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Millcreek Journal

Former Skyline player Mariyah Saldana to compete in Deaf World Championship Games

Mar 01, 2024 01:17PM ● By Daniel Olsen

Mariyah Saldana plays college basketball at Galludet University and is preparing to play in the Deaf World Championship Games this summer. (Photo courtesy Mariyah Saldana)

Mariyah Saldana is just a regular college student when she is not excelling on the basketball court.

“I like playing video games on my Xbox, watching scary movies, and playing any sports for fun with my friends,” Saldana said.

The former Skyline player is currently playing college basketball at Gallaudet University and is preparing to represent the U.S. in the Deaf World Championship Games from high school. She has many fond memories from high school and is making new ones now.

“My favorite memory was playing against my friends from different high schools in basketball games,” Saldana said. “Currently, my favorite memory is hanging out with my teammates this season. I am excited to be playing on the Olympic team this summer with 16 teams from other countries.”

From a young age, Saldana learned to enjoy the sport of basketball.

“My parents taught me when I was 5 or 6 years old,” Saldana said. “I fell in love with basketball when I was watching a Chicago Bulls game on the TV with my mom’s family.”

Saldana realized that not only could she play basketball but she could do it at a high level.

“Realizing the potential to play basketball beyond high school often stems from skill development, recognition and personal ambition,” Saldana said.

Basketball has brought joy to Saldana in many different ways. 

“I love playing basketball because of the joy that I feel for every basket, assist, rebound, steal and block that I make,” Saldana said. “Even just sprinting up and down the court, hustling for the loose ball, and doing all the dirty work give me extreme satisfaction. The main benefit that I get from it is exercise.”

With skill, communication and practice, Saldana has been able to work with her hearing limitations to become a great basketball player.

“Overcoming the hearing aspect in basketball typically involves developing heightened visual awareness, relying on peripheral vision to anticipate movements, and communicating effectively with teammates through gestures and signals,” Saldana said. “Additionally, honing other skills like spatial awareness and timing can compensate for any limitations in hearing cues during gameplay. Some players also use technology, such as hearing aids or visual aids, to enhance their experience on the court.”

Fans can support the GoFundMe to help Saldana cover her expenses for the championship trip to Argentina this summer:

“My goal is to reach $3,000 for the uniform, flight ticket, lodging, food and training camp,” Saldana said. “This summer, we are going to Argentina for the USA U21 Basketball Championship.”   λ