Tausaga surges to championship season

Hawkeye Laulauga Tausaga capped her outdoor season with a national championship, but her entire season was one for the record books.

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Tausaga surges to championship season

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.

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.

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.

Joseph Cress

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

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Laulauga Tausaga finished her record-breaking junior season for Iowa track and field with consecutive wins in the discus at the Sun Angel Classic, Musco Twilight, Long Beach Invitational, Drake Relays, Big Ten Championships, NCAA West Preliminary, and the NCAA Finals.

It culminated in a national title in the event for her, but the lead-up to her final triumph of the outdoor campaign was equally impressive.

Tausaga’s path to the championship podium started to accelerate in the Sun Angel Classic, in which she increased her school record in the discus for the first of four times during the season.

Tausaga also won the hammer throw while competing in Tempe, Arizona, en route to winning her first of three-consecutive Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week honors.

In a follow-up performance at the 20th Musco Twilight, she went three-for-three with victories in the discus, shot put, and hammer throw in front of the home crowd.

Tausaga’s season took the next step in a trip to California. Splitting time between the Mount SAC Relays and the Long Beach Invitational, she set school records in all three throwing events.

She was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association National Athlete of the Week after the trio of broken records. She became the first Hawkeye to earn the honor during the outdoor season after previously earning it during the indoor season.

Her dominant performances in California were a big hint that she could make history during the rest of the season.

In her final preparation for the Big Ten outdoor meet, Tausaga won her second-career flag at the Drake Relays.

Iowa’s entire season had built up to hosting the Big Ten OutdoorChampionships. Tausaga did not let the moment get the best of her —she won her third-career Big Ten Championship.

She set a facility record in the discus to bring home the conferencetitle and put up 18 points to propel the Iowa women to a third in theconference. That finish tied for the program’s best in history.

After her performance, she was named Big Ten Field Athlete of the Big Ten Championships, and she later earned Big Ten Outdoor Female Field Athlete of the Year.

Recognition keep pouring in; she earned Midwest Regional Field Athlete of the Year, meaning she swept the regional awards for the year. She previously had won the honor following the indoor season.

RELATED: Tausaga wins NCAA discus title

The plethora of accolades and awards did not get to Tausaga’s head,though. She clinched a trip to the NCAA outdoor meet after putting upa mark in the discus that led the NCAA West Preliminary.

At that point, one meet stood between Tausaga and a national championship, and she repeated what she has done throughout her time in the Black and Gold: She won.

She launched a personal best throw of 63.26 meters to take the national title, topping second-place Shancie Love of Florida State. The Seminole had beaten Tausaga for first at the Florida Relays earlier in the season.

Tausaga is the first Iowa woman to win an outdoor national championship in 34 years and the fourth in program history. She is the first Hawkeye to win a national championship in a throwing event, and her championship mark is good for the 10th-best performance in NCAA history.

In a junior season in which she accomplished almost everything imaginable, Tausaga has a tough task if she wants to out-do herself in her senior season. But after this season, if anything is for certain, it’s that people shouldn’t bet against Tausaga.

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