Graham High School
Chad Simonson’s achievements alone could have been enough for him to be honored as one of Pierce County’s most deserving student-athletes, but his way of realizing his many accomplishments has been truly inspirational. Chad’s story explains why he is the TAC’s Tom Names Inspirational Award winner for 2018 and a $5,000 scholarship. He is the 4A state champion in wrestling at 145 pounds. He has a 3.9 grade point average. He has 1115 career wins in three seasons and he won the Iron Eagle team award for never missing a practice or event. He was a member of the Academic State Championship team, the team captain in wrestling, and the student body President. He also found time to compete in track & field, finishing 4th in the state tournament in the Pole Vault. If this sounds like it was difficult to achieve, you’ve only heard the half of it. He was a 3-year Class President. In the community he spent his time coaching youth wrestlers, the Racing Team, was a Highway Cleanup Volunteer, and a volunteer at a Homeless Shelter and Tacoma’s Nativity House. His state championship in wrestling tells the inspirational part of his story best. G-K’s athletic director tells it like this. “Chad has overcome obstacles with dignity and aplomb throughout his career here. He became a 3-time state placer and champion despite missing his sophomore season due to knee surgery. He was always striving to improve his craft. Although he had placed at every tournament he had entered, he had never won until the end of this season. He kept on believing. He kept pushing. He never lost faith. The state finals were a rematch of the Regional Finals, which he lost. Early at the state finals he got caught on his back. He was down 5-0 entering the 2nd round. He kept working. At the end of round two he was down 7-4. He had to take down his opponent multiple times in the last round. He tied the match with mere seconds left in regulation and it went into overtime. In that overtime he showed patience, set up and executed the perfect take down to be crowned state champion. Inspirational enough? Truly it was. Almost too good to be true.