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Chamberlain duo eyeing top finishes

Chamberlain's Max Donovan wrestles Madison's Sam Olson during their 113-pound Class A quarterfinal match at the state wrestling tournament on Friday in Sioux Falls. (Matt Gade / Republic)

SIOUX FALLS—For juniors Max Donovan and Collin Powell, the state wrestling tournament has become just like any other meet.

And like most meets throughout the season, Donovan, wrestling at 113 pounds, and Powell (120) each continued to rack up the wins. Both grapplers advanced to today's semifinals with ease and helped spur a Chamberlain team that sits in 10th place after the first day of competition at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls.

"When I got here yesterday (Thursday), it felt like just another meet," said Donovan, who placed eighth at state last year. "The mats aren't any bigger."

Donovan, seeded second, picked up two pinfall victories over Milbank Area's Barrett Schneck in the opening round and over Madison's Sam Olson in the quarterfinals. He improved to 43-4 on the season and will face Sturgis' Tristan Permann (13-4) today.

"I stayed in positive positions and took my shots," Donovan said. "I have to move my feet a lot and stay in good positions."

Alongside Donovan, Powell, a two-time state placewinner, said all of Chamberlain's lower-weight wrestlers have benefitted from constant competition against each other in practice. On Friday, Powell, seeded third, pinned Milbank Area's Kaden Krause in the first period and defeated Sturgis' Shae Owens 9-3 in the quarterfinals.

"The key for today was staying aggressive on our feet," said Powell, who finished fifth at state last year. "We kept after kids and never gave up."

At 36-3 on the season, Powell will take on Brandon Valley's Isaac Klinkhammer, who is undefeated at 41-0 on the season. In the Region 3A meet a week ago, Powell defeated two-time defending state champion Lincoln Turman 8-6 in overtime.

Chamberlain head coach John Donovan pointed out Cubs' heavyweight standout Nash Hutmacher might gain all the outside attention, but noted both Powell and Max are just as deserving.

"Everyone talks about Nash, but Collin is a body of work," John Donovan said. "He's put a lot of work in. He's coming on and getting better and better. Max, too, he's put in the work. They make each other better every day in the practice room."

All of the Cubs garnered loud roars from a strong section of Cub fans dressed in red and white at the Premier Center. Coach Donovan said Chamberlain sold more than 120 tickets for the tournament and praised the support the program has been getting.

"To hear the roar in your corner when you get done with a match, to hear them yelling gets you really fired up," Powell said. "It gets you ready to go against anyone."

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