Max Shaw cements legacy as one of Thomas Jefferson’s best athletes
By: Ray Fisher
Friday, June 14, 2019 | 10:50 PM
Team and individual MVP honors are not recognized at Thomas Jefferson at the end of a school year.
But there is little doubt two-sport standout Max Shaw rates among the best — and toughest — athletes in school history.
Shaw, a 6-foot, 195-pound senior football player and wrestler, will continue his athletic career as a wrestler at North Carolina.
“The memories I’ve created from competing as a Jaguar have been the best of my life so far,” Shaw said. “It has taught me so much, and I’ve made friendships to last a lifetime. My family, friends, coaches and community all played a huge role in it, as well. They made it so much more enjoyable.
“I’ll miss competing with my friends the most. I feel like high school is such a unique time in people’s lives, especially when playing sports.”
Along with his dynamic athletic skills, Shaw carried a 3.6 GPA in his senior year and is interested in majoring in accounting.
Shaw was the first TJ wrestler in more than 25 years to win a WPIAL championship. He was ranked No. 1 all season in his weight division in Class AAA by Trib HSSN.
Seeded No. 1, Shaw pinned Bethel Park’s Luke Montgomery in 2 minutes, 27 seconds in the championship bout to cap his WPIAL season with a 33-0 record.
“Winning the WPIAL title has always been a goal of mine,” he said. “I’m glad I could finish my WPIAL wrestling career on top. It’s a great feeling.”
Prior to Shaw, the last TJ titlist at the WPIAL meet was Mark Eckley (145 pounds, 1992).
Shaw placed third at the PIAA tournament in his junior and senior seasons, when he went a combined 72-5. He finished third in the WPIAL as a junior and was a section runner-up. He was a section champion as a senior.
“Max and Alex (Weber) are the faces of the wrestling program,” TJ wrestling coach Michael Ladick said last season, “and hopefully their success will translate into the underclassmen seeing and understanding their paths in an attempt to create their own journey toward Hershey.”
Shaw’s high school achievements also included being selected a team captain in wrestling (two years) and football, achieving all-conference status at linebacker (twice) and at running back, earning all-state status at running back and winning a county championship in wrestling.
Shaw took a back seat to few WPIAL running backs in his senior season. In Week 8, he was named Trib HSSN Football Player of the Week when he led the Jaguars to a 70-21 conference win Oct. 19 at home against Greensburg Salem.
He rushed for 286 yards and six touchdowns on 25 carries in the Jaguars’ biggest offensive showing of the season, and he tied two team rushing records.
Shaw accounted for 1,971 yards and 35 touchdowns on 214 carries overall, setting a team record of 9.2 yards per carry.
He caught four passes for 61 yards, giving him 2,032 yards in total offense.
During his three years of varsity competition, the Jaguars won two WPIAL championships, two conference titles, finished as WPIAL runner-up once, posted a 34-4 overall record and 22-1 mark in conference play.
The Jaguars did not lose a game at home during Shaw’s three varsity seasons.
Shaw and teammate Dan Deabner were named to the Pennsylvania Football Writers Class 4A all-state team at the running back and wide receiver positions, respectively.
Shaw said two of his career highlights were taking first place at the Powerade wrestling tournament and playing in the WPIAL football finals at Heinz Field.
Shaw, undefeated in December, landed a top seed at the Powerade tournament held Dec. 28-29 at Canon-McMillan.
He rolled through the tourney, defeating Cedar Cliff senior Donovan Ball, 7-2, in the championship bout. Shaw became the second wrestler in school history to win a Powerade title.
Ladick beamed when talking about Shaw, who helped lead the program to its first section championship.
“I have only been at TJ for four years,” Ladick said, “but in my opinion, Max has to be one of the top all-around athletes the district has ever had. I can say with confidence that in my 13 years of coaching he’s definitely in my top three.
“Max is one of a kind. I’m glad he cemented his legacy at TJ and look forward to watching him grow into the next phase of his life.”
Shaw recently returned from the NHSCA Duals wrestling tournament in Virginia Beach. He finished with a 10-1 record as his club team, Quest School of Wrestling, finished fourth in the country (out of 192 teams).
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