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  Tapio Kuusela
Tapio  Kuusela

Player Profile
Assistant Coach


Howerton-Davis Named Athlete of the Week By Pac-12 Conference

Pac-12 names Destanae Howerton-Davis thrower of the week.


Aoife Hickey Finishes Fifth in the Hammer Throw

Hickey posts fourth-best mark in school history.


Utah Throwers Get Outdoor Season Underway at Aztec Invitational

Aoife Hickey captures second at Aztec Invitational.


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Anneli Stahl breaks school record in the weight throw.


Utah Throwers Control the Field at Mountain States Games

Utes capture three titles at Bronco Classic.

E-mail Assistant Coach Tapio Kuusela

Tapio Kuusela enters his 14th season as the throws coach for the Utah track and field program.

During his time at Utah, Kussela has coached three athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Vanessa Mortensen was a three-time NCAA qualifier (2004-06), finishing 10th as a senior in 2006. Josefin Berg (2008, hammer throw) and Sarah Grimm (2009, hammer throw) also reached NCAA's.

Kuusela has had 23 regional qualifiers since 2003. Ilse Kaaja was the highest-ranked freshman in the hammer throw at the NCAA preliminaries in 2014. Mortensen was a four-time NCAA qualifier.

Mortensen (2003, 2006) and Grimm (2009) both earned Mountain West Conference titles in the hammer throw. His athletes earned eight All-MWC honors from 2006-11.

Mortensen (2006, Denmark) and Aoife Hickey (2013, Ireland) both qualified for the European Championships while at Utah.

Kussela's athletes currently hold every school record in the shot put, hammer throw, weight throw, discus and javelin. Nikkie Rudder set a school record in the indoor shot put in 2014 while Destane Howerton-Davis holds the school records in both the outdoor shot put and discus events.

In 2005, Kussela served as interim head coach, helping lead Utah to a then school-best fourth place at the MWC Indoor Championships, and eighth at the MWC Outdoor Championships.

Kuusela previously coached as his alma mater, BYU, and guided several athletes to All-America honors. Amy Palmer notched an eighth-place finish in the hammer throw at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Palmer was inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame as its first-ever female track athlete in 2005.

The Oripaa, Finland native is involved with the Utah Olympic Weightlifting Development Program. In 1999, he served as the team leader and coach of the women's national throwing team that competed in several meets in Australia.

In 1980, Kuusela won the Collegiate Powerlifting Championships and in 1982, he became the first man in Utah to total over 2,000 pounds. He won four Finnish and Nordic Championships titles in weightlifting and was ranked 10th in the world in 1986. His best single performance was a snatch of 385 pounds.

While attending BYU, Kuusela was a four-time NCAA qualifier and a 1978 All-American in the hammer throw. During Kuusela's four years of competing for BYU, he never had a throw that was not above the NCAA qualifying mark. Kuusela's best marks were a throw of 61-2.25 feet in the shot put and 218-9 feet in the hammer throw.

Kuusela graduated from BYU in 1982 with a degree in economics. He is married to the former Heather Wood and has two children, Timo and Toni.

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