Schram, Wiercioch named Most Valuable Grapplers

Published Apr 2, 2013 at 10:26 am (Updated Apr 2, 2013 at 10:26 am)

A poster of Dan Gable hangs on the wall of the Canon-McMillan wrestling room. It has inspired greatness in many a Big Mac, including Connor Schram and Cody Wiercioch. In fact, both Canon-Mac grapplers have adopted Gable’s philosophy on and off the mats.

“Dan Gable said, ‘once you wrestle, everything else in life is easy,’” said Schram.

“It’s so true,” concurred Wiercioch, who shares Almanac Most Valuable Grappler honors with his teammate.

“Wrestling is one of the most difficult things you will do in life,” Schram added. “The discipline and hard work it requires makes you appreciate everything and teaches you life-long lessons that enable you to be successful.”

Thanks to the sport, Schram and Wiercioch certainly have been successful.

In his Canonsburg home, Schram has a trophy room to accommodate his achievements. This year, he added five gold medals, two for team competition as the Big Macs claimed WPIAL and PIAA titles, and three for individual accomplishments from section to state triumphs. The crowning feat was the gold from winning the PIAA title. The 126-pound wrestler had been a four-time state finalist, but had not won a PIAA championship since his freshman year.

“To start out your career with a state title and to end it with one,” said Schram of his bookend titles. “It was such an amazing feeling to win.”

Winning propels Schram.

“Winning is the only way for him,” said CM skipper Chris Mary. “Connor hates to lose.”

In his career, Schram seldom lost. He racked up 159 victories and only 12 defeats, the last coming against the No. 1 wrestler in the country during the Classic.

“We’re so proud of Connor and all his efforts,” said Mary. “He’s part of our wrestling family.”

After winning a state crown as well as runner-up title at Charleroi, Wiercioch joined the Big Mac clan as a junior.

“It could have been rough,” said Wiercioch of the transfer to Canon-McMillan. “I felt welcome and everything fit right.”

Wrestling was the right fit for Wiercioch. A friend on his youth football team convinced him to try the sport in fifth grade. In a few more years, he quit football to focus on wrestling.

“I liked wrestling better than football because it was more individually focused. It was all on you,” Wiercioch said. “If you win, you reap the rewards. It feels great to win.”

Winning is all Wiercioch does and that is why he fit in at Canon-McMillan. A four-time state finalist, like Schram, he capped his scholastic career with a third PIAA title and a showcase appearance in the Dapper Dan Classic, where he was taken down for only the first time in his career at CM.

“Cody will go down as one of the school’s, if not the state’s, best competitors,” Mary said. “He will be remembered as one of the best. What a career. Absolutely amazing.”

Wiercioch compiled a career record of 167-6, including his loss in the Classic. He was 44-1 this season, falling to nationally ranked Chance Marsteller.

“The season was great actually,” said the Muse resident. “It would have been better if I had no losses. But I’ll take it I guess. There were probably a few things I could have done better.”

Off the mats, there isn’t much Schram and Wiercioch can do better either. Both are honor students.

Wiercioch will wrestle at Pitt while pursuing an academic path that could lead to a medical career. He hopes to become both an NCAA champion as well as an anesthesiologist.

Schram, who pulls down a 4.5 GPA and is involved in National Honor Society, will wrestle at Stanford. He is leaning towards a career in medicine as his brother, Ron, who attends Clemson, is on track to become a doctor.

“That put that idea in my mind,” said Schram of his brother’s pursuits. “Hopefully though when I go to Stanford, I will find a passion and do that.

“I will wrestle,” he stressed. “The ultimate goal is to win a NCAA title and get a degree and job. Then start my life after wrestling.”

When asked if there is life after wrestling, Schram replied, “I hope so.”

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