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Glenbrook North senior Michael Maksimovic battles Loyola Academy senior David Kennedy in the 170lbs class match during the meet at Loyola Academy on Saturday, December 1, 2012. | Michael Jarecki ~ For Sun-Times Media
Michael Maksimovic won't be mistaken for a tennis player any time soon.
With bruises and scrapes and two Cauliflower ears, the Glenbrook North senior's face is a roadmap to the sport he plays.
A wrestler since the sixth grade at Maple School in Northbrook, Maksimovic couldn't imagine doing anything else.
"I love it," he said. "It's addicting. There's no other sport like it."
Glenbrook North coach Mark Rebora recognized Maksimovic's talent and potential early and promoted him to varsity as a sophomore. Now, Maksimovic is one of the best upper-middleweights in the area.
"When you find something you like, you buy into it," Rebora said. "Michael is a wrestler. He likes to get on the mats and wrestle. It's part of who he is."
At Loyola's tri-meet Saturday, Maksimovic went 2-0 at 170 pounds, winning once by forfeit. The Spartans beat Loyola 36-22 and lost to T.F. South 52-24.
"His progress has been great, and we hope that will lead to a successful season for him," Rebora said.
Maksimovic was within one win of qualifying for the state meet last season at the Barrington Sectional. Coming so close serves as motivation for him.
"Oh yeah," said Maksimovic, whose older brother Andrew wrestled at the state meet in 2011 as a senior. "I still think about that match sometimes. My goal is to get to the state meet and win. I'm extremely motivated."
An injury to his leg earlier this year changed up Maksimovic's offseason workouts. He spent most of his time working with weights, with a concentration on his upper body. Coupled with natural growth, Maksimovic added nearly 50 pounds to his frame.
"I was lifting and eating," said Maksimovic, who wrestled at 145 pounds in last season's state series. "I was a little chunky."
Maksimovic started slimming down before school started and now is at a comfortable competition weight. Teammate and friend Logan Weintraub had a front-row seat for Maksimovic's roller-coaster ride.
"It was kind of wild," said the senior, who wrestles at 182. "He added all that weight and then dieted. He went on that Jared Subway diet. It was a few too may trips there for my liking."
But Weintraub is thankful for the partnership, especially in the practice room.
"We push each other every day," he said. "I love that competition. Michael is really skilled, and he's made me a better wrestler."