IOWA CITY, Iowa – University of Iowa junior Tia Saunders is a native of Iowa City, Iowa, and competes in the 400, 600, and 800 meters, and the sprint and distance medley relays.
During her sophomore season, Saunders set a career best in the 800 meters (2:09.51) at the Florida Relays. She also ran in the team-leading relays as the anchor of the sprint medley relay (4:00.57) and the lead leg of distance medley relay (12:03.04).
In 2017, she ran her fastest 600 meters in 1:33.70 at the Musco Twilight.
Saunders is a pre-health and human physiology major that has been on the Dean’s List and Big Ten All-Academic team.
What is your favorite memory as a Hawkeye?
“Placing third at the Big Ten Championships. It was the highest place in program history, and we have so much talent. Looking forward, I think our team is in a great position to challenge for the title, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
What is your best advice for the freshmen?
“Respect the process. Coming into your freshman year can be a really big change, whether it’s adjusting to the number of hours we put in or learning how to manage your diet without supervision. Sometimes your goals take a little more time to reach, but that doesn’t mean your time won’t come. If you work hard every day and do all the small things, you can compete beyond expectations.”
What made you choose to come to Iowa?
My coach, Jason Wakenight. I really liked that he recognized my individual strengths and weaknesses before I even committed, and he already had a plan to make me the best I could be. He knows that we’re individuals and tailors workouts to match the runner. He always has a positive outlook and believes and expects the best from us.”
If you could invite anyone to dinner, who would it be?
“Probably Ryan Reynolds. He’s cute, has a great sense of humor, and has money, so I’ll be eating good.”
Who has been the most influential to you at Iowa?
“Laulauga Tausaga. Ever since she’s been on this team, Lagi has been a top performer, and she always steps up to the challenge. This past season, she won the Big Ten discus on her final throw, beating the girl who threw right before her. She’s a great person to be around, a hard worker, and humble despite her many records and medals. She almost always has a smile on her face.”
If not track and field, what sport would you play?
“Soccer. I used to play in high school, and I really love the sport. Sometimes it can be nice to run with something at your feet.”
Do you have any pre-meet rituals?
“I always listen to music before I run. It helps me calm my nerves and get focused on my race.”
When you’re not practicing, what is your favorite thing to do?
“I like to sleep, watch Netflix, and spend time with friends, family, and my puppy.”
What’s your favorite cheesy pick-up line and have you ever used it in real life?
“‘I’d say God bless you but looks like he already did.’ If this one doesn’t work, they’re not worth the time.”
If you could choose a super power, what would you choose?
“I would want to be able to shape-shift. It would be really useful to get out of awkward situations, and I could even pretend to be Coach and change the workout.”
How do you feel about pineapple on pizza?
“No. Absolutely not.”
What is your favorite meal?
“Probably mac and cheese. I know it’s really basic, but I can never say no. Liquid gold, right?”