RAPID CITY-As Chamberlain junior Nash Hutmacher prepared to make a run at his third consecutive Class A state championship, there was a different feel this time around.
Last season, the fanfare and excitement was palpable for his 285-pound state final showdown against fellow Beresford/Alcester-Hudson unbeaten Nick Casperson. Hutmacher, of course, triumphed for his second straight undefeated season and he eventually extended his winning streak to 123 heading into Saturday's state final against Mitchell freshman Beau Foote (35-10).
The question was: what's left to do?
The response was simple for Hutmacher-dominate. He steamrolled through his four matches in the state tournament by pinning all four of his opponents a combined time of 1:59, including dispatching Foote in nine seconds to cap his third straight undefeated campaign.
"I would say I was a lot more relaxed this weekend than I was last year," Hutmacher said. "The week before, all you heard in the wrestling community was, 'Nick and Nash' and I didn't have that in the back of my mind all the time."
There may not have been a marquee opponent opposite him in the bracket, but it was impossible to decipher that from the intensity Hutmacher (33-0) displayed throughout the tournament.
In the first round, Hutmacher wiped out Madison's Brandon Shaw in 10 seconds and followed it up with a quarterfinal win over Douglas' Connor Braun that lasted a minute-his longest bout of the tournament. In the semifinals, it took 40 seconds to beat Brandon Valley's Sam Krohnke and set up the tilt against the sixth-seeded Foote.
"You've got to take every match serious," Hutmacher said. "There's no fish. You've got to prepare for every match the same way. You have to go out there like every kid is Nick Casperson. ... It's shorter matches, but it's the same end goal-go out and dominate and prove I'm one of the best wrestlers in South Dakota."
Chamberlain finished 10th as a team in Class A with 78 points.
Chamberlain head coach John Donovan insists Hutmacher could maintain his stamina for a full 6-minute match-although we may never find out-because he approaches practice and all of his opponents in the same manner.
"He warms up the same way every time, he works through a drill the same way," Donovan said. "He realizes who he's wrestling, so he doesn't get too aggressive with some and others he needs to go out with intensity."