Schram named Dapper Dan Female Sportswoman of the Year

December 31, 2012
Penn State’s Taylor Schram, left, and Florida State’s Ines Jaurena vie for a header during anNCAA women’s college soccer tournament semifinal game in November. Schram, a Canon-McMillan graduate, will receive the Dapper Dan Female Sportswoman of the Year award at the group’s annual event in February. - Associated Press

What began as a year of uncertainty for Taylor Schram ended with some incredible accomplishments.

Schram, a junior on Penn State soccer’s team, wasn’t sure about her future after sustaining a concussion in November, 2011, that was so severe, it cost her seven months of practice time.

The Canon-McMillan High School graduate was finally cleared in the summer and was selected for the U.S. Under-20 World Cup team that won a gold medal. While the World Cup competition cost her some time with the Nittany Lions program – she missed about a dozen matches – Schram was back in enough time to help PSU reach the NCAA finals.

Over the weekend, Schram received a phone call that was totally unexpected. Officials organizing the Dapper Dan Banquet had chosen her as the Female Sportswoman of the Year.

“I was in complete shock,” said Schram. “I called my mother, and she was crying while standing in the middle of Marshall’s. She was shopping.”

Schram beat a number of talented and distinguished female athletes: WNBA and former McKeesport standout Swin Cash, Olympic volleyball player Christa Harmotto and Olympic diver Cassidy Krug.

Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutcheon was picked for the Sportsman of the Year.

“I was just honored to be in the same category,” said Schram. “I am in complete shock.”

The 77th Annual Dapper Dan Dinner & Sports Auction will be held Feb. 6 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

“I found out two weeks ago I was (nominated),” Schram said. “Honestly, I didn’t think I stood a chance at all.”

Schram suffered her concussion while competing in the NCAA soccer championships, and she was frustrated at how long the recovery process took. But she was cleared in May, giving her enough time to attend the final tryout camp for the United States team.

“They pulled me in at the last minute,” she said. “I’d been out for so long. But I made the World Cup team.”

The United States team won five matches to make it to the finals, where Germany awaited. The U.S. team won the tournament with a 1-0 victory. Schram played midfielder, her college position.

“I began playing when I was 3 or 4,” Schram said. “My dad (Ron) coached my first team, the Orange Crush, and he says that was the best team I ever played on.”

The Nittany Lions had a historic 2012 season, reaching the national championship finals for the first time in school history. Penn State lost to North Carolina, 4-1, but Schram had the lone goal for her team.

Christmas break gave her some much appreciated rest and a chance to see her brother, Connor, wrestle at the Powerade Tournament. Connor Schram won the 126-pound title by default when Michael Kemerer of Franklin Regional could not continue the match after being taken down.

“He’s a superstar,” Taylor said. “We’re so competitive with each other. It’s been that way since we were kids. That’s what makes us so close.”

Schram begins practice for the new season at Penn State in a couple weeks. After she graduates, she hopes to get drafted into a new women’s professional soccer league that will begin play in 2013 with teams in eight major cities: Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, Western New York, New Jersey, Portland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

“Their draft is in January,” she said. “I still have one year left in college. That’s the goal.”

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling. He has worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Jeannette News-Dispatch and North Hills Record. He graduated from Duquesne University in 1980.

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