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Sugar House Journal

Where are they now? Max Wood

Oct 05, 2017 17h30 ● By Jana Klopsch

This article is part of a series of that highlights former high school athletes, where they are now and how participating in high school athletics helped them achieve their goals.  This edition is highlighting Max Wood.

At Highland High School

If you were a student at Highland High any time between 2004 and 2008, chances are you know who Max Wood is.  Wood was an active participant in a plethora of sports at Highland including: football (Coach Benson), basketball (Coach West), baseball (Coach Schwam), as well as track and field (Coach Barnes).  

When asked how he decided which sports to play, Wood replied, “I played football, baseball and basketball growing up so naturally that is what I did in high school... I was thinking of not playing basketball because I love to ski. My dad played basketball at Highland and he always would say the coach wouldn’t let them ski. I remember it exactly, my mom and I were talking to Coach West about how I didn’t think I was going to play because of the desire to ski. He said to my mom and me, “If you come play, I’ll let you ski” so…I did. I would go up half day skiing a lot after Saturday practices and may or may not have sluffed out of class here and there for some good powder days.”

After his junior year, he decided to stop playing baseball and run track to try and get faster for football, which was his best sport. 

“I started to go to the practices just to train, but then Coach Barnes asked me if I wanted to compete in the hurdles races (110 m and 300 m). I told him I’d try it out. At first I had no idea what I was doing but started to kind of figure it out. Long story short, I ended up being region champion in the 300 m hurdles and took ninth in state. (I) Didn’t have the best form but was able to make up for that I guess with being tall and somewhat fast,” Wood said.

It would be safe to assume that sports dominated a large portion of Wood’s life during his four years as a Ram, but Wood was also strong with his academics earning a 4.0 throughout his time at Highland.  In addition to that, Wood was the senior class president from 2007-2008.

Beau Hicken, who was the student body president from 2007-2008, had this to say about Max: “In high school Max was always involved in just about everything and always seemed to be one of the best at everything he did. He was a really fun guy and also really motivated. I’ve never seen someone with as much drive as he has.”

Apart from his 4.0, and presidential status, Wood was awarded the following in recognition for his achievements.

• Academic All-State - Football

• Academic All-State - Basketball

• Academic All-State - Track

• 2007 Football Region Champions

• Tony Caputo Award Winner 

• Valedictorian 

• Sterling Scholar - Mathematics 

Reflecting on his time at Highland, Wood offered this advice:

“Life has its challenges. Every day, every week there are things that we need to overcome. I think the thing Highland athletics taught me is that you just have to be tough. In football, I wasn’t the fastest, nor the strongest, but I can proudly say I was tough and worked my butt off. In basketball, I definitely wasn’t the best shot, nor the best ball handler, but I hustled and always tried to do my best. Track…I just went out and had fun. Again, in order to get though life’s challenges, or accomplish goals, toughness is required.”

Post Highland

Following his four years at Highland, Wood served a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Taiwan Taichung Mission where he learned to speak Mandarin.  Upon his return, Wood resumed his studies at the University of Utah.  

It was during this time that Wood began dating his future wife, Laura.  Laura was a roommate to Wood’s sister Tara in 2008 and was quickly endeared to the Wood family as a close friend.  Fast forward to 2013 when they started trail running together and inevitably became enamored.  

Max and Laura were married on August 7, 2014.  They now have a 15-month-old daughter named Hannah.  Laura had this to say about her husband:

“I could say so many things to describe Max, but what sticks out is Max is one of the most motivated people I know. He got into running during his mission and trail running once he got home. Trail running brought us together and is something we still enjoy today. I was training for a 50-miler when we got engaged. He paced me for 25 miles of the actual race no problem and helped me finish. The funny thing is, that he had never really competed in a trail race until one day he told me he wanted to do a 100-miler and wanted to do it together... And it was one of the best experiences of my life…”

Wood has since graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in architecture, with a minor in Chinese.  He decided to forego playing any collegiate sports, however this does not mean Wood’s active days are over.  Far from it.  The Wood family spends several days a week alternating between road biking, mountain biking, running, tennis, basketball, and skiing.