BRISTOL, Tenn. – Earlier this month, the King University women's wrestling team, as well as Olympian Haley Augello were recognized by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. The Tornado were recognized as one of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame's "Champions Within," earning the Champions as Pioneers award while Augello was recognized as the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame's Amateur Female Athlete of the Year.
Tennessee Sports Hall of fame Female Amateur Athlete of the Year
Augello and the three other honorees will be recognized at the 51st Induction Banquet on Saturday, June 3 at the Omni Nashville. The other honorees are Justin Gatlin, Professional Male Athlete of the Year, Christian Coleman, Amateur Male Athlete of the Year and the Rhodes College women's golf team as the Amateur Team of the Year.
Augello became the first King athlete to compete for the United States at any Olympic games when she competed in women's wrestling at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. At the event, Augello went 1-2, winning her first match 7-0 over 2015 World bronze medalist Jessica Blaszka of Netherlands before falling to eventual gold medalist and three-time World Champion Eri Tosaka of Japan. Augello then had a chance to comeback and wrestle for bronze, but fell to two-time World bronze medalist Zhuldyz Eshimova of Kazakhstan 3-2.
Following the Olympics, Augello returned to campus and went 9-1 on the season with six wins by technical fall. Her only loss came two weight classes higher than her regular 116-pound weight class. She helped King win their fourth straight National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Duals title and fourth straight Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) national championship. In the process, Augello won her third WCWA national title in three tries.
In conjunction with the honoree class, the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame will be inducting 10 members into the Hall of Fame.
The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame's goal is to enshrine successful teams and individuals who display sportsmanship, good character and success by creating a legacy for others to follow. The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame is housed inside the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville and is celebrating 50 years of Tennessee Sports history (1966-2016).
2017 Hall of Fame Class
Julius "Chuck" Meriwether
Ashley McElhiney Ayers
Burnis "Wild Bill" Wright
Roy Kramer – Pat Summitt Lifetime Achievement Award
Haley Augello – Female Amateur Athlete of the Year
Christian Coleman – Male Amateur Athlete of the Year
Rhodes College Women's Golf Team – Amateur Team of the Year
Justin Gatlin – Male Professional Athlete of the Year
Champions as Pioneers
The Tornado received one of six Champion Within awards from the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. King will be recognized as Champions as Pioneers.
"This recognition is a great honor for our program and for King," head coach Jason Moorman said. "We are so thankful for those student-athletes and coaches who have been a part of our women's wrestling team these past years and all they have accomplished. This is something we all should be very proud of."
The nationally prominent King University women's wrestling team took home their seventh and eighth national championships during the 2016-17 season, all coming in the last four years. The top-ranked Tornado earned their fourth straight National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) National Duals championship, when they defeated fourth-ranked McKendree University 24-19 in the championship dual.
A month later, King took their fourth straight Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) national championship, defeating their nearest competitor, Simon Fraser University, by nearly 20 points. At the WCWA National Championships, King had three individual national champions, three runners-up and nine All-Americans.
"We're extremely proud of our student-athletes in the women's wrestling program," Director of Athletics David Hicks said. "They are indeed champions in every way. Champions aren't made during the competition, they're made in the hours, weeks and days spent sacrificing and training. They're made from the inner discipline and strength that indeed comes from within. This award exemplifies our ideals at King – we value the traits that win championships more than we value the championships. And that is why these women are champions."
Over the four year run, King has had 14 individual WCWA National Champions and 47 WCWA All-Americans while winning the WCWA Team Scholastic Award each season. Jason Moorman, the Tornado head coach, has been named WCWA Coach of the Year three times. In the history of the program, the Tornado have had 19 individual WCWA National Champions, all coming since 2011, and 85 All-Americans as well as winning six WCWA Team Scholastic Awards.
The Champion Within Luncheon gives the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame the opportunity to celebrate the success of outstanding individuals who display great character and embody the belief that champions are made from a passion they have deep inside of them – a desire, a dream and commitment. The incredible people that we honor inspire each of us with their dedication and hard work that has led to their success.
2017 Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Champion Within Recipients
Tim Shaw – Character Award
Jeff Jacoby – Courage Award
Tennessee SC 16 – Championship Award
Mario Reed – Perseverance Award
King University Women's Wrestling – Champions as Pioneers
Matthew Drumright – Heart of a Champion