McConico, Tausaga continue rampage for Iowa track

Jaylan McConico and Laulauga Tausaga have stood out throughout the indoor season for Hawkeye track and field.


Ben Allan

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.

Robert Read and Sydney Becker

Men’s — Jaylan McConico

The Iowa men’s track team was home to a variety of noteworthy performances in the home indoor season, but perhaps Jaylan McConico has stood out among the male athletes.

Junior hurdler McConico is in his first season at Iowa after transferring from Illinois State. There, he was a two-time national qualifier, and that success accompanied him to the Hawkeyes.

McConico is one of the leading lights for the Iowa men’s team, which is ranked 33rd in the nation and third in the Midwest.

Four meets into the season, he has two victories in the 60-meter hurdles, taking home gold at the Wieczorek Invitational and the Black & Gold Premier.

RELATED: Men’s track picks up two victories at Black and Gold Premier

The victories were against such programs as Arizona and Baylor, two of the highest-ranked track teams in the nation. Hawkeye Chris Douglas has also been solid, running the second-fastest 60-hurdles time in the Big Ten.

McConico also has second- and third-place finishes in the 60 hurdles at the Hawkeye Invitational and Jimmy Grant Invitational, respectively, and in his preliminary heat at the Hawkeye Invitational, he ran a personal best 7.73.

That time is the sixth-fastest in the nation and also good for the best in the Big Ten.

McConico has enjoyed success immediately as a Hawkeye, and that appears likely to continue in his Iowa track career.

Robert Read

Women’s — Laulauga Tausaga

Since the start of her third indoor season with Iowa, junior Laulauga Tausaga has tried to set a new milestone at each meet. And she has succeeded, hitting a record-breaking weight throw at each home meet she has participated in.

Joseph Cress
In this file photo, Iowa freshman Laulauga Tausaga attempts a throw during the Border Battle indoor track meet in the UI Recreation Building with Iowa, Missouri and Illinois competing on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017. Tausaga won the National Championship in the discus on June 22 in Sacramento, California.

Tausaga started the indoor season by breaking the Hawkeye weight-throw record at the Grant Invitational in December (20.19 meters).

She took home the gold medal in the shot put (16.46 meters) that day as well, although her school record throw of 16.51 gained importance later in the season.

“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.

RELATED: Women’s track & field sprints to three gold medals at the Black & Gold Premier

She was definitely set up for a great season, and she continued a streak of wins at the Hawkeye Invitational.

She again threw a weight-throw record (20.67), breaking the mark she had made only a week earlier. She then blasted the competition with a 16.02-meter throw in the shot put to take the gold.

The Wieczorek Invitational meant yet another record-breaking throw for Tausaga in both the shot put (16.70) and the weight throw (21.30).

“It’s a great feeling, but there’s still more to be done,” she said. “I’m trying to keep moving up in the national rankings and keep working to make the Big Ten Championships.”

Tausaga took the day off for the final home meet of the season at the Black & Gold Premier to prepare for future competition as she travels with the team for the second half of the indoor season. She’ll continue to work on her throws and possibly hit record marks.

— Sydney Becker