Basehor girls find success during first year of wrestling
Alexis Parkinson saw a flier that her brother brought home regarding wrestling and figured it would be fun.
She decided to give the sport a shot herself.
A year later, Ariana Oliva didn’t have another sport to compete in during the winter, so she figured she would try wrestling along with her sister Mariah.
Mariah liked the idea of wrestling because it was more aggressive than other sports.
As a result, the three Basehor-Linwood students began wrestling, though none of them expected to compete in a national youth wrestling tournament less than a full year into their careers.
That’s exactly what the girls did in May, comparing their skills and techniques against some of the top girl wrestlers in the United States at the National Women’s Wrestling Tournament.
Mariah wrestled at 85 pounds and placed second, Alexis wrestled at 90 pounds and also placed second. Both will be seventh graders in the fall.
Ariana, who will be a freshman at Basehor-Linwood High School, competed in the 132.5-pound class and did not place, despite competing well.
Alexis said it was nice to have success early in her career.
“It feels good to experience success in a sport where at first I was doubting if I would like it,” she said.
The national wrestling tournament was a good learning experience for the Oliva sisters, as well.
“To get this far in their first season was a little overwhelming for them both,” said Marilynn Oliva, Ariana and Mariah’s mother. “Mariah got started a little younger and will get more time, but compared to the competition, they both got a very late start. The girls they are wrestling have been doing this since they were 4 or 5 years old. At nationals they learned a lot of new tactics, what they need to do differently to wrestle at that level. But they also learned where they can go with this sport.”
Some of the girls at the tournament were in contention to go to the World Competition in Romania, and others were pursuing college scholarships.
“It really gave them more passion to do better,” Marilynn Oliva said.
The national tournament left the girls with goals they hope to accomplish. Each wrestler hopes to compete in college some day.
“I want to get as far as I can in wrestling and maybe get a scholarship to college,” Ariana said.
Alexis and Mariah each have similar goals.
“I want to be the best that I can be and get better every day,” Mariah said.
Success isn’t the only reason they want to pursue wrestling. They have learned a lot in just one year in the sport and are eager to keep going.
What they found in wrestling is a sport that allows them to test their will against another opponent; a sport where hard work and sound technique often lead to success.
What they found was that they liked wrestling and the intricacies of it, whether it is perfecting a move or hold or ending a match with a pin.
“You don’t have to be nice,” Mariah said. “It is fun to beat people.”
Ariana said she likes wrestling because it offers both an individual and team aspect. It is individual in the fact that when a wrestler is in a match, it is just her against the opponent. There is also the team aspect because how you perform affects a team score and the chances of winning a tournament or dual meet.
“You always have a team trying to help you do better. And even when you don’t do well, you still have a team and family that support you,” Ariana said.