Iowa track and field sends complete team to 2021 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships

The Hawkeyes qualified for the NCAA Championships — held in Eugene, Oregon, June 9-12 — in 15 events, tying a program record.


Jenna Galligan

Iowa hurdler Jaylan McConico crosses the finish line of the men’s 60m hurdles during the Jimmy Grant Invitational at the University of Iowa Recreation Building on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. McConico’s final time of 7.66 won him the race over teammates Josh Braverman and Will Daniels. (Jenna Galligan/The Daily Iowan)

Chloe Peterson, Summer Sports Editor

This week, the Iowa track and field teams will see the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships for the first time in two years.

After the 2020 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships were canceled because of COVID-19 concerns, the Hawkeyes have been taking it week-by-week in the 2020-21 season.

“I tell our athletes, ‘Every week we get an opportunity to compete, it’s a blessing,’” director of track and field Joey Woody said. “We’re just taking advantage of every opportunity we get to be on the track and compete at a high level.”

The Hawkeyes qualified as a complete team for the NCAA Championships as they are sending 15 events to Eugene, Oregon, to compete from June 9-12. Iowa’s 15 events tie a program record.

The Hawkeye men will compete in eight individual events and two relays, while the women’s team will have five entries as individuals.

“I feel really good about where we’re at right now, I feel like we’re trending in the right direction,” Woody said. “… It’s extremely difficult just to get to the NCAA finals, so to have that big of a group is something that we’re striving for.”

Hawkeye junior Jamal Britt will head to his first-ever NCAA Championships as he placed 10th in the 110-meter hurdles and sixth in the 400-meter hurdles. Britt is the only male athlete at the national championships to compete in both hurdle events.

“My confidence is very high,” Britt said. “I mean, as of right now, there are certain aspects of my events that I am not happy of where I’m at right now, but I know once it’s time to compete, it will all be set in place.”

In the 110-meter hurdles, Britt will be running alongside Iowa fifth-year senior Jaylan McConico, who won the West Regional with a time of 13.41 seconds. 

But when Britt is competing, he won’t worry about McConico’s — or any other competitors — time. Britt said he will stay focused on what he can control. 

“Obviously, I’m a competitor, so I know there’s going to be a lot of fast people, including my teammate Jaylan McConico,” Britt said. “I don’t necessarily focus on it, but I know there are fast people, so I just focus on what I need to do… so I don’t mess myself up.”

McConico, along with fifth-year senior thrower Laulauga Tausaga, are two seniors who came back for a final outdoor season in 2021 after the 2020 season was canceled.

“[McConico and Tausaga] are two exceptional athletes… it’s hard to replace those type of athletes,” Woody said. “So, to be able to have them come back and be a part of our program and what we’re doing, not only at the conference level but also at the NCAA level, is huge. And anytime you have an opportunity to get a national champion back on your team, or All-American on your team, you gotta take it. So, we’re very fortunate, and I think they’re very focused and driven to compete and get on the top of that podium.”

At the NCAA Championships this week, Tausaga will attempt to defend her title as the 2019 NCAA women’s discus champion and become the third Hawkeye in program history to be a repeat champion. She is seeded No. 2 in both the discus and the shot put.

“I’m going to go in and I’m going to fight to the finish,” Tausaga said. “At the very least, I won’t go down without putting up a fight. Everybody wants to win, and obviously that’s what we’re here to do — showcase who can be the best on that day. So I just have to show up and be confident in the fact that I’ve been here before, I’ve won a title before, and be that what it may, I belong there, and I belong on a podium spot somewhere.”

The Hawkeyes will compete at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, June 9-12. The meet will be streamed on Watch ESPN.

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