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Prep Focus: Hutmacher keeps thriving for Cubs

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Nash Hutmacher, of Chamberlain, wrestles during the Class A 285 pound state championship match last year at the state tournament at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls. (Matt Gade / Republic)2 / 2

CHAMBERLAIN — There's been no sophomore slump for Nash Hutmacher.

Chamberlain's standout heavyweight wrestler keeps racking up the wins. Last year's Class A 285-pound state champion is 33-0 this season and has won 78 consecutive matches dating back to his fifth-place match as an eighth-grader at the 2016 state tournament.

And the key to the success hasn't changed for Hutmacher, who hasn't wavered from his winning formula.

"The mindset has been keep working hard and doing the same stuff like I always do, but improve on it every week," said Hutmacher, who also became the first South Dakotan since 1990 to win a USA Wrestling Cadet Freestyle National Championship in July.

On Saturday, Hutmacher won his most impressive match this season — knocking off previously unbeaten Dane Strahl, of Watertown, 5-0, in the 285-pound title match at the Lee Wolf Invitational in Aberdeen. Of Hutmacher's 33 victories, 29 have come via pinfall.

"It was a good match," Hutmacher said about Saturday's win. "He's a real strong kid. I took him down and rode him, but it was a good match."

For Chamberlain head coach John Donovan, finding Hutmacher quality competition has become a bit of a problem.

"It's been like last year, taking it one match at a time," Donovan said. "This year, the higher-level competition has come fewer and far between. We've stepped up when we have to in those top matches and that's really important. It was nice to have a great match against Dane."

But Donovan was quick to note that Hutmacher makes the most out of each opportunity he gets on the mat. He added Hutmacher is always willing to focus on tiny details and try new approaches.

"His aspirations are beyond this high school season. He has aspirations at junior nationals this summer," Donovan said. "When we get out there against a kid with less quality, we're challenging Nash to take shots on both sides, work on different ties, different things on the mat and tilt series. All things he has to work on to reach his aspirations and goals."

One aspect of Hutmacher's skill set that hasn't changed is his motor and offensive style.

"I'm looking to be aggressive, maybe work in a few more shots," Hutmacher said. "Just doing more. More shots, more takedowns, all that stuff, to expand on what I already do."

According to national wrestling rankings, Hutmacher is currently ranked No. 7 at 285 pounds by FloWrestling and No. 11 by InterMat, but is the lone sophomore on the lists.

Cubs on the rise

Alongside Hutmacher's dominance on the mat, the Chamberlain team has steadily grown and improved. The program has 23 grapplers listed on its varsity roster and it's the first time in five seasons the team has filled every weight class.

"The team is doing really well this year," Hutmacher said. "It's been a lot of fun. We just have to keep working hard."

As a team, Donovan said the Cubs hadn't won a tournament trophy in 13 years. This year, the team has claimed two with second-place finishes at the O'Neill (Neb.) Invite and Battler Invitational in Gettysburg. Donovan added winning more team events was a goal of Hutmacher's.

"It's a great team atmosphere and we have a brand new wrestling room," said Donovan, who added he's no longer worried about Hutmacher falling on younger wrestlers and hurting them because of a lack of space. "There's a lot to be excited for."

Hutmacher and the Cubs compete at the Big Dakota Conference tournament on Saturday in Fort Pierre.