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Inside the lines: Iowa track competes in Baton Rouge

Unsurprisingly, Laulagua Tausaga was dominant

(Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Yes, I’m back with this.

It’s been (far) too long since we talked about the Iowa track and field team. So let’s do a bit of that right now.

We’re currently in the middle of the outdoor season. So far this year Iowa’s performed fairly well on the track, highlighted by several stars in a couple events.

One of those stars is Laulauga Tausaga, who continues to do things no Hawkeye thrower has ever done before. At last weekend’s Battle of the Bayou, she set two school records — a 196 feet, 4.75 inch discus throw (a mark that ranks fifth in the country) and a shot put toss of 53 feet, 6.25 inches. Her shot toss broke a school record that had stood since 1992 by over three feet.

That’s pretty dang good.

Reno Tuufuli won the discus toss on the men’s side with a mark of 192 feet, 11 inches and finished second in the shot. The Hawkeye throwing program continues to fly in the right direction.

It’s certainly not just in the field. Several of Iowa’s running events didn’t disappoint either.

Mar’yea Harris and Briana Guillory swept the men’s and women’s 400, respectively, with times of 45.71 and 52.55. Harris’ time ranks third and Guillory’s sixth in the country. It certainly seems like they’re peaking at the right time.

“It’s good to know that I can open up with a 45.71,” Harris said to HawkeyeSports. “It’s a big confidence booster knowing I opened with one of my fastest times. This puts me in a really good position to get a good lane at regionals.”

Junior Chris Douglas was also solid in the 400-meter hurdles, notching a win with a time of 50.90. That time ranks 10th in the country.

Janisha Thomas took the women’s long jump with a mark of 21 feet, 1.50 inches. That jump is currently the second-longest mark in the country.

“I am happy,” Thomas said to HawkeyeSports. “This is a great start. To open up with a personal best is exciting. It’s exciting to know what’s to come and what can be better because there is still room to improve. Nothing is perfect, so this is a good foundation to start on.”

If she could be much better... well, that would probably mean a top-three finish at the NCAA championships, which would certainly be something.

Senior Iowa sprinter Brittany Brown finished second in the 200-meters (22.76) and third in the 100-meters (11.44) to continue yet another solid season in the Black and Gold. Mallory King finished second in the 800 with a time of 2:09.09.

Andy Jatis also took first in the pole vault. Both the men’s and women’s teams took third at the meet.

Director of track and field Joey Woody had a bunch to say after the competition:

“Getting Briana (Guillory) back out there in the 400 meters and putting up a great time for where she is at right now in the season is great,” Woody said to HawkeyeSports. “She is ranked really high nationally. She blew the field away and that is a great sign. Brittany Brown had a good meet today, running a good 200 and 100, helping our 4x100 relay. We are trending in the right direction. With Lagi, she is really starting to put things together with two school records going into the last few weeks before we go to the Big Ten Championships.”

”We have some things we have to keep building on, but Reno (Tuufuli) had another great day in the discus. Andy Jatis had a great day today and went close to his PR in the pole vault. On the track, Chris Douglas had a big PR in the 400 meter hurdles and showed that he can be competitive at the national level in the 400 hurdles and 110-hurdles, and Mar’yea (Harris) ran away from the field in the final 100 meters in the 400 meters. I think he has a lot more in the tank.”

Iowa gets its final home meet of the season (and my personal favorite event of the year) when the Musco Twilight meet gets going on April 14. Let’s hope the weather stays nice.