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Tausaga leads track Hawks to NCAAs

Laulauga Tausaga has added to her trophy case this season. Now, she and nine of her teammates head to the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Iowa%27s+Laulauga+Tausaga+competes+in+the+womens%27+shot+put+during+the+2018+Drake+Relays+at+Drake+Stadium+in+Des+Moines%2C+Iowa+on+Friday%2C+April+27%2C+2018.+Tausaga+finished+fifth+with+a+distance+of+15.40+meters.+
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Tausaga leads track Hawks to NCAAs

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.

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.

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.

Ben Allan Smith

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.

Robert Read, Sports Reporter

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When diving into the Iowa track and field record book, the name “Laulauga Tausaga” seems to appear more times than Jordan Bohannon has hit a clutch 3-pointer this basketball season. So in other words, a lot.

Tausaga is a two-time All-American and two-time Big Ten champion, and she owns the Hawkeye women’s record in the indoor shot put and weight throw as well as the outdoor shot put and discus.

Just when it appeared Tausaga’s trophy case was at capacity, she was forced to make a little room.

On March 1, the Iowa junior was named Midwest Regional Female Field Athlete of the Year, becoming only the second woman in program history to earn a regional honor. While Tausaga has had an exceptional season thus far, the honor was unexpected.

“The news came as a shock,” shesaid. “I honestly thought Sade Olatoye at Ohio State would get it, but technically, [the Buckeyes] aren’t considered to be in the Midwest for track, even though they are in the Big Ten. But after it really sank in, I was like, ‘Heck, yeah.’ It feels like I am really improving, especially in the shot, so it was a wonderful surprise.”

In her final performance before receiving the award, Tausaga broke her school record in the shot put by a whopping 1.09 meters at the Big Tens. Tausaga’s personal best now stands at 17.79 in the shot, amark she is happy to see considering how she considered herself to have struggled in the event.

“I was hoping that meet would do something for my shot, because I was struggling to hit that 17-meter mark,” she said. “But being able to go out there and do it just shows that I was able to improve in some areas where I felt I was struggling.”

The next step in the season for her and the teammates is the NCAA Indoor Championships, where the indoor season comes to a close in Birmingham, Alabama.

Tausaga will travel to NCAAs with nine teammates, eight of whom also qualified for individual events. The only Hawkeye to qualify in two individual events, she will compete in the shot put and the weight throw.

Joining Tausaga are Brianna Guillory (400 meters) and the pair of Tria Simmons and Jenny Kimbro (pentathlon). Simmons and Kimbro placed first and second, respectively, in the event at the Big Tens.

On the men’s side, Mar’Yea Harris and Wayne Lawrence will compete in the 400 in Birmingham, and Jaylan McConico and Chris Douglas will run in the 60-meter hurdles. McConico is this season’s indoor Big Ten champion. Karayme Bartley will round out the Hawkeye individual competitors in the 200.

The reigning Big Ten champion men’s 1,600-meter relay team — Bartley, Antonio Woodard, Lawrence, and Harris — will also compete at the NCAAs.

Both the men’s and women’s teams shot up in the rankings, the men four spots to No. 23, and the women at No. 12, the highest ranking in program history. 

RELATED: Tria Simmons does it all for Hawkeye track

Tausaga sees the movement in the rankings as a testament to the depth of talent on the team.

“Track is perceived to be an individual sport, but when you do well individually, you create a great atmosphere for the team,” she said. “With the whole women’s team coming in and doing what we are supposed to do, we are really trending upwards, and that’s exciting to see.”

The meet will begin for Iowa at 12:15 p.m. today with Simmons and Kimbro in the pentathlon. It will conclude Saturday at 6:55 p.m. with the men’s 4×400-meter relay.

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About the Writer
Robert Read, Sports Reporter

Email: [email protected]

Robert Read is a sports reporter currently covering the men's track and field team at The Daily Iowan. He is a freshman...

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