Senior Spotlight: Thomas Edwards, Johnston

By Joshua Swafford for The Predicament

Senior Spotlight: Thomas Edwards, Johnston

When did you start wrestling? Who introduced you to the sport?
We started wrestling in kindergarten. Our parents got us started as a way to burn some energy and move some wrestling from the living room to the mat.

Do you have any family who wrestled before you? How did they do?
My uncle wrestled in high school and so did my cousin.

Did you catch on to wrestling quickly or was it a gradual process?
I caught on pretty quickly. It was nice because I always had my twin brother, James as a partner.

What club did you wrestle for growing up and how would you describe your experience with the club?
I wrestled for four different clubs including Anthony Porcelli, The Wrestling Academy, Viking Wrestling Club, and now with Pablo Ubasa. I had a great experience at all of the clubs, they made me better in different ways.

What are a couple memorable moments from youth wrestling?
I will always remember wrestling my brother all the time at tournament and traveling to wrestle in big tournaments.

How did you finish at state tournaments in youth?
I only made it to AAU state once and didn’t place.

What are some of your more memorable moments from high school wrestling to this point?
Some memorable moments from high school would be winning districts all three years so far and winning CIML last year.

How did you finish at the state tournaments you wrestled in at the HS level to this point?
I didn’t place Freshman year, 6th Sophomore year, and 5th last year.

No one came on stronger than you did at the end of last year. In fact, you beat 2 out of the 3 state champs at your weight (Doolittle and Taylor). You were most certainly in the conversation to win state last year and will be again this year. How confident are you in your ability to accomplish this and how hard have you worked to do so?

I can’t be too confident yet because then I won’t be working as hard. I try to gain confidence as the year goes on, and that is going to take a lot of work. So far I’ve been working with Pablo Ubasa a lot this offseason as well as lifting and running.

Who were your wrestling heroes growing up? Who are your current wrestling heroes?
Thomas Gilman was a big hero of mine because of the way he wrestled and his confidence off the mat. One of my current wrestling heroes is Austin Gomez because of his ability to end a match so quickly.

Do you find yourself rooting for, looking up to or having a bias for other wrestlers who are twins, given only twins? If so, who are some other twins that stick out to you as being your favorites?

There are not a lot of twins currently wrestling at a higher level, however, I look up to the Brands because of all the stories that Pablo tells us of them being insanely tough.

Was there ever a point in your career where you noticed yourself jumping levels and making huge strides?
I made a big stride from 8th grade to 9th grade. I was short and chubby in 8th grade and struggled to make 110 then 9th grade I wrestled 106 and that year was the first year I gained confidence.

Who have been some of your toughest competitors in HS to this point in your career?
I have had a lot of tough competitors throughout high school, however, one that stands out is Drake Doolittle. He was very tough to wrestle but also very nice and respectful off the mat.

What was your most memorable state tournament?
My most memorable state tournament was last year because I went out there to compete and have fun I didn’t care about who I was wrestling.

What are your wrestling goals for this coming season?
My goal is to win a state title. I also want our team to make it back to state duals.

How would you describe your wrestling style? Who would you compare yourself to?
I don’t really stick to a specific style. I like to do different styles based on what I feel from my opponent. It also gives me an advantage because then people don’t know what is coming.

Do you have any regrets from wrestling that you want to make up for as a Senior?
One regret I have from wrestling is Freshman year I went out for baseball which conflicted with freestyle so I didn’t start wrestling freestyle till Sophomore year. So I wish that I would have started freestyle sooner.

What other sports do you play and how have you done at them?
Freshman year I played football, baseball and also wrestled. After that year I only focused on wrestling.

What are some of your hobbies besides wrestling?
I like to ride four wheelers, hunt, fish, and I like to work on dirt bikes, go carts, and four wheeler engines.

What is some of the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I ever received was from Hal Turner who told me, “take no prisoners” and that has really stuck with me throughout the years.

Do you have any advice for up and coming wrestlers?
The only piece of advice I have for up and coming wrestlers is don’t hold anything back.

What is your favorite style of wrestling? Folkstyle, Freestyle or Greco?
My favorite style is freestyle.

Who were some of the most influential coaches you worked with?
The whole Johnston wrestling coaching staff influences me to do my best on the mat. Some other influential coaches I’ve had over the years were Pablo Ubassa, Hal Turner, Nate Gallick, Anthony Porcelli and Ty Knowler.

What are your college plans? Is wrestling in your future whether it be competing or coaching?
I would like to wrestle in college, however the school is undecided.

What is the future outlook for Johnston wrestling?
The future for Johnston wrestling is bright. There are lots of studs coming up.