February 2019

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29 J anuary was a big month for Hawkeye juniors Laulauga Tausaga, Nia Britt, and Erika Hammond. e trio recorded the three best marks that the women's track and field program has seen in the shot put. Tausaga set the indoor school record at the 2018 Larry Wieczorek Invitational with a throw of 15.87 meters (52 feet, 1 inch), breaking the previous record (15.54 meters, 51-0) that Gail Smith held since 1985. Exactly one year later, Tausaga, Britt, and Hammond topped Smith's mark at the 2019 Larry Wieczorek Invitational. Tausaga threw 17.34 meters (54- 9 1/2), Britt threw 16.19 meters (53-1 1/2), and Hammond threw 15.63 meters (51-3 1/2). "When we came in as freshmen, it was our goal to be top three (on Iowa's all-time leader board) no matter what," Hammond said. "Now that we're achieving that, it's great. It's nice to have the support of your teammates. It helps push us in practice and when we're competing." To these three, it has been great to keep setting personal bests, but even more is that they are achieving goals together. As much as track and field focuses on an individual, the Iowa throwers rely on support and competition of their teammates to improve. "All I can say is it's about time with the way that we've been training," Tausaga added. "It pushes you in practice." Tausaga has been leading the group for more than a year, but she does not count her teammates out once they arrive on meet day. "If I'm not having a good day, I hope that the others have a good day," Tausaga said. "We keep pushing each other because the order can change and I hope it does. I hope someone else breaks the school record. It will only push me hard to keep getting better and breaking it." rows coach Eric Werskey came to Iowa following Tausaga, Britt, and Hammond's freshman year. At the time, Hammond was the highest-ranked of the three with Iowa's fih-best mark (14.84 meters, 48-8 1/4). Tausaga was ranked sixth (14.76 meters, 48-5 1/4). "I knew coming to Iowa that we had a special team on the women's side," Werskey said. "ey were young, just figuring things out. It has been a work in progress, but they work hard every day, they feed off each other, and they've bought in. When those three things come together, it can be special, and I think that they are scratching the surface of their potential." ough Tausaga, Britt, Hammond, and Werskey are proud of the accomplishments the group has made the past two years, they all agree that this is just the beginning. "ere is always more, and they know that," Werskey said. "ey see that there is a little bit more to be done. We talk weekly about the performances within the team and on the conference and national level. ey find a lot of motivation in that, because they see what is possible and try to push each other." e three Iowa student-athletes rank in the top 30 in the country in the shot put with three weekends le in the indoor regular season before the Big Ten Championships on Feb. 22-23 and NCAA Indoor Championships at the beginning of March. FEBRUARY SCHEDULE Feb. 1-2 Frank Sevigne Invitational (Lincoln, Neb.) Feb. 2 Meyo Invitational (South Bend, Ind.) Feb. 8-9 Iowa State Classic (Ames, Iowa) Feb. 8-9 Tyson Invitational (Fayetteville, Ark.) Feb. 16 Alex Wilson Invitational (South Bend, Ind.) Feb. 22-23 Big Ten Championships (Ann Arbor, Mich.)

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