Hardworking, dedicated and goofy. Those words, among others, are few of the many words that describe Maryville wrestling junior Connor Weiss.
Connor Weiss, a state champion in football, is also a two-time state qualifier in wrestling. He’s seeking to continue that streak when the Spoofhounds compete in the District 4 Class 2 tournament Feb. 14-15.
Connor Weiss started wrestling in the second grade and has ever since, amounting to nine years of experience. His dad and grandpa, Connor Weiss said, were the ones who peaked his interest in wrestling.
Winding down his third year of high school, his goals are to become a state champion.
“I’m just gonna go compete to the best of my ability and push myself so I can stand on the podium at the end of the season,” Connor Weiss said.
Connor Weiss has gotten high praise from his family, friends and teammates for his work ethic and the overall person he is. Childhood friend and Maryville wrestling alumnus Jackson Sanders said Connor Weiss is like his little brother and gives credit for how hard Connor Weiss works as an athlete.
“Connor is one of the most hardworking kids I have seen in a while,” Sanders said. “He doesn't give up; he never quits and always goes.”
Connor Weiss is mentally and physically strong, Sanders said. He can sometimes be a little stubborn, but that’s what makes him great, Sanders added.
Junior Kieren Watkins has wrestled with Connor Weiss since they were both in elementary school. The connection, Watkins said, has always been strong.
“He’s always been a good friend of mine,” Watkins said. “He is always a leader and wanting to help out and do his part. … Connor has helped grow the program.”
Connor Weiss’s sister, freshman Katie Weiss, also had high praise for her brother and best friend. As of this year, the siblings have both been a part of the Maryville wrestling team.
“He is always pushing me to be a better person and athlete,” Katie Weiss said. “He also pushed our team as well as himself.”
Katie Weiss and Watkins both said that Connor Weiss is extremely committed to what he does. Whether it's out on the football field, or out on the mat, he holds his teammates to high standards.
“He is 100% the kind of guy that doesn't care about individual awards; he cares about the team and always pushes us to be better,” Katie Weiss said. “Connor is the type of person that will always invest his time into anything he is doing and is a great person outside of the wrestling room, and he has a lot of respect for others.”
One word reverberated by Watkins and Sanders was dedication, particularly used to describe Connor Weiss. That trait can be seen in the way that he carries himself.
“In the off-season, Connor works really hard, lifts weights like crazy and conditions,” Watkins said. “He goes to wrestling and football camps to make sure he is at his full potential and that he is the best athlete he can be.”
Being a leader of the wrestling team, Connor Weiss wants everyone in the program to have a tight bond so they can all accomplish the same goal.
Connor Weiss’s motivation to keep the grind going is, in part, because the team looks up to him. In some ways, that’s brought light to something he feels responsible for.
“Knowing that I need to keep myself and teammates accountable to work as hard as we can,” Connor Weiss said. “And being that role model in the wrestling room.”
Being an athlete, Connor Weiss said, has taught him a lot. The lifestyle has made him better as a person as well.
“I have just grown up to be a better person and treat people how they want to be treated,” Connor Weiss said. “A lot of that comes from all of my coaches and parents constantly pushing me to improve.”
After this season, he’ll have one year left of high school athletics. Connor Weiss isn't sure what his future athletic career holds, he’s taking it one day at a time.
“I'm not quite sure what my athletic future holds,” Connor Weiss said. “But hopefully things land on my table and all the hard work pays off in any sport.”