Wildcats’ Maxwell commits to wrestle for Huntingdon CollegePublished 10:19am Tuesday, May 27, 2014
For the past couple of years, Deon Maxwell has been one of the foundational pieces of Benjamin Russell’s wrestling program.
Now, he’s set to reprise that role for the newest collegiate wrestling program on the block.
Benjamin Russell’s dominating 170-pounder inked a scholarship to Huntingdon College, which is set to embark on its inaugural season with a team on the mat.
For Maxwell, he’s already chomping at the bit to get back to work.
“I think Huntingdon is a great school with great programs, and I’m very excited to be on the wrestling team,” he said. “I feel like I can bring a lot of leadership to the team and help start it off in the right way – the way it should be.”
Over the past two seasons, Maxwell has been one of the best in the state at his weight class in Class 5A.
After a fourth-place finish during his junior season, Maxwell resolved to improve his standing as the lone senior of the Wildcats’ grappling squad in 2014.
That drive to improve, BRHS wrestling coach Andrew Campbell said, was what helped to get him to that next level.
“Between the summer of his junior and senior year, we were in there all summer working, and he never missed a practice. It wasn’t even mandatory but he was in there to work,” Campbell said. “The work ethic he puts in is one of the best. He’s one of the last from a group of athletes we’ve had in the last four or five years that were very hard-nosed, blue-collar athletes that would work and work and you couldn’t break him. He’d just keep coming back to work.”
All of that extra time on the mats paid off, as Maxwell rose to become one of the top grapplers in the state.
As a senior, Maxwell won numerous tournaments on his way to a record of 40-11 and finished ranked No. 2 in Class 5A at 170 pounds.
In addition to dominating on the mat, he embraced the role of team leader, something Maxwell said would be the most important takeaway from his time at BRHS.
“The coaches have prepared me greatly. They’ve upped the practices and they’ve worked with me … I’ve been working out more and practicing more. My coaches and teammates have helped me out a lot,” Maxwell said. “They’ve instilled in me how much it takes to be successful and how much work it takes to get to where you want to be. I’ve still got to work harder.”
As far as Campbell is concerned, that won’t be a problem for his team’s most recent captain.
Work ethic, Campbell added, is something Maxwell has in spades.
“Deon’s one of the hardest workers I’ve had in my five years here. He’s a great kid that deserves every bit of the congratulations,” he said. “Anytime you can take a high school athlete and turn him on the next level so he can continue his athletic career is a blessing.”
Maxwell also looked at Shorter University and Auburn University-Montgomery, but chose Huntingdon, citing a better fit between him and the school.
“I think I can add a lot to the team, and I’m glad that it’s a first-year program so I can help build the foundation of it,” Maxwell said.
While Maxwell is off to his next challenge, his departure presents one for Campbell and the Wildcats.
That task? Finding someone to step into the role of the team’s go-to grappler at 170 pounds.
“He’s a great leader, a hard worker and he’s definitely going to push the guys with him in the mat room to the level he’s at,” Campbell said. “You can put another body in there and train him to do what you want, but Deon is irreplaceable.”