JuliAnne Chisholm is busy.
The Kansas State senior has been planning for her summer wedding, preparing for medical school, and doing that other thing — playing on the women’s basketball team.
Yes, “downtime” may not have much of a meaning for the Hillsboro native, who along with four other seniors will celebrate senior day this Saturday against Texas Tech.
“I got a lot of wedding plans done before school started in August,” the aspiring family physician said. “It’s kind of been on the down-low — haven’t really had the option since the season started — but now it’s starting to pick up a bit, because it’s almost 100 days until the wedding.
“I have to get my act together and start getting the details pounded out.”
Chisholm has been a mainstay in K-State athletics longer than most. Her Wildcat career started in 2007 as a volleyball player, and she was a key part of the program for four years. Chisholm was second on the volleyball team in kills her senior season and had five double-doubles that year. Chisholm led the team in kills and attacks in 2009.
It wasn’t long before she put on another purple jersey, though.
With two years of eligibility remaining to play basketball, Chisholm saw her first action for the basketball team against South Dakota State as a junior. The game was Nov. 30, 2010. She officially joined the team just four days before — only days after the volleyball season had ended.
K-State head basketball coach Deb Patterson — who had originally recruited Chisholm for hoops before she signed for volleyball — said she was thrilled to still end up with her.
“I’m extremely happy (we got her),” Patterson said. “It was a neat thing to know that she had the interest. There are so many days I walk into this arena and think JuliAnne could have hung up her shoes, the things she could have done after volleyball. She could have been on to her 4.0 (GPA) life, preparing for her marriage, and yet, here she is, every single day, giving and helping to make this basketball program better.
“She is a consummate worker, a great teammate. I just feel so blessed she’s here. I think of that all the time.”
While Chisholm was at the forefront for the K-State volleyball team, she has been more of a role player for the basketball team.
Chisholm is averaging 8.3 minutes a game this season and is right at two points per game. She scored a season-high 10 points against Missouri last month — a night she was 2-for-2 from behind the arc. Against Texas A&M earlier this month, Chisholm scored six points. Then this past Saturday, she scored four points and hauled down two rebounds in the Wildcats’ loss at Missouri.
Patterson said she has been impressed with the care Chisholm has brought to the team, especially considering her role-player designation.
“There’s no reason she has to be here,” Patterson said. “Her role is not one of which she’s playing 30 to 35 minutes. So, that is even more significant, and speaks even more about her character.”
Chisholm, who will be partaking in her second senior night on Saturday, said the mental game of both volleyball and basketball has presented learning opportunities.
“Patience in general,” she said. “Being patient in yourself, patient in the learning curve, patient with your teammates, with the ball — patience in everything. The more patient you are, the more the game slows down for you.
“Both sports are very heady games. You don’t always have to be the fastest player, but you have to be able to read things and make the smart plays.”
Chisholm said she’ll miss the time she’s had with her teammates.
“They are just a bunch of goofballs,” she said. “They are so fun to be around and no matter what we are doing — we can be around each other 24/7 — we still manage to have fun. There is always a laugh… always a joke.
“But the nice part about it is that they know how to work, too. You get the best of both worlds.”
Overall — and despite the busy schedules filled with daunting practices and tough study habits that saw her selected as an All-Academic selection year in, year out — both in the Big 12 and nationally — Chisholm looks back at her athletic career with positive reflection.
“It’s been a long ride, but it’s been a good ride,” she said. “I have definitely learned a lot and have had a good time doing it. A lot of girls coming out of a sport like this say they’ve gained a family. Well I’ve gained two families (in my time at K-State). I’ve had a good time with tons of friends. It’s been a blast.”