May 9, 2012
By Mark Janssen
In the K-State women's basketball media guide, JuliAnne Chisholm defines herself as having a good work ethic, being a passionate person, and one that is versatile.
All of that was well advertised as a four-year letterman in 102 career volleyball matches, which was followed by joining the Wildcat women's basketball team for the 2011 Big 12 season, and complete in the 2011-12 campaign.
Work ethic... check. Passion... check. Versatility... check.
But wait! There's more.
This weekend Chisholm will walk the stage to pick up her diploma having graduated as an even better student than she was athlete. With "A's" decorating her resume, she will graduate with a dual major in athletic training and life science, plus a dual minor in biology and kinesiology.
She will put all of that to use next Fall at the University of Kansas Medical School in Salina where she starts her studies to become a physician focusing on family practice.
While an official graduate as of Saturday, as Chisholm says, "I just can't let go. I'm going to squeeze every drop of experience out of Kansas State that I can."
That will mean adding yet another sport to her Wildcat resume as she joins the K-State track team at the Big 12 Championships on Sunday afternoon, becoming the first three-sport Wildcat athlete since the non-scholarship days of the sport in the 1960s.
Sure, Kendra Wecker threw the javelin one spring after a stellar basketball season, but not even Wecker pulled off the tri-sport feat.
"I would have regretted not asking for the opportunity," said Chisholm. "I asked coach (Cliff) Rovelto, and he didn't say no. He said, `Let's give it a try.' "
Just as she had asked head coach Deb Patterson if she could join her basketball team after an award-winning volleyball career, and she didn't say no.
WHAT AN ATHELTE!
At Kansas' Hillsboro High School, Chisholm earned a total of 12 letters in volleyball, basketball and track. It's difficult to say which was her best sport, as she was all-state in basketball and volleyball, but also a seven-time... that's seven-time... Class 3A state champion in track in the high jump, 300-meter hurdles and 4x400 relay team.
Even today, five years after her graduation, Chisholm still holds school records in the high jump, 100-meter hurdles, 300-hurdles and 1,600-meter run.
Now as a Wildcat, she has six letters to her credit in volleyball (4) and basketball (2), plus will be high jumping Sunday afternoon in the Big 12 Outdoor Championships at R.V. Christian Track.
With a career-best of 5-foot-9 inches in high school, and winning state high jump titles at 5-7, 5-8, 5-8 and 5-8, "... like riding a bike" she started her K-State high jump career by clearing 5-6 at a competition at the University of Nebraska this past weekend.
"I have a knack for making adjustments fairly quickly," said Chisholm of picking up quick tips from Rovelto starting exactly four weeks ago. "Whatever he's trying to tell me, I try to put into what I'm doing. I just can't let go of competing. It's just my nature."
The Rovelto-way is not new to Chisholm. In high school, she remembers her coach buying Rovelto's video tapes on the high jump and "... he would watch those and try to translate those to me, so the broad concepts of coach Rovelto are not new. But we both know there are so many areas we can't even begin to work on because there is no time. We're just relying on the past, but my body hasn't thought about some of these techniques for quite some time."
Chisholm knows that realistically she shouldn't be entered in Sunday's meet. After all, there are at least a dozen Big 12 jumpers who have cleared 5-8, which happens to be her height-goal for the weekend.
While Chisholm's volleyball career lasted four years, and her basketball year lasted a year and a half, this weekend likely will be her final track meet of her four-week career.
"When I played my last basketball game I was a mess... tears everywhere and just a sob story," she said. "I realize I would never play on the Bramlage floor again. I would not get that privilege any more. Finally, I said, `It's ok, my time is over,' but it was so hard."
Hard, but she knew that, at 23 years of age, she was the granny-player on a roster of... well, in her words, "I feel so much older than these freshmen. (Laughing) They're just babies... little girls."
POST WILDCAT DAYS
When her last jump is made as a K-State track athlete, Chisholm will marry Drew Rathbun on June 9, before entering her own infant stages toward becoming Dr. Chisholm in the Fall.
She just earned a scholarship from the KU Medical School that will pay her schooling of roughly $45,000 per year for the next four years. In return, her promise to the scholarship is to stay in the Sunflower State as serve as a "rural" family practice doctor.
By "rural" that means any county in Kansas other than Shawnee, Johnson, Douglas and Sedgwick. So yes, that could mean that Chisholm could bring her practice to a community like Manhattan.
"That's all in God's hands, but wouldn't that be wonderful," Chisholm admitted.
As for how that wedding day might compare to preparing for an NCAA volleyball match, or a Big 12 Tournament basketball game, Chisholm said, "I've wondered about that myself. I know a lot of preparation time goes into both, but I hope this will be different.
"In sports, I'm very somber and focused on game day. I'm not one of those laughing and joking girls in the locker room," said Chisholm. "With the wedding, I hope I will be stress-free and smiling on the best day of my life."