After wrestling in the Olympics this summer in Rio, Haley Augello (King) considered not returning to WCWA wrestling. After all, she was already a two-time undefeated WCWA champion and now the number one 48 kg women’s freestyle wrestler in the country at the Senior level. No one would have blamed her for moving on. Instead, she returned to the three-time defending national champion Tornado for her most difficult college season yet. Wrestling up at 123 and 130 all season, Augello suffered her first college loss when eventual national runner-up Megan Black (McKendree) pinned her in the NWCA National Duals championship final in a 130-pound bout.
Still, King won their fourth straight title at that event and entered the WCWA national tournament as favorites for a four-peat. It wasn’t easy. King entered the finals with the title still in doubt. However, they had both finalists at 101, where twin sisters Marina and Regina Doi squared off, and they also crowned a champion at 109 when Breonnah Neal, who had never won a title despite being a three-time All-American and two-time finalist, finally got over the hump in her senior season. That meant that Augello, down at a more reasonable weight in 116, could clinch the title by defeating Cady Chessin (Menlo). That should have been a mere formality. Augello had not given up a single point in the tournament, rolling to three tech-falls before pinning her semi-final opponent in 39 seconds.
However, again, it wasn’t easy. When Augello built a 6-0 lead, it looked like she would cruise to victory. Even after Chessin got on the board with a reversal, a 6-1 deficit against a two-time champion and Olympian is a deep hole to climb out of. The hole got even deeper as Augello notched another takedown to make it 8-1, but she was injured working for a turn and appeared to be in a good deal of pain as she used up her injury time. When the match got back underway, it was clear Augello was limited and Chessin attacked. A quick takedown made it 8-3 with over a minute remaining, but the champion showed her mettle, giving up nothing else to win her third title and clinch King’s fourth, 8-3.
Congratulations to King University on tying Oklahoma City University for most WCWA titles all-time with four and congratulations to Haley Augello on her third WCWA individual title. For her efforts, she is TOM’s College Wrestler of the Week!