For 15 years, I have personally been acquainted with Max Tempel. Starting from a small wrestling club out of Averill Park, New York, I immediately recognized an undying will to get better every day and a never-give-up attitude from this scrappy wrestling technician. Max’s love for wrestling has not changed since he was 5 years old, which explains his recent success with the wrestling team at Castleton University. Since transferring to Castleton from Siena College, the sophomore recorded the most wins on the season for the Spartans with 44, as well as All-Region honors.
Q. How do you feel about your first collegiate season?
A. Overall I feel pretty good about it. I am disappointed with how I finished. Fifth in the region is a nice accomplishment, although it wasn’t my goal. I wanted to be in Cleveland for the nationals. It didn’t end up that way, so it is what it is. I’ll keep working, but overall, I learned a lot and got a great experience.
Q. What was driving you to perform at your highest potential?
A. I have a lot of self-drive. I want to reach my goals. However, the passing of my two close friends, Kelsey Kittleson and Colton Butterfield, always motivated me to work my hardest and give my best every day.
Q. What was the statement you were trying to make this season?
A. I wanted to get out and get after it. I wanted to make a name for myself and prove anyone who doubted me after taking a year off from the sport.
Q. Which teammate pushes you the hardest?
A. A lot of my teammates push me, but I guess if I had to pick one, it would be Cam Milliken. He was my partner most days, and we just have a good flow with each other.
Q. Talk about Coach Legacy for a minute. Tell me what about him makes you perform better. What was it about him that made you decide Castleton would be best for you?
A. Coach Legacy has been a phenomenal coach throughout my first season here at Castleton. He’s a great motivator and really focuses on the mental part of the sport, which is the biggest demon wrestlers face. He in one year of having a college program was already making an impact.
Q. I’ve known you for a while now Max, so I know how close you are with them, but talk about your family a little bit. How do they support you?
A. My family is fantastic. They’re at every event, always motivating me and helping me with whatever I need. My parents are just great people who love the sport. My brother wrestles too, so we all have an understanding of how much wrestling means to us.
Q. Where do you see yourself post-graduation?
A. I’d like to land a PR job for a company, and some day, I hope to either open up my own wrestling club or coach for a high school.
Q. Any company in particular?
A. I’d possibly like it to involve sports or athletics of some sort.
Q. What are your goals for the next two years athletically and academically?
A. Physically, I plan to be an All-American the rest of the way, and I want to win a national title. It’s as simple as that. Academically, I’d like to continue to be an academic All-American, which is something I accomplished this season.
Q. Describe to me the feeling of being on the mat, going through your motions. What do you think about? What’s the feeling of beating an opponent like?
A. Being on the mat, there is nothing like it. There is a power knowing that it’s all up to you out there, and you’re the one that has put everything you had to get prepared to be out there. I just keep focused and let it fly. I always tell myself to outwork whoever I am up against. If I’m working hard, good things happen.
Q. What similarities and differences do you see from Averill Park High School and Castleton University, academically and physically?
A. It’s definitely different from the AP days compared to Castleton. Everything is new, and it’s a change, but it’s been a good one. I know for one, that the bond with my teammates is very much like Averill Park, which is a strong one. I’m so close with all my teammates, and Coach Malenfant at AP. I have made a great relationship with all my coaches and teammates at Castleton.