Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio State Earn Big Ten Women’s Indoor Track & Field Postseason Honors

Buckeyes’ Anavia Battle named Track Athlete of the Year, Hawkeyes’ Laulauga Tausaga selected as Field Athlete of the Year and Golden Gophers’ Janielle Josephs chosen as Freshman of the Year

 

ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference announced the 2019-20 Big Ten Women’s Indoor Track and Field postseason award recipients on Tuesday. Ohio State junior Anavia Battle was named Track Athlete of the Year, while Iowa senior Laulauga Tausaga was selected as the Field Athlete of the Year, and Minnesota’s Janielle Josephs was named Freshman of the Year. All three were chosen following a vote from the conference’s 13 head coaches.

Back in March, Battle and Tausaga were also named Big Ten Track Athlete and Big Ten Field Athlete of the Championships, respectively, marking the fourth time in the past six years the same two students have swept both honors. In 2015, Michigan State’s Leah O’Connor joined Wisconsin’s Kelsey Card as double winners, while in 2017, Ohio State’s Sade Olatoye and Purdue’s Devynne Charlton received both awards. Last year, Wisconsin’s Alicia Monson paired with Olatoye in earning both honors.

Battle is the second Ohio State student to earn Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year honors, following Christina Manning’s back-to-back awards in 2011 and 2012. In addition, OSU’s Donica Merriman claimed the combined Big Ten Athlete of the Year award in 2000 and 2001 before the award was divided into separate track and field categories in 2007. Originally from Inkster, Mich., Battle captured titles in the 60 meters (:7.29) and 200 meters (:22.79) at the Big Ten Championships on Feb. 28-29 on the way to becoming the fifth OSU student chosen as Big Ten Track Athlete of the Championships since the award was first presented in 1988. She also clocked the nation’s second-fastest 200-meter time this season (:22.66) at the Clemson Tiger Paw Invitational on Feb. 14.

Tausaga becomes the first Iowa student to be named the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year, following Kineke Alexander’s selection as the first Hawkeye chosen as Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year in 2007. A native of Spring Valley, Calif., Tausaga won the weight throw (season-high 22.21 meters/72-10.5) and took second place in the shot put (17.37m/57-0) at the Big Ten Championships, setting a SPIRE Institute record and ranking ninth nationally in the weight throw. She was subsequently selected as the Field Athlete of the Championships, becoming the second Iowa student in three years to receive that honor after Jahisha Thomas’ 2018 accolade. Back on Feb. 7, Tausaga also posted the nation’s second-best distance in the shot put (17.96m/58-11.25) at Notre Dame’s Meyo Invitational.

Josephs is the third Minnesota student chosen as Big Ten Freshman of the Year, joining Liz Roehrig (2005) and Heather Dorniden (2006). The Kingston, Jamaica, resident placed third in the 400 meters (:53.81) and ran the anchor leg on the Golden Gophers’ 4×400-meter relay that finished sixth (3:39.98) at the Big Ten Championships.

In March, the Big Ten announced the award recipients for Track Athlete of the Championships, Field Athlete of the Championships and Coach of the Year, as well as the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honorees. These individual award recipients are listed below along with Tuesday’s selections.

Track Athlete of the Year

Anavia Battle, Jr., Ohio State

Field Athlete of the Year

Laulauga Tausaga, Sr., Iowa

Freshman of the Year

Janielle Josephs, Minnesota

Track Athlete of the Championships

Anavia Battle, Jr., Ohio State

Field Athlete of the Championships

Laulauga Tausaga, Sr., Iowa


Coach of the Year

Karen Dennis, Ohio State (unanimous)

Sportsmanship Honorees

Rebecca Craddock, Illinois

Joely Pinkston, Indiana

Elyse Prescott, Iowa

Xahria Santiago, Maryland

Brianna Nelson, Michigan

Jeralyn Poe, Michigan State

Tate Sweeney, Minnesota

Elsa Forsberg, Nebraska

Alexus Pyles, Ohio State

Kiara Lester, Penn State

Ella Robinson, Purdue

Courtney Campbell, Rutgers

Jordan Hirsbrunner, Wisconsin