In the history of women's college wrestling in North America, only one team has won four WCWA titles. Oklahoma City University did so from 2009 to 2012, topping the University of the Cumberlands' three in a row from 2006 to 2008. King University heads into the 2017 WCWA Championships Friday and Saturday in Oklahoma City on their own run of three straight titles, looking to equal the record. Six former WCWA champions, including four 2016 title winners, return seeking to add another crown to their collection.
King already extended their streak of titles at the NWCA National Duals to four this season, dispatching McKendree in the finals, 24-19. They haven't lost a dual all season, beating four of the five teams ranked behind them in the top six in the WCWA. That includes a win over second-ranked Simon Fraser at the Patriot Duals and two victories over third-ranked Campbellsville. The Tornado have the firepower to take home another championship trophy this weekend, bringing four top-ranked wrestlers to the tournament with three more second-ranked grapplers to back them up not to mention fourth-ranked Gabby Garcia (136) who will be in the mix as well. However, those eight scorers alone would leave the Tornado with little margin for error as they try to win an event where the runner-up has scored 190.5, 196, and 227 team points over the last three years. King needs wrestlers like Cassidy Ferrell (101), Aleeah Gould (109), Nicole Joseph (130), and Alexis Bleau (155) to contribute in order to stay on top. Teams can enter up to 15 wrestlers at the championship tournament with 12 point scorers declared before the tournament begins.
King is not alone in needing wrestlers who are outside the top eight in the WCWA rankings to step up in order to finish well. No team has more than eight ranked wrestlers coming in with Simon Fraser and Wayland Baptist both bringing eight to equal King and Campbellsville boasting seven ranked wrestlers in their squad. None can match the top-end talent of King, though. If the streak is to end, it is going to take something special from one of the challengers.
Three women have previously won four WCWA individual titles, Victoria Anthony (Simon Fraser), Olympic gold medalist Helen Maroulis (Simon Fraser), and Emily Webster (Oklahoma City). No one will equal that feat in 2017 but two wrestlers, Olympian Haley Augello (King) and Kayla Miracle (Campbellsville), have a chance to win their third title as juniors to keep their hopes alive. Tamyra Mensah (Wayland Baptist) will be hoping to close out her career with her third championship.
Wrestling will begin at 10 am central both Friday and Saturday. You can watch live with a FloPro subscription here. Now, let's go weight-by-weight for the WCWA Championships.
This could be a key weight for King as they feature Marina and Regina Doi, the top two wrestlers in the country at the weight. The twins are both two-time All-Americans with Marina finishing second in 2015 before winning a title last season and Regina finishing eighth and fifth. This season Regina got a key win over third-ranked Sarah Allen (Cumberlands), herself a three-time All-American at the Tornado Open. Those two could be in for a semi-final rematch while Allen's teammate Maia Phanthadara squares off with Marina Doi in the other semi-final. Other wrestlers to keep an eye on at 101 include Hiba Salem (Menlo) who was sixth a year ago, Juliana Olivo (Lindenwood-Belleville), who made the round of 12, and Valeria Rivera (Ottawa), who was also in the round of 12. Cassidy Ferrell (King) owns a win over seventh-ranked McKenzie Bacich (Campbellsville) and will be looking to join the Doi sisters on the podium for the Tornado.
1st – Marina Doi (King)
2nd – Sarah Allen (Cumberlands)
3rd – Regina Doi (King)
4th – Maia Phanthadara (Cumberlands)
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