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State wrestling finals, 2.16

Lincoln East’s Maxx Mayfield celebrates after defeating Millard South’s Tyler Antoniak in the Class A 138-pound championship match during the state wrestling tournament at CHI Health Center Omaha in February.

Maxx Mayfield always knew he wanted to be a collegiate wrestler, and on Tuesday he finalized that goal by committing to Northwestern.

“It has been a dream of mine to wrestle at the D-I level since I was really young. To commit to a school like Northwestern means the world to me,” said Mayfield.

Wrestling since he was 4, the Lincoln East senior has had plenty of special moments, but one sticks out. In between his freshman and sophomore years, Mayfield finished fourth at the Fargo National Championships.

“In that point I realized that I could compete at a high level and it drilled me to keep working hard and chase that dream to become a D-I wrestler,” Mayfield said.

A couple of season later, and the two-time state champion narrowed it down to Northwestern and Princeton, which both boast some of the best academic facilities in the country. Ultimately, it came down to the connection that Mayfield had experienced with the Wildcats.

“I felt like Northwestern had the edge with how I liked the coaches, the campus and the teammates there,” Mayfield said.

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In the midst of what turned out to be another state championship season for Mayfield, the Wildcats and head coach Matt Storniolo first made contact in December 2018.

After taking an official visit to Virginia, Mayfield went to Evanston to experience Northwestern for the first time. But it was his second visit this past May that made the difference. The Wildcats offered Mayfield a scholarship on the spot, but the senior had some thinking to do.

“I got my offer on the (Northwestern) visit and then I went on a couple more visits to Nebraska and Princeton,” Mayfield said. “So after I got all my visits done, I evaluated all the places and after a couple days after my visit to Nebraska I called the coach and said I was 100 percent in.”

Going into his senior campaign, TheOpenMat.com has Mayfield ranked sixth in the country at 160 pounds as he looks to become the second wrestler in East history to win three individual state championships. With all those expectations, Mayfield feels good about committing.

“There’s a little bit of stress and pressure that comes off of me," he said, "but ultimately I’m still focused on getting better and hopefully bringing back a team and individual title back to East.”

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