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Editor’s note: This is 16th in a series counting down the Top 50 moments in Iowa Hawkeyes women’s athletics history in the 50 days leading up to the 50th anniversary of Title IX in June.
Going into the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Austin, Texas, Laulauga Tausaga remembers it being “unbelievably hot.”
“I was just freaking out because I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, how am I supposed to compete in this heat?’” Tausaga told The Gazette.
It didn’t bother her too much considering she left the Lone Star State with an NCAA discus title — a first for the Hawkeyes.
Tausaga vividly remembers the feeling she had as she hurled the winning throw, which went 63.26 meters.
“I was very excited because, as soon as it came out, it just felt good,” Tausaga said. “I knew it was going to be close to a PR, or even a PR. I just didn't realize it would be that far.”
She had trouble seeing the board that showed everyone’s scores, but she didn’t need to see when she could hear.
“The thing that let me know that I had done something great was hearing my coach in the stands,” Tausaga said. “Keep in mind, there’s other events going on. I actually heard him screaming.”
That was her second attempt, which made for a nerve-racking next four rounds.
“Every round, I didn’t improve, and women were,” Tausaga said. “My heart was beating fast. I was sick to the stomach because I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, are they going to surpass me?’”
But by the time she attempted her last throw, she knew she was an NCAA champion.
“I went in there with this giddy feeling of, ‘Oh my goodness, I'm an NCAA champion,’” Tausaga said. “ I threw a terrible throw in my sixth round, but I just came out smiling. I was cheesing so hard. … I was on Cloud Nine.”
The same coach who was “screaming, hooting and hollering” after her second throw was even more excited when she was officially an NCAA champion.
“It was really fun in that moment to see him act out of character,” Tausaga said. “I think he was more excited than I was.”
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