Schram, Coyne, Smith named top Almanac winners

Published May 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm (Updated May 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm)

Connor Schram and Kristina Coyne were named The Almanac’s male and female athletes of the year for 2013 at the 23rd annual Premier Performers Banquet, held May 19 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Upper St. Clair.

In addition, Regan Smith from Chartiers Valley won the prestigious Waldie/Shaeffer Scholarship Award for his commitment to serving his country in the military.

More than 230 guests attended the event, which recognized 53 students from the weekly newspaper’s readership area for their excellence in athletics, academics and community service.

A Canon-McMillan senior, Schram beat out a competitive field that included: Princeton-bound Tyler Roth from Mt. Lebanon, South Fayette’s Zach Challingsworth, who will play football at Pitt, and Michael Fetchet, who will wrestle at Columbia. The Top 10 also included Seton-La Salle’s Luke Brumbaugh, Upper St. Clair’s Pete Coughlin, Peters Township’s Mike Minjock, Bethel Park’s Brody Taylor, Chartiers-Houston’s Garrett Vulcano as well as Schram’s teammate, Cody Wiercioch, who will wrestle at Pitt.

Schram and Wiercioch shared Almanac Most Valuable Grappler honors during the wrestling season. Both finished as PIAA champions and were the only two in the top 10 to reach the pinnacle in their sport.

Several factors separated Schram from the field as well as his teammate. Schram distinguished himself further in the classroom and in a leadership role. He maintains a 4.5 QPA and belongs to National Honor Society and the French Honor Society. He will wrestle at Stanford while pursuing a path in medicine. He plans to become a doctor.

Athletically, Schram finished his career as Canon-McMillan’s second all-time winningest wrestler and the No. 2 wrestler in the country. His four-year record was 159-11. Schram was a four-time state finalist, three-time WPIAL and Southwest Regional champion, four-time section champion as well as the 2012 Powerade Winner. He wrestled in the Dapper Dan Classic and the USA Dream Team Classic.

A team captain, he guided Canon-McMillan to four section banners, four consecutive WPIAL team titles and three PIAA team championships.

“Connor was a leader for us,” said his coach Chris Mary. “He’s been a four-time state finalist at the top level of Class AAA and he’s a very good student as his acceptance to Stanford indicates. Connor will be a success in life because he works hard and he hates to lose.”

Schram collected a trophy case full of individual accolades, including Almanac Most Valuable Grappler, twice, O-R All-District Team and four Almanac all-star awards.

Meanwhile, Coyne distinguished herself out of a field that featured last year’s winner, Angela Heintz of Seton-La Salle, Peters Township junior Veronica Latsko, a state champion and national All-American, and Duke lacrosse recruit Caitlin Carey, who also played on PT’s state title team in soccer.

Among the other contenders for the female athlete of the year award were: BP’s Angelina Baroffio and Megan Marecic, USC’s Betsy Erlanger, Lebo’s Katie Ford, Canon-Mac’s Olivia Lorusso and Chartiers-Houston’s Piper McLaughlin.

Coyne captured the top athlete award in part because she paved a path for others. According to her coaches, she is an elite athlete and excellent student, but they have never encountered a better person.

“Kristina has an impossibly large heart, the patience of Job, the will of Mandela and the loyalty of Abraham,” said her basketball coach Spencer Stefko. “She’s an inspiration to all. She breaks barriers and instills in others that there are no limitations on what can be achieved.”

Coyne did not limit herself to traditional female sports. She played football, plus track, basketball, volleyball and soccer. She finished her career as the all-time CV record holder with 15 varsity letters. Plus, she holds the school record for the high. With a silver in that event and a fourth in the high hurdles during the WPIAL championships, Coyne again qualified for the PIAA finals set for next weekend in Shippensburg.

Coyne also was a four-year letterwinner and three-year starter in basketball. She led CV to three section titles and three state Final Four appearances. This winter, she captained the Colts to the Quad-A finals and a runner-up showing.

In volleyball, she was all-section as a middle hitter. She’s a two-time PIAA state qualifier in indoor track and an all-section sweeper in soccer. In football, she earned All-Conference acclaim as a placekicker. Academically, Coyne maintained a 3.9 GPA. She is the SADD president. She participated in the LeadAmerica Leadership Conference and is a member of National Honor Society, Renaissance and French Clubs at school.

Coyne will run for Eastern Michigan and major in criminology.

Meanwhile, Regan Smith will enlist in the Army upon graduation from Chartiers Valley. He competed in cross country, track and wrestling.

“Regan has dreamed about being in the military,” said his coach Lori Poe. “I am confident that he will be a success. His leadership abilities are impressive. People respond to his direction and look up to him.”

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