Thursday July 5, 2012 | By:Michael J. Petro | Sports
Hamburg junior Max Maxwell was named this year’s Most Valuable Player. (Photo by David Eckhardt)
While school may be out for the year, Max Maxwell won’t be home much this summer. But the Hamburg junior midfielder is starting to get used to the travel to play high-level lacrosse.
The Bulldogs top scorer each of the past two seasons has already earned a spot on the Western New York/Rochester team at the Brine All-America National Classic from June 30 to July 3 and was selected to play in the 2012 USL Champion All-America Showcase among the Nation’s Elite 96 Lacrosse Players later in July at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Center at Disney.
“I guess my friends will just have to miss me,” Maxwell joked. “It’s definitely going to be a really competitive summer. It’s a great experience playing with some of the best players from all over the country. I am looking forward to the travel and making the rounds for my last summer as a high schooler before getting down to my senior season.”
It will be the second consecutive year that Maxwell will take his talents nationally despite still being a high school underclassman. Last summer, he also played in the Brine All-America National Classic and afterward was chosen for Team Rochester for the 2011-12 Brogden Cup in Florida where he helped his squad to an international title in January.
“I’m a big fan of his outside participation with other travel teams,” Hamburg varsity lacrosse coach Jerry Severino said. “It’s a credit to my staff and the families who encourage continued experiences with high level competition. Including Max, there are easily a dozen Bulldogs, who are traveling most weekends to tournaments where they will play the best and be seen by many college coaches.”
All of that exposure helped Maxwell attract quite a bit of Division I attention coming into his junior season. It was the University of Maryland at Baltimore that scoffed him up as Maxwell verbally committed before the start of the spring season.
“I felt like UMBC would help me become the best I could be,” said Maxwell, who whittled down the long process to three schools before making his final choice. “I could have waited but you never know what’s going to happen in the next few years. To me, it felt like the perfect fit, so I figured why not get it done with now, instead of later.”
He followed that important decision with a 2012 season that garnered the attention of many around Western New York, including at The Sun and Metro Group, Inc.
publications. He scored 48 goals and assisted on 43 and led Hamburg to a Section VI Class B title, the program’s fifth in the past six seasons.
Maxwell was named Metro/Sun
All-Western New York Boys Lacrosse Most Valuable Player at the 2012 banquet, sponsored by St. Bonaventure University Army ROTC, on Tuesday, June 19 at Ilio DiPaolo’s in Blasdell.
“It was really humbling,” Maxwell said of the honor. “It was quite the shock.”
His growth over the past three seasons on the varsity and uncanny ability to make something big happen whether it be with the ball on his stick or putting it on someone else’s couldn’t be ignored.
“His lacrosse skills have been evolving and improving for several years now, but his personal growth is very impressive, as well,” Severino said. “He will be entering his senior season as the No. 1 lacrosse athlete in Western New York and one the top in New York State which translates nationally. Hamburg will definitely continue to benefit in 2013 due to his excellence.”
The personal growth exhibited by Maxwell can be noticed in the unselfishness of his play and attitude. He said he’s tried to lead by example in all aspects of his game and life. While his goals are plentiful — many times followed by a trademark underhanded wave to insight the crowd, doing all that he can to help the team win has been his first priority.
“I wouldn’t say that it’s about goals and assists; I’m just always looking to put together a complete game,” Maxwell said. “I love scoring, but it’s about the little things like ground balls and creating turnovers. I feel like I have the ability to help out my teammates and make them better.”
His passion to come out on top in the end is the reason for his disappointment in Hamburg’s 10-8 loss to Irondequoit in the 2012 Far West Regional but also keeps him believing that a program-first state title is still within reach.
Though he now can look back fondly at this season playing on a senior-laden team with so many of his good friends, Maxwell believes there is unfinished business still left and he relishes having the opportunity to get one more chance at it.
“It is now time for Max to embrace his role as a facilitator of his teammates...and Max has already begun that process,” Severino said. “He knows we are losing some very influential players to graduation and the team system will be critical in 2013.”
Along with Maxwell also being selected to the 2012 First Team were his Hamburg teammates, senior middie Ryan Jurek and senior defender Josh Babcock, Timon-St. Jude’s sophomore middie Adam DiMillo, sophomore attacker Layne Collins and junior goalie Jackson Brown, Silver Creek’s junior middie Zeddy Williams, Niagara-Wheatfield’s junior attacker Zac Dubuc, Nichols School’s senior attacker Lucas Walsh, Amherst’s senior defender Nate Gowen, St. Francis’ senior middie Cooper Stefaniak, Clarence’s junior middie Alex Dietsch, Orchard Park’s senior attacker Ben Johnson, West Seneca East’s senior attacker Kyle Kapenek, Frontier’s senior middie Jimmy May and St Joe’s senior attacker Christian Curatolo.
Lake Shore’s Patrick Gilman, a senior middie, was given the Unsung Hero Award; Amherst’s Brian Thielman, a sophomore goalie, the Newcomer of the Year Award; Bishop Timon-St. Jude’s Mike Burke, Coach of the Year; and Timon-St. Jude’s Tyler Conroy, the Andrew Maisano Leadership Award. Also winning titles this year were Orchard Park (Class A), Silver Creek (Class C) and Timon-St. Jude (Catholics, States).Host of Hamburg lax players to compete in national tourneys
Babcock, a recent Hamburg High School graduate, along with Maxwell, was selected to play in the 2012 USL Champion All-American Showcase, which will feature the Nation’s Elite 96 lacrosse players from around the country.
They will play July 25 through 27 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Center in Disney at Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Should their team make the finals, it will be televised on ESPNU July 27. Players are nominated and selected for this US Lacrosse event by high school coaches throughout the country to compete in a four-team format over three days. Babcock, who was a three-year starting long pole defender for Hamburg, will play at Division I University of Albany next year.
Also, Maxwell was joined by Hamburg classmates Christian Hollfelder and Nick Wilcox in playing for Team Western New York/Rochester at the Brine All-America National Classic from June 30 to July 3. The event brings the top 400 underclassmen to one venue where regional teams attempt to earn a title and qualify to compete in an international championship later in the year. The team will be one of 16 in the High School Division.
Hollfelder just completed a junior season in which he became one of the best long stick middies in Western New York as a second-year starter for the Bulldogs. Wilcox was an important part of a high scoring Hamburg offense as he played in the midfield, also as a second-year starter.