ASHLAND, Ore. — The 2022-2023 Southern Oregon University Raiders celebrated their first NAIA National Championship title with a parade around campus Wednesday.
The parade included the wrestling team, coaches, staff, and members of the community all gathering at the Lithia Motors Pavillion.
"It's mind-blowing to think how a coach comes into a program and in her first year is hoisting a National Championship," Bailey said. "That is not an accident, that is a commitment."
Under first-year head coach Gabrielle Weyhrich, the Raiders ended a season full of wins with the final title Saturday night at Newman Arena in North Dakota. The #3 Raiders upset top-ranked Life (Ga.) at the inaugural NAIA Championships with the help of 123-pounder Carolina Moreno, 143-pound Emily Se, and 191-pounder Grace Kristoff, all winning individual championships.
The Raiders finished with 160 points to Life's 139 1/2 and third-place Grand View (Iowa)'s 123 1/2. Third-place Esthela Trevino (101 pounds) and fourth-place Natalie Reyna (109) and Bella Amaro (136) gave the Raiders a total of seven All-Americans.
Throughout this season, the team captured NWCA National Duals, Cascade Conference, and NAIA titles for the first time.
Wednesday's parade also included the acknowledgment of Weyhrich being named NAIA Coach of the Year. Weyhrich, who has only been with SOU for less than a year, is the first woman to lead a college women's wrestling team to a national tournament championship according to USA Wrestling.
"From Day one, they just showed me love, they became my new family and I can't thank them enough for giving me the best experience I could have as a head coach," Weyhrich said. "I'm the first woman and I can say I feel accomplished, and it's a good feeling."
She is now among three head coaches currently on staff at SOU who have earned NAIA Coach of the Year honors, Grier Gatlin (cross country/track and field) and Jessica Pistole (softball) being the others.