The 2022 college wrestling national championships are over … but the great...
Parrish ready for her first World Championships
Photo: Dom Parrish (right) won two straight matches over Felicity Taylor at Final X NYC to earn the World Championships berth at 116.5 pounds. (Justin Hoch photo)
By Mike Finn
Who is Dom Parrish?
First, there are few misconceptions about this 25-year-old native of Scotts Valley, Calif., who will represent the United States in her first UWW World Championships next month in Belgrade, Serbia.
“I feel like I’ve been all over the place and for some reason, people think I’m Canadian,” said Parrish, the 116.5-pound women’s freestyle wrestler. “I’ve been on the U.S. National team for five years, yet everyone says, ‘You are Canadian, right?”
That confusion comes from the fact that Parrish won two WCWA championships (2018 and ’19) at Simon Fraser University of Vancouver, Canada; the same school that has produced several other talented American wrestlers, including fellow 2022 World Team members Helen Maroulis and Mallory Velte.
She also should not be called Dominique, which has been used by USA Wrestling and United World Wrestling as the formal name for this woman who also was a U23 U.S. World Team member between 2017 and 2019. Parrish also finished second in the 2019 Final X and third in the 2020 Olympic Trials on the Senior level.
“I go by Dom,” said Parrish. “Actually, I went by Domino between third grade and high school. I’ve had multiple aliases. When I got to Simon Fraser, (coach) Mike Jones started calling me, ‘Dom’ because Domino was too long.”
Whatever you call Parrish, you will find a wrestler who certainly has steadily improved. She beat Felicity Taylor in two straight bouts at Final X, June 8, in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
“I feel like I’ve been in a great training situation since the beginning of the year,” said Parrish, who trains with the Sunkist Wrestling Club in Tempe, Ariz. “I’ve been working like a dog in the room and have had some good international tournaments. I’m just confident and like my technique and my ability to go out there and put up points.”
She also credits her club coach Mark Perry.
“I’ve never had a personal coach before,” she said. “I feel like he does a good job of pointing out chinks in my armor in a nice way. He doesn’t make you want to cry in your bed. He will give me a few pointers and to see them work in a match is really fun.”
Parrish can still remember how she connected with wrestling.
“I started wrestling in sixth grade because they did a demonstration at our middle school and my friends signed me up,” said Parrish, who first played soccer for about 10 years. “I thought I was going to get in trouble if I didn’t show up. My parents (Mike and Susan) were supportive because my dad had wrestled a bit in high school and junior college.
Growing up between San Jose and Santa Cruz, Parrish believes she grew up in a good area of California and that showed when she won state championships in 2014 and ’15 for Scotts Valley High School.
“I don’t think I was ever on the team where I was the only girl,” she recalled. “We had a full girls team and went to women’s tournaments.”
When did she see herself as a high-level wrestler?
“Each stage was different,” she said. “I may have become a national-level wrestler but I was still a kid. I made my first Senior national team in 2017 (finishing third at 121 pounds), then won my first national title. I felt like it was a natural progression and it was bound to happen.
“I moved up to SFU and was getting the crap beaten out of me. It was a tough program and we wrestled live a lot. For me, I usually develop pretty quickly when I’m in a room and I’m not the top dog.
“I feel like it takes the pressure off me. When you are getting the crap beaten out of you, you are either going to quit or figure a way to get better.”