The 2018-19 Iowa sports season has drawn to a close, but it ended with a bang, thanks to the Iowa track and field program. First the men won a Big Ten championship in May, their first since 2011 and the first men's conference championship for Iowa since Iowa wrestling shared a conference title in 2015. And last weekend Iowa track and field claimed an even bigger prize: a national championship.
Junior Laulauga Tausaga won a national title in discus at the NCAA Championships in Austin, TX, this weekend:
Congratulations Laulaga Tausaga!— NCAA Track & Field (@NCAATrackField) June 9, 2019
NCAA Women's Discus Champion! pic.twitter.com/T0WhRuzqdF
BOOM. THE CHAMP IS HERE. And the discus is very, very, very far from here. Tausaga threw 63.26 meters (207 feet, six inches) on her second throw of the event. No one else at the NCAA Tournament could match that effort. Not only did Tausaga win a national championship with that throw (with ease -- second place, Florida State's Shanice Love was over two feet behind Tausaga's throw, at 205 feet, eight inches), but she also set an Iowa school record. That championship-winning throw was also the 10th-best throw in NCAA history.
Tausaga's championship is the first win for Iowa in a women's track and field event since 2006 and first win in an outdoor track and field win since Nan Doak won the 10,000 meters in 1985. She's the fourth woman in Iowa history to win an NCAA title, as well as the first Hawkeye athlete to ever win a national championship in a throwing event. She also became Iowa's 14th ever track and field national champion. Tausaga was also named Big Ten Women's Field Athlete of the Year earlier this week:
You can (and should!) read more about Tausaga's phenomenal journey to a national championship here.
Elsewhere at the NCAA Championships, Iowa's men's 4x400 team shattered the school record in that event, finishing in 3:00.14. The previous school record was 3:01.91, set in 2017. Iowa's time would have been good enough to win a national championship in this event in 50 of the previous 55 seasons. Unfortunately this was a year for absolutely blazing 4x400 times. Texas A&M won the national title with a time of 2:59.05, with Florida finishing second at 2:59.60. Houston was third with a time of 3:00.07.
In individual competition of note, Mar'yea Harris missed out on making the 400-meter finals by just 0.04 seconds, sadly. Nathan Mylenk also finished 9th in the 3000-meter steeplechase, earning second-team All-America honors.
Congrats to all of Iowa's standout performers at the NCAA Track and Field Championships, and especially Tausaga for bringing some national champion gold back to Iowa City. Fantastic job, Laulauga!