Iowa director of track and field Joey Woody remembers his high school coach and volunteer assistant John Raffensperger, who passed away recently. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central
Laulauga Tausaga put an emphatic stamp on what’s been a memorable junior season.
The Iowa track-and-field star secured the women’s discus title Saturday afternoon at the NCAA Outdoor Championships on the University of Texas campus. The win marks the Hawkeyes’ first NCAA title on the women’s side since 2006.
Tausaga won with a personal best throw of 63.26 meters (207 feet, 6 inches). She won with plenty of wiggle room over Florida State’s Shanice Love (205-8) and Colorado State’s Shadae Lawrence (197-11).
It was clear early that Tausaga was on her game. She launched her winning throw on the second attempt and watched as everyone played catch-up. No one could compete.
“All right! All right!” Tausaga yelled with each forceful heave.
Tausaga entered the weekend with the second furthest mark among the competitors. The Iowa standout had a 62.69-meter throw (205 feet, 8 inches) earlier this season. Only Lawrence’s personal best of 65.05 meters (213 feet, 5 inches) was better.
But this was Tausaga’s day. Soaking in the moment afterward, Tausaga bent down and put her hands in her face as jubilation tears streamed down. She had hoped for this all season.
It became reality Saturday.
"I'm going to go give my family and my coach a really big hug — cry a little bit — and maybe get some ice cream," Tausaga told reporters afterward.
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.