IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa junior Laulauga Tausaga and Director of Track and Field Joey Woody were name Midwest Regional Female Field Athlete of the Year and Men’s Head Coach of the Year, the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced on Friday. Woody is the first Hawkeye coach to earn the honor, and it is Tausaga’s second regional acknowledgment.
Tausaga swept the year’s regional field athlete of the year honors, earning her first and the Hawkeyes’ second recognition following the 2019 indoor season, and the 2019 outdoor season led to her second.
“I’m am very proud of Laulauga and everything she has accomplished so far this season,” Woody said. “To win both indoor and outdoor field athlete of the year in this region is extremely tough and is a tribute to her competitiveness in multiple throwing events. She is very deserving of this honor.”
The 2019 outdoor season was packed full of highlights for the Spring Valley, California, native. Tausaga broke three Iowa records, including shot put (18.02m), discus (62.69m), and hammer (61.34m). She won her third-consecutive Big Ten discus title, earned USTFCCCA Athlete of the Week (April 23), Big Ten Athlete of the Week (April 10, 17, 24), and Big Ten Outdoor Female Field Athlete of the Year. She tallied 18 points at the Big Ten Championships: discus (10), shot put (6), hammer (2), and her 62.69-meter throw at the NCAA West Preliminary was the best of either preliminary round, fast tracking her to NCAA Championships in Austin Texas next Saturday at 5:05 p.m. (CT).
Woody’s recognition comes following an impressive season from the men’s track and field team. The Hawkeyes won their first Big Ten Championship since 2011 with 116 points, 13 points more than second place Indiana (103), leading Woody to Big Ten Coach of the Year. 20 Hawkeyes qualified for the NCAA West Preliminary, and 15 will make the trip to Austin, Texas, including alternates. Six events finished in the top eight of the West regional. Jaylan McConico (110 hurdles, third), the 1,600-meter relay (third), Wayne Lawrence Jr. (400 meters, fifth), Mar’yea Harris (400 meters, eighth), Jay Hunt (high jump, sixth), and the 400-meter relay (sixth).
After such a successful season, the fifth-year head coach credits the team and his staff for the work that they put in daily that earned him the regional honor.
“I am very proud of our team and coaching staff for an amazing season so far,” Woody said, “and I accept this award on behalf of our entire staff. It means a lot to be named Coach of the Year in a conference as prestigious as the Big Ten. Now to follow it up in the competitive Midwest region that includes many successful programs, I’m extremely appreciative of the recognition.”
The Hawkeyes compete at the NCAA Championships on June 5-8 in Austin, Texas. Information including schedule, live results, and video coverage is available on hawkeyesports.com/trackschedule.