Magic returns for Schram at states

Published Mar 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm (Updated Mar 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm)

While an invisibility cloak served as a secret weapon for Harry Potter, a singlet enabled Connor Schram to weave his magic on the competition at the PIAA wrestling championships last weekend at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Found by his mother, Kristen, in a pile of old uniforms, Schram donned the singlet for his 126-pound final where the Canon-McMillan senior defeated Franklin Regional’s Michael Kemerer, 5-3, and captured his second state title in his career.

A four-year finalist, Schram won a PIAA crown in 2010 as a freshman. Twenty-three pounds lighter, he edged Hempfield’s Austin Miller, 2-1, by ultimate tiebreaker in the same singlet he wore against Kemerer.

“It was a little tight,” Schram said with a laugh. “My mom really wanted me to wear it. She’s a little more superstitious than me.

“I figured it was a good luck charm,” continued the 18-year-old son of Ron Schram. “I never lost in that singlet at the Giant Center.”

After his freshman triumph, Schram finished the state runner-up twice. He lost to Jordan Conaway of New Oxford, 10-4, in the 112-pound finals his sophomore season. His junior year, he dropped an overtime decision, 3-1, to Brashear’s Godwin Nyama.

The losses devastated Schram. “It was the worst feeling,” he said.

Defeat dashed his confidence, too.

“It’s been quite a journey for Connor from last year leaving the Giant Center all the way back up there again,” said CM skipper Chris Mary. “He persevered and he stuck to his goal.

“We had to get in his head that he was the best and that he could win. He had to believe that. Connor hates to lose and winning was the only way for him. He wrestled with a confidence and a determination that I had seen before. It was one of his best efforts. He was tremendous.”

With aplomb, Schram breezed through the competition. After opening with an 11-4 decision against Rodney Sunday from Dallastown, the Stanford recruit scored a technical fall against Nazareth’s Chase Remenak, 20-5. His 7-3 decision over Wyoming’s Kyle Krasavage vaulted him into the finals.

“I just stayed relaxed and composed,” Schram explained. “My objective was to wrestle the best I can and to try to have fun.”

After he scored his first takedown, Schram’s confidence soared even though Kemerer tied the match, 2-2, with a second-period escape. With 1:32 left in the period, Schram registered the decisive takedown against Kemerer, an opponent he had beaten twice before.

“The first takedown is always important,” stressed Schram, “but after the second takedown, I thought I had it won.”

After each wrestler exchanged escapes, Schram had earned his gold medal. He also had ended his scholastic career the way he started it, with a state championship.

“I couldn’t be happier for Connor,” said Mary. “It has to be a great feeling to comeback and be a state champion.”

Schram concurred. “It feels awesome, but it’s also a relief.”

Though two silver medals are sandwiched in between his championships, Schram noted the difference between the two titles. “This one is special,” he said, “because I end on a high note with a state championship and because two of my best buddies were able to win, too. That means a lot.”

Schram not only shares a state crown with his teammates, Solomon Chishko and Cody Wiercioch, he also joins Wiercioch this Sunday, March 17 in the 39th annual Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic at the University of Pittsburgh’s Fitzgerald Field House.

Ranked No. 3 in the country, Schram will wrestle at 126 pounds for the Pennsylvania Team. Schram, who owns a 159-11 career record, battles Joey Dance. The Virginian is ranked No. 1 in the nation.

“Definitely,” Schram said, “being selected for the Dapper Dan is a prestigious honor. I’m excited about participating because I’ll be going against the No. 1 guy in the country.

“I want to beat him,” he added. “That would be cool definitely.”

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