Maxx DeCapua has single-handedly rewritten the Newburgh Free Academy wrestling team’s record book.
He owns every lifetime Goldbacks’ record and along with teammate Tyler Serafini, has been the backbone of the program for the last four years.
It’s an impressive resume that DeCapua will bring with him as he recently committed to attend and wrestle at Division III Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I.
“During my junior year, I kept hearing that they were a really good team,” DeCapua said. “They had a couple of guys ranked high in the country.”
He traveled for a visit and met with coach Lonnie Morris, who recently finished his 23rd season as the Wildcats’ head coach.
Overall, the Wildcats posted a 24-6 dual meet record and won their fourth straight NCAA Northeast Regional championship on March 1.
The NCAA championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They had a lot of success and it just seemed like a place where they work hard so it felt like a perfect fit,” DeCapua said.
DeCapua plans to study business.
He’s been in the Newburgh Free Academy wrestling program since he was a seventh grader, but he’s been in the kids’ program for years before that.
“He was a man-child from the time he was in seventh grade,” Newburgh wrestling coach Chris Leggett said.
“He was big and strong then. He was a freak of nature as a strong, young kid. He wasn’t fat. He just had inherent strength when he was a seventh grader.”
Seventh grade was the beginning of perhaps the most storied career in Newburgh wrestling history.
His 213 wins are a school record. He also has the most pins, and number of matches wrestled. He’s also ranked fourth in Section 9 in career victories.
Although a Section 9 championship has eluded him, he has placed twice at the New York state championships.
“It’s cool,” DeCapua said. “I hope in 10 years, my name’s still at the top of the board. It will be nice to remembered for a while.”
There is little danger of him being forgotten, especially among the Newburgh Free Academy coaching staff.
“He has an infectious personality,” Leggett said. “He’s got a lot of the genes of his father, and is, at times, very blunt. Bluntness is good in some case and it’s one of the things that really endeared him to people. He wasn’t afraid to say anything. You always wondered what Maxx was going to say.”
DeCapua wrestled at the sectional championships in the 213-pound weight class, but Leggett says he expects DeCapua to wrestle in the 285-pound weight class in college. He wrestled there several times during the season.
“He wrestled the Section 1 state qualifier at 285 pounds and pinned him,” Leggett said. “He’ll be able to handle that weight.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in school being canceled for the rest of the year so DeCapua has attended his last class at Newburgh Free Academy. The next time he sits in a classroom will be at Johnson & Wales.
“I’ve been on the team six years and I’ll miss the team,” DeCapua said. “Everyone works hard, and everyone works together ever day. Everyone wants to be good and everything wants to be better.”
The remaining coaches will miss him as well.
“It’s going to be weird without him there,” Leggett said. “We have 1,000 Maxx stories that I’ll be telling for years. We’re going to miss that daily interaction with Maxx.”