It has been thirty-two years since the last time a Kane County athlete was selected to receive the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Scholarship. Over a hundred high schools across the state submit two nominations, a male and female student, based on their athletic and academic performances; of these 240 submissions, only six are chosen to receive the award.
Right to left, photos courtesy of Ashley Chamberlain:
Max on the field with the Kanab Cowboys
Max on the podium after winning 2A state champ wrestling.
This statewide bracket of Utah’s best student athletes makes for a competitive group - which makes Kanab High School’s Max Kartchner all the more impressive for being one of the honored six to receive the scholarship this year! Kartchner is the second Kane County student in 50 years to receive it, with the last recipient being nominated in 1990.
“It took a lot of personal commitment,” says Kartchner. “I first started wrestling my sophomore year - it was an interesting way to start, I asked my football coach what the best way to get on to the varsity team in the coming season, and he recommended wrestling!”
Kartchner recounts that first year, “It didn’t go too hot. I think I won six matches out of something like forty … but my wrestling coach, Marc Grow, pushed me to keep at it. I committed to 6 a.m. mornings, I worked hard … and I had to commit the same way academically. That’s what gets you into the Hall of Fame: committing to yourself.”
Kartchner is also one of 10 students to receive the Jones & Demille Construction scholarship for STEM careers, as well as a recipient of the Silent Servant award for hours of community service. “That’s another thing I’ve put a lot of time into - working with the unhoused, making refugee packages. Working for the unhoused is my strong suit in community service, it’s been the most meaningful and satisfying to me. Volunteering at soup kitchens, you get to interact with people, make sure they’re seen and heard, make them feel validated.”
When asked for advice for his junior students who may want to follow in his footsteps, Kartchner replied, “I would say the main rule of thumb is committing to something. Going all out and not holding yourself back, either with lack of confidence or by not putting enough time into it. My wrestling coach told me ‘I’ll go when you go,’ he was ready to be there practicing and working whenever I was. I texted him every morning. I put in the hours, growing and developing. Watch yourself grow when you really dedicate to something, dedicate to the sport.”
Max offered his gratitude to his coaches, Marc Grow and Kade Glazier, to his parents, his councilors, as well as to his teachers and advisors, especially those that helped him along in the Sterling Scholar program, stating, “I couldn’t have done any of this without them.” He is considering wrestling at UVU, where he intends to earn a degree in civil engineering.