Division II Women's Wrestling saw the addition of two champion wrestler's into it's coaching pool, and both on the same day.
Gannon University, located in Erie, PA, announced on Tuesday the hiring of Breonnah Neal for the head coach role of their women's wrestling program. Neal is no novice when it comes to wrestling.
Neal, herself, was a championship collegiate wrestler from Campbellsville University in Kentucky. After finishing runner-up in the WCWA national championship, Neal moved to Bristol, Tennessee and King University. In 2017, while at King, she had a perfect 21-0 season and won the national championship.
However, she wasn't just a star on the mat; she excelled in the classroom as well. In 2017, she earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from King University.
Her coaching career started long before she graduated college, though. In 2013, Neal started helping young athletes, especially young female wrestlers, reach their potential as an assistant coach at the School of Hard Knocks Wrestling Club of North Carolina.
Neal stepped into the collegiate coaching realm in 2019 as the third coach of the women's wrestling program at Ferrum College. She built the program to include four national qualifiers, an all-American, and the school's highest finish of 13th in national standings.
Neal had this to say of her new post:
"I am excited for the opportunity to join a program on the rise. I look forward to working with all those who are a part of the Gannon family. We will build off previous success and continue to create great individuals on and off the mat.”
The second women's wrestling coach announced on Tuesday was Amanda Hendey as Colorado Mesa's women's wrestling assistant coach.
Surprisingly enough, these two incredible wrestlers were on the same team together at King University in 2016 as the King Tornado women's wrestling team competed in the US Olympic Trials for the Rio Olympics; Neal wrestled in the 48kg class while Hendey wrestled in the 63kg class.
Hendey's collegiate eligibility ran out in 2015, though she continued to train with the King Tornados in 2016 with hopes of making it to the Olympics. She was a three-time member of Team USA, as well as a three-time medalist in the Senior Pan American Championships. In 2016, she won the US open and a silver medal in the University World Championship.
Hendey was also a great student-athlete, earning her bachelor's degree in Business Sports Management and minored in coaching.
Hendey will be the first women's assistant coach for the Colorado Mesa women's wrestling program, which will be starting the fourth season. Travis Mercado, Mesa's women's wrestling head coach, said this about their recent hire"
“I am exhilarated about Amanda joining our program. She brings wealth of knowledge with her success on the mat at the collegiate, national, and international levels. I know Amanda’s impact in our program is going to be huge and help us move forward in our quest for a national championship as a team.”
These two women have been trailblazers in the collegiate women's wrestling world as athletes; it will be exiting to see the caliber of athletes they produce in their coaching careers.