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Vote for Iowa’s female athlete of the year
ANSWER: From All-Americans to dominant performances on the nation’s largest stages, Iowa’s sports season was filled with high moments from top performers. In fact, it was difficult to trim the field to six candidates for this category. In any other year, a few of these candidates would coast to the title of best female athlete.
Please vote among the six finalists. Land of 10 will unveil the winner on June 21.
Megan Gustafson, basketball. Gustafson, the Big Ten Player of the Year, led the NCAA with 25.7 points a game average, 320 total field goals and a 67.1 percent shooting percentage this season. Gustafson, a junior who was named to multiple All-American teams, broke single-season school records for points (823), rebounds (411), field goals made (320), field goal percentage (67.1), free throws made (183), free throws attempted (227), and double-doubles (28). She also averaged 12.8 rebounds per game.
Jahisha Thomas, track. At the NCAA Women’s Track and Field Championships, Thomas finished third in the long jump (21 feet, 5 ¼ inches), then placed sixth in the triple jump (43-11 ¼) to pick up a pair of first-team All-American honors. Thomas, a senior, is the only woman in Iowa history to place in the triple jump at the NCAA meet. She is a four-time All-American, a four-time Big Ten champion and set school records in the indoor long jump and indoor and outdoor triple jump.
Laulauga Tausaga, field. At the track and field championships, Tausaga finished fourth in both the discus (183 feet, 11 inches) and the shot (56-10 ¾) to become a first-team All-American in both events. Tausaga, a sophomore, was a first-team All-American in the discus as a freshman and owns school records in both events. She was the Big Ten champion in both events as well.
Contessa Harold, rowing. Harold, a sophomore, was named the Big Ten Co-Athlete of the Year after leading the rowing program to a historic season. It was the first time an Iowa rower earned that honor. Iowa qualified for the NCAA championships for just the third time in school history and placed 11th, its highest finish.
Katie Birch, field hockey. Birch, a sophomore, was a third-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten selection last fall. Birch led the team in goals (14), points (36), and shots (68). Birch was second among Big Ten players in shots per game (3.83) and points per game (2.0), third in goals (14) and third in goals per game (0.78).
Hannah Burvill, swimming. Only a sophomore, Burvill has shredded Iowa’s record book in swimming. Burvill ranks in the top 4 in school history in 10 events and is the school record holder in the 100-yard freestyle (58.94 seconds), 200 freestyle (1:44.42), and as part of the 400 freestyle relay (3:18.83), 800 freestyle relay (7:08.06), 200 medley relay (1:38.99) and 400 medley relay (3:36.71). Burvill qualified for the NCAA meet in the 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle.