Crowds always gather at Maxey's matches. While Arminis had her in a tight cradle, a heavyweight wrestler on the sidelines said, "I wish she was in my class, I'd teach her a lesson or two." But another wrestler said, "Man, you've got to give her credit."
With a freshman as talented as Calderone on the scene, Maxey's chances for wrestling at the varsity level look bleak. Still, she never misses practice.
The NCAA doesn't keep track of the number of women who participate in men's sports, but Bob Dellinger, the director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla., believes Maxey is the only woman to have won a match on the mat. About a dozen elementary and junior high school girls compete in amateur wrestling events around the country each year. "But once they reach puberty," says Dellinger, "they usually get out of it."
Even though Maxey may be an oddity now, there are signs things could be changing. Girls and women seek her out for advice. Between matches recently, 16-year-old Ann'Marie Paulaskas, a 112-pounder from Posen, Ill., came to see Maxey. Paulaskas hopes to try out for the University of Illinois team as a freshman this fall. She has not been allowed to wrestle at her high school. She was giddy at the opportunity to talk to Maxey.
"What is it really like?" asked Paulaskas.
"Well, no one's going to talk to you for a while," said Maxey, "but then it'll be all right."
"Do you get beat up a lot?" asked the younger woman. Maxey said she averages between five and seven black eyes a year.
"Do you ever get to stack 'em up real nasty in a chicken wing or use a crossbar?" asked Paulaskas.
"Only in practice," said Maxey.
"Ever have trouble with cramps?" asked Paulaskas.