GRID Resurgence: Tom Sroka’s Comeback

by | May 24, 2024 | Player Features & Interviews | 0 comments

In the realm of competitive sports and all it entails, there are a breed of players that push the boundaries of speed and skill, honing their athleticism for the pursuit of victory in specific niches of competition. Among these fearless contenders stands a man whose name has been circulated in the Grid community with an air of trepidation.

Tom Sroka.

  • 3x NCAA All-American in Shot Put
  • 2013 USAW American Open Championship 105kg+
  • 2015-2016 SAGL All-Star team
  • 2016 Drafted to the NPGL NY Rhinos
  • Team USA MAS Wrestling World Cup 2017 (6th place) and World Championships 2018 (4th place)
  • 2017-Present Professional Highland Games athlete
  • 2021 United States Strongman Overall Heavyweight National Champion
  • 2021 Strongman Corporation Nationals 5th Place
  • 2022 Arnold Amateur World Championships 9th Place

“If there’s something to do in strength sports there’s a chance that I’ve done it and I’ve done it at a high level.” Says Tom of his extensive athletic career after a pause of disbelief at his accomplishments. The Wild player answered the call from his home in Raleigh, North Carolina where he trains himself and works with clients under his training program The Strength Agenda.

Along with a resume as well rounded as you can make one for a strength specialist in this league comes the experience of being a part of the sport of Grid before it evolved into the game we see today. His stint with the New York Rhinos as part of the National Pro Grid League has given him the doorway to earn his spot on the Atlanta Wild this season.

“Dan (Jackson) and I have been friends since the original Grid League, he randomly saw me through Instagram’s search engine training for Strongman last year and messaged me out of the blue. He told me he owned the Wild and we got to talking and that’s how I ended up on the team. I knew Grid was still around and had watched the Championship match last year. I’m still on the Pro circuit for the Highland games so now I’m training both simultaneously.”

Coach Dan Jackson, previous Assistant Coach of the NPGL team the Miami Surge and current Coach and Owner of the Atlanta Wild, put in a trade offer for Sroka to come in to his team from the Rhinos, but the New York team ultimately wasn’t ready to give him up and blocked the opportunity. Despite the failed attempt to work together, they remained friendly through the ultimate defunction of the previous league.

In speaking about the sport and history of Grid itself came another question that opposing teams are wondering. Grid, while it takes a considerable amount of skill, relies heavily on teamwork and the communication amongst players to succeed. How would his last few years of individual/solitary competition play out on the four quadrants?

“Dan has assembled a ridiculously talented group of people. I’m looking forward to being part of a team where I can just plug in without feeling the need to do so much or to impress just because I know for a fact that my team, collectively, will play their roles and work together to do what needs to be done.”

The strength specialist then goes on to specifically name players on his team and their special skills, showing just how extensive his understanding of the game is, as well as the chemistry he has to have with his other Wild teammates to express such sentiments.

In the heart of any athlete on the Grid comes one thing they all have in common- the want to win. When I asked Tom about who he was looking forward to competing against the most, the answer came out of his mouth before I even had the chance to finish my question.

“Taylar Stallings. The Orlando Aces. (Taylar) set the standard very early on in the Grid League for what a strength specialist can do but didn’t need to, she can do all the elements like handstand pushups and muscle ups, and so when I initially got drafted that’s the standard I set myself to. I taught myself all of those skills as a result and it’s come in handy multiple times (in the NPGL).  All these years later, I just think it would be really cool to be on the same floor as her and thank her for all she’s done for the sport and for strong people like us for breaking us out of that traditional mold. Especially because we previously competed in the same division and I’m excited to showcase what I can still do on the Grid.”

The Ringer Points, something new to Sroka, is the race he is most looking forward to running, especially the Farmer Carry and Yoke Carry elements that are reminiscent of his experience with Strongman sports. He also hints to his aptitude for the Flip Sled, saying that he can’t wait to “manhandle it” and show the North what he’s made of.

Sroka, making it very clear he’s in it to win it, is definitely an addition that fans are looking forward to. The competitiveness and experience emanating from this 2024 Wild team is one that must not be underestimated.

Article by Cassie Martinez

Grid League Commentator and Reporter

 

 

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