By JACK ROSSI
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — In a matter of minutes the University of Iowa track and field team captured two Big Ten titles and a school record as the Hawkeyes finished the second day of the Big Ten Outdoor Championships.
Iowa also qualified eight athletes for Sunday’s finals, joining the seven athletes who qualified during the first day of competition.
After day two, the Hawkeye women are tied for fourth with 34 points and the men are 10th with 14 points.
First it was sophomore Laulauga Tausaga who secured her second career Big Ten title. Tausaga won the shot put with a best throw of 55-feet, 1.5-inches, which broke her previous record set at LSU on April 7. She becomes Iowa’s second Big Ten Champion in the event, joining Lisa Van Steenwyk, who won in 1993.
“I was feeling confident but I didn’t think I was going to get first place,” Tausaga said. “Coach told me that I have to stop thinking about myself as a discus thrower and understand that I can be a multiple event winner. That really changed the whole game for me.”
But it was sophomore Nia Britt who even surprised Tausaga with two big personal bests in the shot put. Britt finished fourth in the competition, but her 54-foot, 2.5-inch throw puts her second in school history behind Tausaga.
“We knew it was in her,” Tausaga said. “It made me cry, I’m not going to lie. That was the happiest moment of my day today. She finally stepped up and saw what we were all trying to let her know.”
Minutes later, senior Jahisha Thomas clinched her first outdoor long jump championship. Thomas set a personal best in her first attempt at 21-feet, 6-inches and, with a big lead, passed her final three attempts.
Thomas is Iowa’s second Big Ten long jump champion, joining Aisha James, who won a title in 2003. Thomas looks to become the third person in Big Ten history to sweep the indoor and outdoor long jump and triple jump when she opens the third day of competition at 10 a.m. (CT).
“I knew that the field was going to be fantastic and there were going to be people that weren’t there indoors that were going to be there outdoor,” Thomas said. “I knew that I had to bring everything I had. I am blessed and thankful that it happened to be on the first jump. We tried to be smart and strategic for tomorrow. I am so happy. No words can describe it.”
The Hawkeyes had five athletes’ score in four events on Saturday, including two first time point scorers.
Sophomores Gillian Urycki and Aubrianna Lantrip recorded personal bests in the high jump on their way to becoming point scorers for the first time in their career. The duo cleared 5-feet, 9.25-inches to place sixth and seventh in the event and earn five total points.
Sophomore Nate Mylenek ended the day with six points in the 3,000-meter steeplechase as he finished third overall. Mylenek’s time of 8:49.49 is a second off his personal best and two seconds off the school record held by Deacon Jones since 1956.
Senior O’Shea Wilson finished fifth in the men’s long jump to score four points for the Hawkeyes. Wilson recorded a best jump of 24-feet, 5-inches on his sixth and final jump.
Junior Reno Tuufuli notched a 61-foot, 11.5-inch throw in the shot put to earn three points. Tuufuli will also compete in the men’s discus at 10 a.m. tomorrow.
The Hawkeyes had three athletes – Jenny Kimbro, Daniel Gaynes, and Will Dougherty — complete the Big Ten decathlon and heptathlon on Saturday.
Kimbro earned a team point in the heptathlon with an eighth place finish tallying 4,982 points despite fouling out in the javelin.
Despite scoring zero points in two events, Dougherty still won the discus and javelin throw with lifetime best throw. His javelin throw broke his previous best by 15 feet at 189-feet, 1-inch and his discus throw was an improvement by eight feet. He finished 10th overall with 5,434 points.
Gaynes placed ninth with his highest finish of the day coming in the 1,500 meters where he ran a personal best 5:03.03. Gaynes totaled 6,452 points.
Eight more athletes in five different events join the seven Friday qualifiers in Sunday’s final day. They include:
100 Meters – Sunday; 12:50 p.m.
Brittany Brown – 11.55
400 Meters – Sunday; women at 12:40 p.m.; men at 12:45 p.m.
Briana Guillory – 52.20
Mar’yea Harris – 45.80
Collin Hofacker – 46.64
DeJuan Frye – 46.80
100-Meter Hurdles – 12:25 p.m.
Jenny Kimbro – 13.56, personal best
110-Meter Hurdles – 12:35 p.m.
Chris Douglas – 13.89, personal best
800 meters – Sunday; 1:03 p.m.
Mallory King – 2:08.45, personal best
The Hawkeyes conclude the 2018 Big Ten Outdoor Championships with individual and relay finals tomorrow beginning at 10 a.m. (CT). Watch the conclusion of the event on BTN Plus or FloTrack. Follow live results through hawkeyesports.com/tracklive.