Connor Schram returns to Pennsylvania wrestling for the first time since he was a high school athlete.
Schram comes to Lehigh with a decorated undergraduate wrestling career at Stanford. While there, he was named an All-American, qualified for the NCAA tournament three times out of four seasons and earned the title of PAC-12 champion during his redshirt-freshman season. Schram completed his career as a member of the Cardinal with a 65-22 overall record.
After a knee injury ended his career at Stanford early in his redshirt-senior season, the NCAA granted Schram a sixth season of eligibility. Schram will complete his final season as a collegiate wrestler as a Mountain Hawk. He will be furthering his education at Lehigh by studying educational leadership after earning both an undergraduate and master’s degree at Stanford in science, technology and society.
His move to the East Coast is not random — Schram grew up wrestling in the Lehigh Valley alongside former Mountain Hawk and NCAA champion Darian Cruz. In high school, Schram was a four-time PIAA finalist and two-time state champion wrestler at Canon-McMillan High School in Canonsburg, PA.
“I think he is going to do great. He actually beat me two years ago when he was at Stanford,” Cruz said. “I’m excited for him to fill my shoes, I couldn’t ask for a better athlete to come in and get the job done.”
Cruz said Schram called him first to talk about transferring to Lehigh.
“It feels great being back in PA,” Schram said. “The wrestling community here is second to none, and even though I wasn’t born in the valley, it feels like home.”
The All-American achieved a national ranking of No. 11 while at Stanford, before his injury.
Schram suffered a tear in his LCL, PCL and part of his ACL when an opponent pulled back his foot during a match.
“It was one of the toughest things I’ve been through in my career,” Schram said. “Thinking my career was over was a lot to deal with, especially because it was over due to injury and not on my own terms.”
After a difficult and painful seven-month healing process, Schram said he felt incredibly blessed when he was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. He was in contact with schools about joining their wrestling programs and decided Lehigh was the perfect fit.
Lehigh’s incoming 2018 wrestling class earned a top 25 national ranking from InterMat in the spring. Schram will be completing his sixth year of collegiate wrestling with the Mountain Hawks.
Schram emphasized Lehigh’s outstanding tradition, partners and coaching staff. Schram developed a close relationship with the coaching staff and felt comfortable trusting them to make decisions regarding his health and ability to perform.
Schram said he has already learned an extensive amount from the coaches and his teammates.
“I loved Stanford, it’s an amazing place, but I think Lehigh is more wrestling-oriented with a more efficient training cycle,” Schram said.
Schram said he has already become familiar with the Mountain Hawks in the short time he has been a part of the team.
“(Schram) has made an immediate positive impact on the team,” junior Jordan Wood said. “As soon as he got to Lehigh, it immediately felt like we have known him for forever and meshed really well.”
Woods believes that Schram will be a huge contributor in facing tough opponents like Michigan, Penn State and Cornell. He cited his work ethic and talent as two huge bonuses to the team in regards to the team’s goals for the season.
The Mountain Hawks will begin their season on Nov. 1 in Grace Hall with wrestle-offs.