Thomas Chisholm is a dominant force on the wrestling mat. The Woodland Park senior is off to a 17-0 start to the season, but more impressive than that is the fact that a year ago he had never competed in a high school wrestling match.
Chisholm has devoted most of his efforts during high school to becoming a judo champion – he was a gold medalist at the 2011 Junior Olympics. The Panthers are glad he has decided to try his hand on the mat.
“I heard he was a great judo player and I wasn’t sure if he wanted to wrestle,” said first-year Woodland Park coach Keith Sieracki, who has a background as a U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler. “Sometimes with a kid like that you have to deal with a prima donna, but he’s one of the most humble kids I’ve ever met. You would never know he was 17-0 if you tried to pick him out in the wrestling room.”
Sieracki also praises his star 160-pounder for being a great person – both on the mat and off – and says that Chisholm is always a solid teammate who is there for his fellow Panthers.
Chisholm has found the transition from judo to wrestling to be a challenge, but he’s adjusted well. He competes at the same weight in both sports and knows how to make sure his body is in top shape.
“A lot of the ground work and holds are similar, and I know how to shift my weight and stay in good position from judo,” he said. “Now I just need to work on my conditioning and going for more take downs. I didn’t think it’d be easy, but I’ve been working hard and my coaches and teammates have helped me a lot.”
Chisholm led the way for Woodland Park to win the championship at the Westside Classic meet on Saturday. He went 5-0, with only two of those matches lasting into the second minute.
“Last year we had a lot of weights we couldn’t fill and the kids were really raw; they wanted to have fun and not necessarily win,” said Sieracki, who was the assistant coach then. “We spent the summer building the kids up and built a strong core. Thomas is a nice piece to the puzzle – he shows leadership and shows that as a one-year wrestler you can win.”
When outside of competition, Chisholm likes to spend time snowboarding and paintballing. He’s hopeful with continued success he may be able to get a college wrestling scholarship.
“I think I’ll do pretty well against some of the best wrestlers in the state,” he said. “It’s going to take dedication and practice, but I’m confident and I believe in myself and my team.”