Island shot putter prepares for first year of college after world championships

Joseph Maxwell of Evansville in his Team Canada gear from the IAAF World U20.

EVANSVILLE—Island shot putter Joseph Maxwell has just returned from competing at the IAAF World Under 20 and is now preparing for his first year of college at the University of Tennessee (UOT).

The 18-year-old Evansville athlete officially accepted a track and field scholarship to (UOT) earlier this year and will be leaving for school later this week.

“It was a really tough couple of days after the competition, but now I’m looking forward to putting it behind me and taking a break until I leave for school next week,” said Joseph last Friday.

“I really under performed in Poland,” he said. “A week has passed but it’s still really hard for me to even talk about things, that’s how disappointing my performance was. I competed the morning of July 19 in the shot put qualification round. Everyone gets three throws in the qualification and the top 12 out of that qualification round move on to the final, which takes place the same day in the evening. I went in with a goal of making the final and that was something well within my reach.”

“We arrived in Poland five days before my competition so I had lots of time to prepare,” continued Joseph. “My training over there was great and I felt in the best shape of my life. On the morning of the nineteenth I woke up early feeling more ready than ever. I warmed up and was led to the main stadium for my qualification. My first throw in the competition was excellent, it sailed out and landed right around 19 meters but on my follow-through, I clipped the outside of the circle with my foot which ruled the throw a fault and it was not measured. My second throw I took very safely but I did not finish the throw well so the distance was not nearly as far as the first. By the time of my third and final throw it was pouring rain. I tried my best, but the rain caused the shot to slip out of my hand on the release. As it turned out, my first throw would have been far enough to make finals had I been able to stay in the circle.”

Joseph told The Expositor that failing to make the final was, and still is, a huge disappointment. “Words don’t really do it justice, but this has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with,” he said. “Since the end of last season, world juniors had been my goal. It’s tough to train all year and then fail to meet your hopes and expectations. Having my parents with me in Poland was certainly a big help, but it will take time for this to fully sink in and for me to move on.”

Apart from the disappointment of his performance, Joseph said he enjoyed the trip. “It was my first time in Europe and it really broadened my horizons,” he shared. “The championships were held in a city called Bydgoszcz. Bydgoszcz has a lot of interesting architecture. I spent a lot of time sightseeing with my parents. We also took a day trip by train to another city called Torun. It had a lot of medieval style churches and some interesting shops.”

Joseph is driving down to Knoxville with his parents on August 6 and 7, with his orientation to start on August 10.

“I’m really excited,” said Joseph. “I’m a little nervous in some ways, as I don’t know what to expect, but I like to think I’m someone who does well in new situations. I’m most looking forward to continuing to develop as an athlete.”

He said his new schedule will entail daily morning classes and afternoon training five to six days a week.

He has also already learned of his roommate pairing and will be sharing a four-person suite with three other track and field athletes.

“The college indoor season will start in December, so I’m looking forward to training and my first college track and field season,” Joseph concluded.