everyone and better the time as the season goes on.”

Antonise Christian, a sophomore sprinter, took the second-place spot in the 60 meters preliminaries. Later that evening, she took first in the finals (7.64).

“Coming from last season, it just feels like a blessing, and I’m excited,” Christian said. “My main goal is to just get points and help the team score.”

Taylor Arco earned a win and a career-best in the 600 meters (1:32.82), beating her previous mark by slightly more than three seconds. Additional career marks in the 600 included those by Tia Saunders (1:33.30) and Alexis Gay (1:37.72).

Three others brought in Hawkeye wins: Daneisha Woodside in the 500 meters (1:17.03), Macie Weber in the 1,000 meters (3:00.83), and Hannah Schilb in the triple jump (12.10 meters).

Jada Laye, a freshman sprinter, sat less than a second under the time to beat in the 300 meters.

“I was a little disappointed because I know how to execute it to my full ability,” she said. “I just need to focus on my technique and what I do in practice every day. I came back, and I think I redeemed myself in the 4-x-4.”

If the tone of the rest of the season is anything like the first meet, the Hawkeyes are in for some fun.

The teams will host their second indoor Jan. 11-12, competing against Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Iowa Central, Wichita State, Bradley, Loyola, and South Dakota.