Iowa track and field hits the road for weekend meets

Track athletes are looking to better their marks this weekend in the hopes of qualifying for the Big Ten and NCAA Championships.

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Iowa track and field hits the road for weekend meets

Iowa hurdler Jaylan McConico competes in the 60m hurdle premier during the fourth annual Larry Wieczorek Invitational at the University of Iowa Recreation Building on Saturday, Jan 18, 2020.

Iowa hurdler Jaylan McConico competes in the 60m hurdle premier during the fourth annual Larry Wieczorek Invitational at the University of Iowa Recreation Building on Saturday, Jan 18, 2020.

Jenna Galligan

Iowa hurdler Jaylan McConico competes in the 60m hurdle premier during the fourth annual Larry Wieczorek Invitational at the University of Iowa Recreation Building on Saturday, Jan 18, 2020.

Jenna Galligan

Jenna Galligan

Iowa hurdler Jaylan McConico competes in the 60m hurdle premier during the fourth annual Larry Wieczorek Invitational at the University of Iowa Recreation Building on Saturday, Jan 18, 2020.

Lucy Liautaud, Sports Reporter

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There’s never any down time for Iowa track and field.

The Hawkeyes are splitting up again as the athletes compete today and tomorrow at Texas Tech Shootout, Iowa State Classic, and the Tyson Invitational.

Between now and two weeks down the line, the Hawkeyes are each focused on recording marks that qualify them for the Big Ten Indoor Championships.

“It’s going to be a battle,” Iowa’s Director of Track and Field Joey Woody said. “These next couple of weeks are really critical. I think we’ve got some great opportunities this weekend to put up some big national qualifying marks at all three meets.”

Despite the mounting pressure Big Ten track programs are faced with in the coming weeks, Woody is happy with the progress his athletes have made this season.

“I think that we made some big moves just from where we look at paper points,” Woody said. “Both the men and women moved up quite a bit in the Big Ten after last weekend.”

Most of the Hawkeyes who posted wins either at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational or the Meyo Invitational are set to compete this weekend.

One of those is senior multi-event athlete Jenny Kimbro, who will be running in both the women’s 4×400-meter relay and a hurdles event at the Tyson Invite.

“I’m excited about this weekend,” Kimbro said. “Arkansas is always a really fun meet, and we usually get a lot of good performances there. Plus, traveling with the team is always fun.”

RELATED: Success goes beyond winning meets for Iowa track

Senior hurdler Jaylan McConico is another Hawkeye competing this weekend with a successful rhythm going.

McConico has won four consecutive 60-meter hurdles events this season, with his mark (7.67) on Feb. 8 coming in nearly identical to his national-qualifying mark (7.66) that still ranks third in the country.

“I’m feeling pretty good with everything,” McConico said. “I’m staying consistent in the hurdles, which is a good sign. I’ll just go out there, compete, and focus on winning the race. Times will come.”

Senior thrower Laulauga Tausaga also wants to keep improving off of her success by winning her events at Texas Tech.

Tausaga, maybe the best thrower in the country, will face off against some of the strongest competition in the country.

“This meet, especially for the weigh throw, some of the best in the country are there, so I’m expecting myself to run with the pack,” Tausaga said. “I expect myself to be just as elite as them, but I don’t have a specific goal in mind.”

Tausaga broke the school record in the shot put (17.96) the last time she competed at the Meyo Invite Feb. 8.

It’s an event that she was focused on improving coming into the season. The senior has definitely done that so far this indoor campaign, but Tausaga, as always, is still focused on getting better.

“I just want people to know that I’m not the [thrower] I was in the 2019 season,” Tausaga said. “I have the ability now to get the ball rolling and keep it rolling instead of having big highs and lows.”

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