|IOWA CITY, Iowa — Freshman thrower Laulauga Tausaga is having a monumental start to her collegiate career and the season has just begun.
Tausaga is only three outdoor competitions into her career and she is already Iowa’s school record holder in the discus throw and one of the top throwers in the country.
Known as Lagi to her teammates and coaches, Tausaga competed during the indoor season in the shot put and discus, placing as high as second in the discus at the Black & Gold Premier with a throw of 46.95m (154 feet), but she has reached a new level during the outdoor season.
On April 1 at the Florida Relays, in her second outdoor competition, Tausaga set the school record in the discus throw with a mark of 56.10m (184 feet, 1 inch), surpassing Majesty Tutson’s record set in 2011 by almost a meter.
“I felt the pressure because I was in the invite section and that is where the good throwers are,” Tausaga said. “Somehow, knowing that they are so much better than me made me less nervous because if I lost, it is expected, and if I won then it’s great.”
Tausaga finished fourth in the field, defeating the four other freshmen in the event and coming up a foot short of third place.
“After we warmed up I thought maybe,” UI throwing coach Andrew Dubs said of reaching the record. “Her training has been much improved and much more consistent the past couple weeks. Going into the meet I was just hoping for any personal best.”
The first throw went 53 feet and some change and the second round was the 56.10m throw,” Dubs said. “I wasn’t too happy with the technique but she got a good pull and it kept going.”
Tausaga ranks first in the Big Ten in the discus throw and seventh nationally. She is the only freshman in the top 15 in the nation.
She did not stop there.
A week later at the Jim Click Shootout, Tausaga backed up her performance with another elite throw and the first discus title in her short career. She threw 54.95m (180 feet, 3 inches) to defeat the second place thrower by three feet. Dubs says there are still better throws to come.
“She has been looking better technically the last few weeks since we got back from spring break, but it is still not where it needs to be and she knows that,” Dubs said. “We’ll get there.”
“We’ve started putting a lot of things together,” Tausaga said. “My goal was to beat the school record and I did that, so now I think I’d like to beat it again, keep going, and get another personal best.”
Tausaga leads the women’s throwers to the Mt. Sac Relays this weekend in Torrance, California. The meet is schedule to run April 13-15.