Joseph Maxwell hunkers down in Tennessee as season ends early

Evansville’s Joseph Maxwell, a University of Tennessee student, hurls a shot put at a competition last year.

KNOXVILLE – Gore Bay’s Joseph Maxwell has had an amazing run this year as a member of the University of Tennessee’s track and field team roster, starting the season by setting an all-time record at the university in the shotput, then going on to stand on the podium at several track and field events throughout the States—then came COVID-19.

Mr. Maxwell marks himself as safe, hunkered down at the university, but he is unsure what the situation will be over the next few weeks. Although he qualified for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competitions originally scheduled for last weekend, all outdoor events have been cancelled.

“I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico all ready to go,” he said. “Initially they said they were just going to restrict the audience and go on with the competition, next they said no parents. Finally, they cancelled everything.”

Mr. Maxwell said that although some of the season might be salvaged, depending on how the pandemic plays out, he doesn’t anticipate that happening. Even the Canadian championships in July are starting to look a bit iffy.

“I am looking at it as an early off-season,” he said philosophically. “It might even be 2021 before there are any more competitions, so there isn’t anything for me to train for right now.”

But as a dedicated athlete, Mr. Maxwell still wants to keep in form. “I am trying to find a gym that is still open,” he said.