Joseph Maxwell adapting to school and academics at U. of Tennessee

Joseph Maxwell at the International Association of Athletics Federations World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia in 2015.

TENNESSEE—While he is adapting well to both school and athletics in his first year at the University of Tennessee, it becomes apparent in talking to him that Joseph Maxwell really does miss his Manitoulin Island home.

“A nice thing about coming here to go to school is that I’ve really learned to appreciate Manitoulin Island more,” stated Mr. Maxwell, when contacted by the Recorder this past Monday. “I had been away from home for a few months and then returned recently after first semester, and I appreciate the Island more than I did before.”

Joseph had spent two weeks at his home in Evansville, from mid-December to early January, and said he really enjoyed his time home.

With the second semester of school, he not only has taken on new courses in the second half of the school year but the track and field season has started. He and his Tennessee teammates have taken part in two competitions thus far in the new year, and he has fared very well in the shot put against the competition.

“The first competition we had was not a huge meet, it just included our school and Indiana University,” Mr. Maxwell told the Recorder. He finished third overall in this shot put competition with a throw of 17.01 metres. This was with a 16 pound weight ball which is heavier than he has ever shot before in competition. “I was really happy with this result-especially using the heavier college weight. I hadn’t thrown that well in practice, and I think my coach and teammates were a little surprised at how well I did. But I usually find more distance when I’m in competition than when I’m practicing.”

After the first competition in Bloomington, Indiana, Tennessee travelled to Vanderbilt University for an invitational track and field meet held this past weekend. “There were competitors from probably 12 schools taking part, including Missouri-one of our big rivals,” said Mr. Maxwell. “Things didn’t go as well for me at this meet; I had decent results but didn’t throw as far as I had in the previous competition (he finished eighth overall). So it is back to the drawing board.”

As for his schedule balancing studies and athletics Mr. Maxwell explained, “it’s been pretty crazy. Usually I get  Sundays off from training. I have classes Monday to Friday, usually starting at 8 am.” With school and athletics he usually isn’t done for the day until about 8 pm every night.

“I’m pretty busy,” he said, noting, however, “school alone wouldn’t have been enormous itself. But when you take into account the academic and athletic demands I’ve found it to be a little more difficult.” He said athletes at the university are expected to excel in academics-as all students are, as well as athletics. Athletes have academic counsellors that they have to meet with regularly to make sure grades are being kept up.

Joseph is majoring in marketing. “My courses in the second semester are in general courses like math, English, and foreign language—I’m taking French. It will be next year and the following year my courses will be more specific to my major.”

“Yes, there is probably more work than I expected,” said Mr. Maxwell, “but I think I’ve adapted pretty well so far, especially getting to know a different country and cultural differences.”

“My coaches have been happy with me lately, and my grades were quite good the last semester,” he told the Recorder. The university track and field team will next compete in the Arkansas Invitational later this month.