BRISTOL, Tenn. – The top-ranked King University women's wrestling team has a chance to match history in the world of women's wrestling when they compete for their fourth straight Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) national championship this weekend. King comes in the favorite after sitting atop the WCWA Coaches' Poll all season long, and can match the run of Oklahoma City University's four straight titles from 2009-12.
The Tornado enter the 2017 championships atop the WCWA Coaches' poll and with eight individuals ranked, including four at the top spot of their weight class. The top competitors for King include fifth-ranked McKendree University who the Tornado defeated in the finals of National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) National Duals for their fourth straight title.
Another team that could pose a challenge for the Tornado is second-ranked Simon Fraser University, who the Tornado defeated in the title bout at the season-opening Patriot Duals. Third and fourth-ranked Campbellsville University and Wayland Baptist University could also make a run at the Tornado this season.
Individually, King places 12 wrestlers in the field, including eight that were ranked in the final regular season rankings. The Tornado start with a trio at 101 pounds, including No. 1 Marina Doi and No. 2 Regina Doi. Marina Doi is a two-time All-American and she won the WCWA national title at 101 pounds a season ago. This season she is 12-0, including eight wins by technical fall and three by pin.
Regina Doi is a two-time All-American and finished fifth at the WCWA National Championships last year. This season she is 8-0, including four wins by technical fall. Cassidy Ferrell will also compete at 101 pounds for King as she is 11-6 on the year, and 7-1 on technical falls.
At 109 pounds, King will have top-ranked Breonnah Neal and Aleeah Gould. Neal is a two-time All-American and finished runner-up at the WCWA National Championships. She is 16-0 on the season and 12-0 on technical falls. Gould has been impressive in her first year donning the scarlet and navy, boasting a 14-4 record with four pins.
Haley Augello may highlight the Tornado lineup as the 2016 Olympian is ranked atop the 116-pound weight class. She is a two-time national champion, both coming by technical fall. This season she is 4-1 with her only defeat coming at 130 pounds in the championship match of the NWCA National Duals.
At 123 pounds, Hanna Grisewood is also ranked No. 1 and owns a record of 14-0 on the season, including five wins by technical fall and six on pins. She is a two-time All-American and finished runner-up to teammate Sarah Hildebrandt in 2015.
Newcomers Nicole Joseph and Gabby Garcia will compete for the Tornado at 130 and 136 pounds, respectively. Joseph is 15-5 during her rookie campaign, including marks of 6-2 on pins and 4-1 on technical falls. Garcia is ranked fourth at 136 pounds and owns a 13-2 mark, taking eight wins by pin this season.
Jessi Kee is ranked second at 143 pounds, and is a two-time All-American with her best finish of runner-up coming in 2015. On the season, Kee is 11-1 overall, going 4-1 on pins and 3-0 on technical falls. Freshmen Alexis Bleau will take the mat at 155 pounds after posting a 10-5 mark this season, including a 5-2 record on technical falls.
Defending 155-pound national champion and two-time All-American Forrest Molinari will compete for the Tornado at 170 pounds. In 2015, Molinari was an All-American at 136 pounds before winning a national title last season at 155 pounds. This season, Molinari has wrestled at both 155 and 170 pounds and is ranked second at 170 pounds. She owns a 16-1 record, going 8-0 on pins and 4-0 on technical falls.
King starts their quest for their fourth straight title on Friday at Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma City, Okla. The national champions will be crowned on Saturday.