Thursday, September 11, 2014

Freeman Profiles Sam Gromacki

from today's Waukesha Freeman -

Gromacki a throwback player
 Memorial senior enjoys the label
Catholic Memorial senior Sam Gromacki, left, received all-state honors as a junior. Charles Auer/Freeman Staff 
Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA — Sam Gromacki was born in the wrong decade.

The Catholic Memorial High School senior defensive lineman is not all about himself. He’s not shy when it comes to hitting. And he’s not going to back away from hard work.

“Sam is no different than the kids I had in the ’70s,” CMH coach Bill Young said. “He’s kind of a throwback. He loves to compete and has a great attitude at practice every day. He’s a real physical kid that enjoys contact. He’s just a real competitor.”

And Young knows a lot about high school athletes, as it’s the coach’s 41st year coaching football at Memorial. Young said players are just different nowadays, and what separates Gromacki from your typical high school senior is he cares more about the team than himself.

“He’s got one speed, and that’s 150 percent,” Young
said. “He never dogs it, and he makes our kids offensively practice very hard because you can’t single block him. He draws a lot of double teams. He’s just a nasty, competitive kid that loves to practice.”

Gromacki likes being called an old school guy. He said there’s a lot of smack talk on and off the field, but
he’s not about that.

“Coach always tells me that I’m a throwback, and it puts a smile on my face,” Gromacki said. “I don’t know (why the game has changed). They care about the name on the back a little bit more than the name on the front. It takes more than just one player to win a game.”

Maybe that’s what made him a first-team all-conference and honorable mention all-state player.

Gromacki likes staying out of the spotlight. He’s happy to take on double teams nearly every play so the linebackers can get the tackle. The more a team double teams him, the more players he gets to hit.

“It’s not the most glorious position, but you get your plays here or there,” Gromacki said. “I’m not a big talker or gloat. It’s all about the sport to me. It’s not about the tackles or sacks, it’s about winning games.”

When Gromacki has been on the field, Memorial has won plenty of games. The Crusaders were the WIAA Division 3 state champions his sophomore season, and he had five tackles in the title game against Waupaca. CMH is 3-0 this season and
has allowed just seven points in three games. The CMH starters have yet to be scored upon, something that gives Gromacki a great sense of pride.

“Coach is always working us hard in practice, and our defense is what our team is built around,” Gromacki said. “I take a lot of pride being on this defense, because I know how big it is on our team.”

Memorial’s defense will get a true test Friday night as it plays two-time defending WIAA Division 1 champion Arrowhead at Carroll University. However, Gromacki said he’s up for any challenge and thinks the Crusaders’ defense is good enough to run the table this season. He knows it’s inevitable teams will score against the defense in such a tough Classic 8 Conference, but he said it’s not going to be many points. And if a team is going to score, he thinks it will have to be on a big play, as he has confident in his team’s defense that not many offenses will be able to drive the length of the field.

The only knock a person can have against Gromacki is his height. Young thinks Gromacki’s 5-foot-10, 275pound frame is the only reason why NCAA Division I coaches haven’t come around recruiting him.

“The good Lord makes your height and you can coach them up all you want, but you can’t coach height,” Young said. “He’s a tough football player. Sam goes hard on every play, and you will never challenge him in practice to go harder. He’s a kid that loves to compete.”

Gromacki wants to play football next year, and he was a little upset Division I coaches haven’t come calling because of his lack of
height, but he’s got a different way of thinking when it comes to his stature.

“Every coach says low man wins,” Gromacki said. “I’ve played against all the guys. I’ve played against George Panos (an Arrowhead graduate who plays at Wisconsin). I’ve played against Jaden Gault (a Monona Grove graduate who is at Wisconsin). I’ve played against all of them and held my own. I wish I was a little bit taller just because when they see 5-10 they stop looking. I wish I was taller to show them what I’ve got.”

The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point interests Gromacki early in the recruiting process. He likes the team and he likes the outdoors education opportunities the school offers. He has other interests from Division II schools and would go that route depending the school — and if there was a scholarship
offer. Gromacki excels in the trenches of another sport, too. Gromacki placed fifth in the WIAA Division 2 state wrestling tournament last year. He said wrestling is his most mentally challenging sport, and after every winter he comes out a better athlete.

“It helps you with your conditioning, strength and balance, and also the mental part of it,” Gromacki said. “Grinding through a wrestling match is like grinding through a football game.”

Wrestling is the only time where he can think about just himself, and he’s got lofty goals for his wrestling season.

“Ever since I went to the state tournament and watched the walk of champions and seeing the Kohl Center full, that’s my No. 1 goal to do the walk of champions,” Gromacki said. “That would be an amazing accomplishment.”

Get to know ... SAM GROMACKI

  Catholic Memorial/Football
Coach Bill Young
Class In School/Age

Also In My Family Are:
my father, Fred; my mother, Barb; my sister, Alex; and my brother, Isaac. The Athletic Accomplishment I Am Most Proud Of Is: the state football championship my sophomore year.

My Favorite Subject In School Is:
My Favorite Teacher Is: Mr. Affeldt, who teaches history.
My Favorite Movie Is:
“Secondhand Lions.”
My Favorite Recording Artist Is:
Toby Keith.
My Favorite TV Show Is: “Duck Dynasty.”

The Best Meal My Mother Makes Is:
A Bad Habit I Have Is: road rage.
A Pet Peeve I Have Is:
lazy people.
The Thing I Do Best Outside Of Athletics Is:
hunting and fishing.

The Person I'd Most Like To Meet Is:
Toby Keith.
The Last Time I Cleaned My Room I Found: a $20 bill.
Nobody Ever Says I’m: small.
My Most Memorable Experience Is:
going up north with my family.
My Most Prized Possession Is:
my puppy.
Might Not Know About Me Is: I’m a little mean on the football field, but I have a big heart.
One Thing I Would Change About Myself Is: more patience.

One Thing At My School I Would Change Is:
to have better locker rooms or a home field to play football.
I See Myself In 10 Years: I’d like to live out in Montana doing some sort of natural resources work.
I Wish CoachYoung Would: make Saturday practices an hour later. 

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