The Iowan Daily | Hawkeye to remember: Laulauga Tausaga nears end of record breaking career with Iowa track and field


Eighteen days after the rest of the 2020 season was abruptly canceled, Tausaga and other track athletes across the country have received positive news.

The NCAA granted all spring sports athletes an additional season of eligibility (Iowa pitcher Allison Wahrman petitioned for this cause, which received over 330,000 digital signatures), meaning Tausaga had one last season outdoors with the Hawkeyes.

But while her career in Iowa had been extended, she was still on hiatus.

Tausaga and his teammates were denied access to the team’s facilities after the season closed due to the pandemic, which led Tausaga to head to the local high school tracks for training. But eventually, Tausaga returned to her original state.

When competing, Tausaga, described by her coaches as a perfectionist, knows she can’t throw a personal best every time she steps in the ring. But that doesn’t mean she accepts it.

A scowl or look of disappointment might appear on Tausaga’s face after a seemingly good attempt in a training environment. Tausaga expects more from herself, Woody said, than anyone else – and that means something.

“Sometimes she’ll be a little fit, jumping and screaming, but [Werskey] will be like, ‘OK, that looked good to me,’ said Britt, one of Tausaga’s best friends on the team, who is also back for her final season with the Hawkeyes in 2021.

This competitiveness is one attribute that explains why Tausaga is among the elite athletes in college sports, his coaches said. But with testing postponed and his return date to the track uncertain, Tausaga had to adjust his mindset.

“I had to take a step back and find who I was without a track to make sure I could come back and ready for the track,” Tausaga said. “It gnawed at me a bit too much. I had to mentally pull myself away a bit, get back together while doing some physical things, but trying to get out of that ‘We have to go, we have to go’ mindset. “There is nothing wrong with sitting still for a minute. “

The communications manager was back at her family’s home in San Diego for about a month, which Tausaga says is a first since she went to college.

There, Tausaga rediscovered his love of cooking.

“I’m very picky in the kitchen,” Tausaga said. “I love to cook. If someone cuts the onions the wrong way, I’m like, ‘You gotta get out of the kitchen now’. I’m gonna do it all, I don’t care if I have to cook for a million people , I prefer to do it. I don’t want anyone touching the food.

Despite rejecting any extra pair of hands when she’s in the kitchen, Tausaga would gladly offer to help someone else.

Tausaga describes herself as an introvert, but a helper. She doesn’t think she’s giving helpful advice, but that she could listen to someone’s problems all day. When one of her teammates needs help moving a couch she never should have bought from her apartment, Tausaga will help her move it – perhaps by rolling her eyes.

After graduating this spring, Tausaga will pursue a professional athletic career, while also exploring graduate programs. If those career paths don’t work, Tausaga’s teammates and coaches seem to think stand-up comedy would be a realistic career path.

“She’s one of the nicest people and probably one of the funniest people I’ve ever known,” said Woody. “She always makes jokes.”

“It’s just her,” Britt added. “It’s not like a ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’ She is naturally funny. She makes everyone laugh. Literally she could just talk and we laugh. It is also natural for her.

Tausaga buried his head in the palms of his hands upon hearing these comments.

But she didn’t necessarily disagree.

“I don’t know what comes out of my mouth sometimes,” Tausaga said. “But somehow it makes people laugh and I’m just standing there like, ‘What are you doing?’ When people are very pleasant to be around, you want to see them smile. I guess I’m doing this for them.

Assuming that a last-second turn to a career in comedy doesn’t materialize, Tausaga describes herself as a school counselor or social worker in the future.

And there is a reason for this.

As Tausaga was successful on the track in high school, she said she found it hard to care in class. She hated that feeling. And I needed help to escape it.

Maria Garcia is the director of the counseling department at Mount Miguel High School, a place she has been in for 16 years.

Becoming a counselor was a call for Garcia. She had been influenced by educators who had changed the trajectory of her life, making sure she went to college and graduated. Garcia noticed Tausaga immediately during his freshman year of high school.

“She has a very lively personality and I saw her from the start when I met her when she was a freshman,” Garcia said. “He’s someone who stood out to me as someone who had this contagious personality. In a room, she stands out. You see her in her competitive sport and she is a beast. She is focused, motivated. But there is her whole other side to her. She has a big heart. It’s a teddy bear and super comical. She always made me laugh. You want to be with her.

Tausaga remembers walking into Garcia’s office one day to find that a university was interested in her. The programs saw what Tausaga was doing on the track. But Garcia stressed that academics are going to be just as crucial as Tausaga’s athletic performance.

“It took an adult, and I’m just one of them, who built a good relationship with her to really see her and let her know that I believe in you more than you see by yourself- same, ”Garcia said.

At the end of Tausaga’s junior year, things started to rattle. Garcia helped Tausaga prepare for her ACT and arranged for her to return to classes in which she had not performed well in previous years. Garcia held Tausaga responsible.

Tausaga is grateful for Garcia’s impact on her life. She still visits her former advisor on her return trips to California. Hearing that Tausaga is interested in becoming a school counselor – helping people in general – and knowing that she is one of the reasons is why Garcia is part of her job.

Part of the reason Tausaga works the way she does is that she always tries to take advantage of the opportunities that people like Garcia have given her. Graduation in May will accomplish one goal.

Another will have to wait until June.


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