Karns man builds strength, confidence through wrestling

Karns man builds strength, confidence to youngsters through wrestling

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Team Praetorian is a group founded by Phillip Maxwell, who is a former high school wrestling coach. Team Praetorian is a group founded by Phillip Maxwell, who is a former high school wrestling coach.
"It's a blessing to me to coach these kids," Phillip Maxwell said. "It's a blessing to me to coach these kids," Phillip Maxwell said.
"I've placed first in Regionals, third in Nationals and fourth in State," said 10-year-old champion Braxton Mann. "I've placed first in Regionals, third in Nationals and fourth in State," said 10-year-old champion Braxton Mann.
"I can't say how awesome it is, especially for me," Michelle Pina said. "I can't say how awesome it is, especially for me," Michelle Pina said.

By GENE PATTERSON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KARNS (WATE) - Phillip Maxwell is working hard to train young boys and girls in the art of amateur wrestling.

For Maxwell, it's not just about the competition. It's about what wrestling can bring to one's soul.

The boys and girls, some as young as four and as old 16, are working their bodies, getting stronger, and disciplining their minds to overcome pain.

They are members of Team Praetorian, a group founded by Maxwell, who is a former high school wrestling coach. 

"It's a blessing to me to coach these kids and give them an opportunity to get strong, learn how to use their bodies and one-on-one, win or lose, and learn from it," Maxwell said.

He began this mission some 16 years ago. Over the years, his AAU and USA Wrestling teams have spawned champions.

"I've placed first in Regionals, third in Nationals and fourth in State," said 10-year-old champion Braxton Mann.

Mann is an example of Maxwell's work.

The boy's father, Chris Mann, says his son has learned more than just wrestling moves.

"Just the discipline it's given him has been phenomenal," Chris Mann said. "We love them all like family. It's been a good environment."

Michelle Pina says she has seen a difference in her son since he joined the team last year. She appreciates the role Maxwell plays in her son's life.

"I can't say how awesome it is, especially for me," Pina said. "I'm a single mom and I need the extra help as a role model. If you watch him with these kids, he's very hard, but he's extremely caring and he loves each and everyone of these kids."

It's tough love that produces a stronger, more confident young person, a person filled with the Spirit of East Tennessee.

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