Scotts Valley native Dominique "Dom" Parrish earned a trip to the 2024 Olympics in Paris following a victory over Haley Augello in the 53 kilograms division finals at the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials in State College, Pennsylvania on April 20. (John Sachs/Tech-Fall)

Dominique “Dom” Parrish’s legacy continues to grow after the former Scotts Valley High wrestling star qualified for the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

The 27-year-old Scotts Valley native beat 2016 Olympian Haley Augello, two matches to none, in the 53 kilograms division finals at the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials in State College, Penn., on April 20.

“Honestly, it doesn’t even feel real,” said Parrish, who fought hard to hold back her tears in a post-final interview with NBC Sports. “I don’t really know what just happened. I’m a little overwhelmed. It’s so emotional, but it’s so silly because it’s wrestling. It’s just a sport. But then it’s moments like these, win or lose, it makes you feel so good … I’m going to the Olympics.”

The 2024 Summer Olympics begin July 26 and finish Aug. 11.

Parrish got a taste of the big stage at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a training partner for Jacarra Winchester—a gold medalist at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships and 2021 Pan American Wrestling Championships.

Parrish said the experience was unique because it happened during the Covid-19 pandemic. But being at the arena where the matches took place felt just like any other tournament she’s competed in.  

“I say that now, but I feel like in the future when I’m there, I’m probably gonna feel the pressure,” she said.

The journey is 16 years in the making. It started with a prank from her friends who signed her up for a wrestling demo in the sixth grade. That was after her dad, Mike, asked Dom if she wanted to try wrestling and she quickly responded “thanks, but no thanks.”

Parrish attended the demo thinking she’d be in trouble for not showing up, especially because her friends jotted down her name and phone number on the sign-up sheet.

“That’s just the kind of kid I was,” she said. “I went, didn’t have any shoes, and just had a blast. I was just really lucky that the program had girls on the team…It was fun and it was accessible, which is so huge.”

Seven years later, she racked up 100-plus wins against boys in high school in California, was nationally ranked No. 1 and captured a pair of CIF State Championships in 2014-15.

Parrish was also a standout at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. She followed up with a freestyle world title at 53 kg against Batkhuyagiin Khulan of Mongolia in the World Wrestling Championships in Serbia in 2022.

“It’s been a long road for her,” Mike Parrish said. “It has had its ups and downs. When you get so close, like in 2021 at the Olympics, you’re like, ‘Do I really want to do this anymore?’ … The sport is so tough.”

Dom Parrish moved from the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club in Phoenix to the Beaver Dam RTC in Corvallis, Ore., working with Nate Engel, a two-time U.S. National Team member.

Mike Parrish, who started coaching high school wrestling in 1983, was Dom’s coach at Scotts Valley. He said being able to stick with wrestling at this level and earn a spot on the Olympic team is unbelievable.

“I’m still kind of in that bubble. Did this really happen? Did we finally get there?” he said. “I’m immensely proud and so happy for her. Every time we get to one of these tournaments, and with this one in particular, I’m in there grinding my teeth.”

Mike Parrish stayed at home to watch the trials and admitted to losing layers of enamel off his molars.

The world championship features 10 weight classes, whereas the Olympics there are just six. 

Prior to becoming a first-time Olympian, Dom Parrish went to Acapulco, Mexico, for the Pan American Olympic Qualification Tournament on Feb. 28-March 1.

“The lead up was super stressful for us, I’m sure it was for her,” Mike Parrish said.

Because Dom Parrish qualified for the finals in Acapulco, the United States was guaranteed a spot in Paris. The Olympic trials would settle who was going to represent the American team in Paris.

Dom Parrish didn’t wrestle until the second day of the trials against Augello, who battled her way through a tournament prior to the 53 kg finals.

Parrish struck early with a takedown late in the first period to hold on for a 2-1 victory in the first match, followed by a 5-2 win in the second.

“That’s kind of a big deal to not have to wrestle an entire tournament and then face a world champion,” Mike Parrish said.

Apart from her talents on the mat, Mike Parrish is proud of Dom’s unrelenting sportsmanship. He recalls the time his daughter assisted an opponent off the ground after not being able to walk on her own power.

“She’s never trash talking anybody. As a dad, that’s enormous. As a coach, it’s even more,” he said.

Joining Dominique Parrish on the trek to Paris include Sarah Hildebrandt of Granger, Ind., (50 kg); Helen Maroulis of Rockville, Md., (57 kg); Kayla Miracle of Bloomington, Ind., (62 kg); Amit Elor of Walnut Creek (68 kg) and Kennedy Blades of Chicago (76 kg).

Parrish said she’s excited to get into the next training block in preparation for the best women wrestlers in the world. 

“When you’re able to focus on very specific techniques, or just really dive into the sport itself, the wrestling kind of happens and you get better,” she said. “I think these next four months are gonna be stressful for sure, but I don’t think there’s anything I can’t handle, hopefully.”

Correction: A previous version of this story stated “Four years later, she racked up 100-plus wins against boys in high school in California, was nationally ranked and captured a pair of CIF State Championships in 2014-15.”, which was incorrect.

Editor’s note: This story was updated with direct quotes from Dominique Parrish.

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A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.


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