BRISTOL, Tenn. – The three-time defending National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) National Duals champions and Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) national champion King University women's wrestling team will start the 2016-17 season in a familiar spot, on top of the rankings. The Tornado sit atop the tournament strength poll and come in second in the dual meet strength poll and have nine individuals ranked in the top 10 of their respective weight classes.
In the opening ranking of 2016-17, the WCWA released a pair of team rankings, one based upon the tournament strength and the second based on the dual meet strength. King is first in the tournament rankings and they are followed by Simon Fraser University and Campbellsville University. McKendree University and Oklahoma City University round out the top five. In the dual meet rankings, Simon Fraser comes in first with King checking second. Oklahoma City is third with Campbellsville fourth. The University of the Cumberlands and Lindenwood University are tied for fifth.
A season ago, the Tornado went 20-1 in dual meets and over their last three years, King is an impressive 54-1 in dual meets. The lone loss came to third-ranked Oklahoma City last year as the Stars took a 22-22 decision on criteria. However, the Tornado rebounded to defeat Oklahoma City 27-19 in the NWCA National Duals championship match, giving King their third straight title.
The Tornado have a pair of wrestlers ranked at 101 pounds, starting with top-ranked Marina Doi who won her first WCWA national championship a season ago and went 30-1 overall. Her sister, Regina Doi checks in with a ranking of third after finishing fifth at the WCWA National Championships a season ago.
Coming in atop the 109-pound rankings is 2016 Olympian Haley Augello. She is a two-time WCWA national champion and hasn't lost a match in her collegiate career, going 36-0 in her first two seasons at King. Breonnah Neal is ranked second at 109 pounds after going 24-4 and finishing runner-up at the WCWA National Championships a season ago. Also at 109 pounds, Daisy Santos is ranked sixth. She is a two-time WCWA All-American and finished last season with a record of 13-8.
At 116 pounds, two-time WCWA All-American Hanna Grisewood is ranked fourth. She finished runner-up at the WCWA National Championships in 2015 and took sixth a season ago, going 27-7. The duo or Hannah Jewell and Jessi Kee are both ranked at 136 pounds. Jewell checks in at third while Kee is fifth. Jewell finished fourth at the WCWA National Championships a season ago as a freshman, and Kee finished fifth. Jewell posted a record of 23-4, and Kee went 30-3 a season ago.
The final Tornado that is ranked is defending WCWA national champion Forrest Molinari as she is ranked second at 155 pounds. The senior went 33-1 a season ago, en route to her first WCWA national championship.
This marks the fourth straight year the Tornado have been ranked atop the WCWA Preseason Coaches' Poll.
King opens the season at the Emmanuel College Open on October 15.