Original photo courtesy of Jim Thrall; MatFocus.com
The Patricia Miranda Medal aims to honor one outstanding athlete from women’s collegiate wrestling who embodies the spirit of the pioneers that came before them. A panel of voters that includes each of the past four-time WCWA champions, Helen Maroulis, Victoria Anthony, Emily Webster, and Kayla Miracle in addition to representation from the media selected a winner based on four criteria: record, dominance, past credentials, and additional accomplishments.
TOM is proud to announce the second-annual winner of the Patricia Miranda Medal is Dominique Parrish of Simon Fraser University. For the past two seasons, Parrish has been undefeated against collegiate competition and wrapped up her career at Simon Fraser by capturing her second consecutive WCWA national championship at 123 lbs. In her four years competing for the Clan, Dominique earned All-American honors four times, after finishing second as a sophomore and third as a freshman.
Despite suffering a separated shoulder at the Dave Schultz Memorial, less than three weeks from the WCWA Championships, Parrish turned in a gutty performance to capture her second national title. Simon Fraser head coach Justin Abdou and the Clan coaching staff advised Dominque to “take it easy” in preparation for her final collegiate tournament. Though she was admittedly nervous about the strategy, Parrish was still able to dominate the competition on her way to the finals. She outscored her opponents 44-1 despite using a limited array of leg attacks. To win the WCWA title, Parrish needed to go through a familiar face, teammate Alex Hedrick. The pair faced off in the national finals in 2018, as well. Just like last season, Parrish was able to prevail 7-2 and cap off her career as a two-time WCWA champion. She was also named the WCWA Wrestler of the Year, as voted on by coaches at the event.
Dominique describes winning the Miranda Medal as, “pretty amazing. Most people don’t go into wrestling thinking of winning awards, we just take things match to match. But since this is named after Patricia Miranda who was such a tough competitor, it feels even better.” Parrish joins 2018 winner Kayla Miracle (Campbellsville) as the first two winners of this prestigious award. When asked how she will feel knowing that she and Kayla will be known by women wrestlers in the future as the initial winners of the medal, Parrish replied, “it’s kind of strange but in a good way. Our sport is so young and growing so rapidly that I feel like these girls down the road will be much more skilled than we are now.” Abdou adds that Dominque is, “not only a great wrestler, but also a great person. The way she approaches practices and her attitude make coaching easy. Not only is she a good athlete, but she has the work ethic, getting it done every single day, along with toughness.”
Parrish’s performance has helped Simon Fraser to finish second at the WCWA Championships in each of the last three seasons. Over the last year, Dom’s success has not been limited to the collegiate scene. She has also competed at the U23 World Championships in 2017 and 2018. In the 2018 event, Parrish took fifth-place, just a match shy of earning a medal. She also took second in the Schultz this January, without wrestling in her final bout due to her shoulder injury.
The runner-up in this year’s Miranda Medal voting was Menlo freshman Gracie Figueroa. Gracie lapped the field at the WCWA championships in winning the 116 lb championship. She was an integral part of Menlo’s first-ever WCWA national title-winning team.
This year 36 teams were represented at the WCWA National Championships, a number that continues to grow each season. Additionally, 20 teams competed at the first-ever NAIA Women’s National Invitational. While there are plenty of people who deserve credit for how far the sport has come, it could not have happened without pioneers such as Patricia Miranda. Before wrestling on a women’s team in college was an option, Miranda wrestled on the men’s team at Stanford, continuing to battle as an undersized 125 lber while also being one of the best 48/51 kg women’s freestylers in the world. She earned a pair of World Championship silver medals before wrestling in the first ever medal match for women in the sport at the Olympic Games, winning to secure a bronze in 2004. Patricia would go on to earn a fourth world-level medal with another bronze in 2006. Today, Miranda, a graduate of Yale Law School, specializes in immigration law, helping qualified candidates attain asylum in the United States. Her continued commitment to principled living speaks well of, as she says, “the character revelation and building that college wrestling can help young people to obtain.”