Hawkeye track records fall in trip to California

Five school records were broken during a trio of California meets, including three by Laulauga Tausaga.


Joseph Cress

Iowa's Laulauga Tausaga watches her throw during the 18th annual Musco Twilight at Francis X. Cretzmeyer Track on Saturday, April 22, 2017. Iowa's men and women's track and field finished first overall in the Musco Twilight with a 237.5 and 203 respectively.

Robert Read, Sports Reporter

The Iowa track and field record book needs some rewriting after three meets in California that will go down in history. Five school records were broken by three athletes who were competing at the Bryan Clay Invitational, Mt. Sac Relays, and 25th Annual Beach Invitational.

Leading the way was junior thrower Laulauga Tausaga, who now holds the record for all three women’s throwing events.

Tausaga kicked off the weekend of competition by adding the hammer throw record to her collection. She put up a mark of 61.34 meters, good enough to win the open section.

On her last day of competition, Tausaga made sure the weekend would not soon be forgotten, and extended her Iowa-best marks in both the discus and the shot put.

In the discus, Tausaga bettered the school record she set two weeks ago with new mark of 62.28 meters. That distance was also good enough to win the Beach Invitational by nearly half a meter.

To claim her third school record of the weekend, Tausaga launched a throw of 18.02 meters in the shot put. That mark eclipsed Tausaga’s prior record, which was set at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Tausaga tied for first in the event with UCLA’s Alyssa Wilson.

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.

Just competing in both the discus and the shot put in the same day is taxing, let alone breaking a record in both.

“Competing in both disc and shot in the same day is difficult,” Tausaga said in a release. “You start the day off early and have to sit at a track meet and re-warm up for the other event that’s way later in the day. It’s difficult to get the adrenaline pumping and focus from a previous event. Your body has used it already and you have to trick yourself into feeling fresh, so you can at least produce something rewarding. I was able to get into that mindset and leave one out on the field.”

Getting in the right mindset for the shot put boded well for Tausaga. After struggling – by her standards – in the event this season, Tausaga was relieved to see a top mark.

“It means so much, and it opened my eyes to what can be done,” Tausaga said in a release. “I’ve had the toughest shot season so far, and I came out and hit a huge one and I couldn’t hold back the tears.”

Tausaga’s weekend may have been the highlight for Iowa track, but it should not overshadow the other two athletes who also set school records in California.

At the Mt. Sac Relays, junior Nathan Mylenek broke Iowa’s oldest track record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The 63-year-old record was previously set in 1956 by Deacon Jones, who ran a time of 8:47.40.

Jenna Galligan
Iowa distance runner Nathan Mylenek leads the pack of the 1500m run at the Musco Twilight Invitational at the Cretzmeyer Track on Saturday, April 13, 2019. Mylenek won the race with a time 3:52:06. The Hawkeyes won 10 events during the meet. The Iowa women ranked first with 183 points, and the men ranked fifth 76 points.

Mylenek cruised past the record by nearly 10 seconds (8:38.53) to finish second in the event.

“We finished the night breaking the oldest school record we have in the steeplechase by Nate Mylenek,” Hawkeye Director of Track and Field Joey Woody said in a release. “It was a great day for Iowa track and field.”

Jenny Kimbro rounded out the record-breaking performers for Iowa, putting up 5,679 points in the heptathlon to set the new standard for the Iowa women.

Kimbro put up career-best marks in the 100-meter hurdles (13.30), 200 meters (24.31), and 800 meters (2:14.04) on her way to breaking the record.

Iowa’s next opportunity to rewrite the record books comes at the Drake Relays, where it will compete April 25-27.

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