By JACK ROSSI
Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Leading the University of Iowa track and field team’s men’s throwing group are two of the country’s best who are set to compete in their final season together.
Senior Avery Meyers and sophomore Reno Tuufuli, who stand 6-foot-3, 285 pounds and 6-4, roughly 300 pounds, respectively, are Iowa’s premier throwers, who both excel at the other’s weakness.
“They balance each other perfectly,” said UI throwing coach Andrew Dubs. “It’s the ying and the yang. You have Avery, who is arguably the strongest man on campus, and is a good technician and Reno, who is very explosive. You take Reno’s speed and Avery’s power and technique… they mesh so well.”
Each athlete has been able to teach the other. Meyers teaches patience and technique, while Tuufuli teaches speed and explosiveness.
“The big thing I have taught him is patience,” Meyers said. “He is as strong as a bull and can move like the wind, but if you don’t hit proper positions and ride them out then you will put yourself in a bad position.”
“If I team him anything, I teach him about feeling and competition,” Tuufuli said. “He knows all about the technique, but it is about going out there and competing and showing up to the competition.”
The duo has formed a lethal tandem in their time together as Hawkeyes. It did not take long to display that in 2017. Meyers set a personal-best in the discus throw at last weekend’s Baldy Castillo Invitational in Tempe, Arizona, with a throw of 54.19-meters and Tuufuli’s 59.04-meter toss won the competition and is ranked first in the nation.
“I am sure I will be No. 1 in the country for a little bit but as people start opening up, I will have to go back out and reclaim it,” Tuufuli said. “I have to focus on silencing the outside pressure. This past weekend was a great opener.”
Tuufuli is coming off one of the most successful freshman seasons in Iowa history. The Las Vegas, Nevada, native qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the discus in 2016 and had the rare opportunity to become an NCAA champion as a freshman.
“I thought if he hit a PR then he could win and be an NCAA champion as a freshman,” Dubs said. “It didn’t go well when we got to the meet. I remember after the meet, we watched the final, the meet ended and I turned to him and said ‘Reno’ and he said. ‘Coach, I got you’ and that is all that needed to be said.”
Tuufuli is looking for a return trip to NCAAs as the two have big goals heading into the outdoor season.
“Our goal is to win the Big Ten championship and that is going to take a well-rounded effort from the throws because we can score big points,” Meyers said. “Moving onto NCAA prelims, hopefully we have a good day there and keep going.”
The Hawkeyes return to action next weekend, splitting up for the Florida Relays and Stanford Invitational.