ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Winning a national championship is never easy, and the King University women's wrestling team learned that on Saturday. The Tornado trailed Oklahoma City University by 13 points going into the finals of the Women's College Wrestling Association (WCWA) College Championships, but King won four individual national titles and Julia Salata clinched the team title with a 5-1 decision at 155 pounds.
Coming into the second day of the championship, King held the lead, and had 11 wrestlers in the semifinals as they looked for their first WCWA national title. Six of those 11 wrestlers made the finals, and four won national titles to give King their first WCWA national title, outscoring Oklahoma City 229-227.
Freshman Haley Augello got the Tornado on a roll in the finals when she defeated Amy Fearnside of University of Jamestown on a 10-0 technical fall. Augello did not allow a point in four matches, winning all by technical fall. Sarah Hildebrandt kept the momentum rolling at 123 pounds as she won the national title on a fall in 2:22 over Cady Chessin of Menlo College, pulling King closer to Oklahoma City.
At 136 pounds, senior Alli Ragan successfully defended her national title from a year ago, defeating Shai Mason of Jamestown 10-0 on a technical fall. Following Ragan's match, King trailed Oklahoma City by just two points 227-225. Amanda Hendey had a chance to put King in the lead as she squared off with Tamyra Mensah in the title bout at 143 pounds. However, Mensah took an 8-0 win to take the title.
Nevertheless, Salata faced Oklahoma City's Kayla Aggio in the match that ultimately determined the championship. Salata held slim advantage after the first period before taking the bout on a 5-1 decision to give King a 229-227 lead over Oklahoma City, who had no wrestlers left, clinching the title for the Tornado.
At 191 pounds, Malexis McAdoo squared off with Jenna Mclatchy of Simon Fraser University in a rematch from the NWCA National Duals two weeks ago. Mclatchy topped McAdoo 8-2 to give King their second runner-up of the championship.
The Tornado won their first national title with 229 points while Oklahoma City took second for the second straight year with 227 points. Defending national champions Simon Fraser took third with 219 points.
Earlier in the day, after advancing to the semifinals, Ashley Iliff and Shannon Constantine squared off for fifth place at 101 pounds. Iliff came away with a narrow 4-3 victory. Daisy Santos also advanced to the semifinals at 109 pounds, and ended up taking sixth in the bracket.
At 123 pounds, Kayla Bartosch fell in the quarterfinals, but rebounded to take her seventh place bout over Teasia Lizama of Northwest Kansas Technical College on a fall in 2:54. The Tornado also had two wrestlers place in the 130 pound bracket. Kayla Brendlinger advanced to the semifinals on Friday before dropping to the consolation bracket where she took sixth place. After advancing to the quarterfinals, Megan Black rebounded and took an 11-1 technical fall victory over Lindenwood University's Rachel Factora to take seventh place.
Both Kerri Bumpers and Lorrie Ramos placed at 170 pounds with Bumpers finishing third and Ramos fifth. Bumpers worked her way through the consolation bracket where she defeated Sherese Thomas on a fall in 0:48 in the third place bout while Ramos took a 16-6 technical fall victory over Gabriela Guzman of Lindenwood to take fifth.
Head coach Jason Moorman was also named WCWA National Coach of the Year, and 14 Tornado earned All-American honors.
The championship is King's first WCWA title, and their second in as many weeks as they took home the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) National Duals title two weeks ago.