By JACK ROSSI
DES MOINES, Iowa — The University of Iowa track and field team swept the men’s and women’s shot put competitions for their first white flags of the 109th Drake Relays on Friday.
Iowa’s first white flags came in the field, but the Hawkeyes qualified for finals in nine events on the track.
Junior Reno Tuufuli won his second Drake Relays championship. After winning in the discus last year, Tuufuli took the shot put title with a seasons best mark of 60-feet, 8.5-inches (18.50 meters). Tuufuli is only the third Hawkeye to win the shot put in Drake Relays history (Kemeny, 2004; Gambol, 1987).
Tuufuli competes in the discus throw tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., where he will look to become the first repeat champion in the event since Nicholas Percy from 2016-17 and the first to win the shot put and discus in the same year since 2002 (Russ Bell, Missouri).
Tausaga wrapped up Iowa’s field events with a new school record and Drake Relays title. The Spring Valley, California, native threw a personal best 64-feet, 11.25 inches on her sixth and final throw to steal her first white flag at the Drake Relays.
“It feels very good, amazing,” Tausaga said “I dont’ even know what to say. I wasn’t expecting that on my last throw. I looked up at my coach and he looked at me and I realized that I couldn’t focus on what I was doing wrong and needed to keep going. I went out and tried to get a big strike and it worked.”
Its another first for Tausaga as she becomes the first Hawkeye to win a shot put title at the Drake Relays since the event began in 1977.
Iowa is the third school in Drake Relays history to sweep the shot puts and is the first school since Georgia in 2000.
IN THE RUNNING FOR THE CUP
The Hawkeyes qualified all four relays in the 400-meter relay and 1,600-meter relay on Friday.
The men’s and women’s 400-meter relay both ran the second-fastest times in the prelims with the women’s group of Jahisha Thomas, Kyara Avant, Sheridan Champe, and Brittany Brown running 45.58 and the men’s team of Antonio Woodard, O’Shea Wilson, Collin Hofacker, and Mar’yea Harris posting a time of 40.17.
In the 1,600-meter relay, the men’s group of DeJuan Frye, Austin Lietz, Chris Thompson, and Hofacker led from start to finish, posting a time of 3:08.67. They will look to win back-to-back titles for the first time since 1928-29 tomorrow at 3:48 p.m.
The Iowa women also qualified for the finals. The relay of Tashee Hargrave, Brown, Sarah Plock, and Mallory King ran 3:44.28. The run for the white flags at 3:41 p.m. tomorrow.
The men’s 4×800-meter relay of senior Michael Melchert, sophomore Matt Manternach, sophomore Nolan Teubel, and sophomore Tysen VanDraska finished second in the event and set the fourth-fastest time in school history at 7:28.33.
DOUGLAS’ TOP TIME
Junior Chris Douglas posted the fastest time in the preliminary round of the 110-meter hurdles. Douglas ran 14.03 to lead the pack by .25 seconds.
Douglas competes for Iowa’s second-straight 110-meter title tomorrow at 2:42 p.m.
KIMBRO IS INTO THE FINALS
A week after moving into second in school history in the heptathlon, sophomore Jenny Kimbro ran just off her personal best of 13.63 in the 100-meter hurdles.
Kimbro ran the fifth-fastest time at 13.82 to qualify for Saturday’s final at 2:30 p.m.
AVANT, WILSON, AND WOODARD MAKE FINALS
Freshman Kyara Avant qualified for finals in the 100 meters in her first career Drake Relays. The Indianapolis, Indiana, native ran a personal best 11.80. She runs tomorrow at 2:07 p.m.
The men are sending two athletes to the finals in senior O’Shea Wilson (10.39) and sophomore Antonio Woodard (10.34). Wilson qualified automatically after winning his heat. The duo are set to run at 2:11 p.m.
Iowa’s four relays and nine qualifiers are set to conclude the Drake Relays tomorrow. The first collegiate event, the women’s hammer throw, is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. (CT). The meet will be broadcast on NBCSN from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Beginning at 4 p.m., NBC Sports Gold will be live streaming the Relays.