Cub Power: Hutmacher named The Daily Republic’s wrestler of the year
CHAMBERLAIN -- Nash Hutmacher, a high school freshman, brought an entire community together. The standout wrestler, who took the Class A heavyweight class by storm, is celebrated as a model student and athlete in Chamberlain. His journey to the 2...
CHAMBERLAIN - Nash Hutmacher, a high school freshman, brought an entire community together.
The standout wrestler, who took the Class A heavyweight class by storm, is celebrated as a model student and athlete in Chamberlain. His journey to the 285-pound championship at the state tournament last week in Sioux Falls was followed by hundreds.
“There was people that said they’ve never watched wrestling before and they didn’t know what to cheer for, but they watched me,” Hutmacher said. “I thought that was pretty cool, that people who never have watched wrestling before decided they were going to watch me.”
After defeating last year’s heavyweight champion, Brookings’ Eddie Miller, 3-1 in the Class A featured championship match last week, Hutmacher concluded a sensational season with a 44-0 record and earned his first-ever state championship.
Hutmacher’s rise to becoming one of the top wrestlers in the state, regardless of class, has brought plenty of extra attention to the freshman high school student, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 280 pounds. He’s even starting to overshadow his father, Joe Hutmacher, Chamberlain’s chief of police.
“I’ve lost my identity. I’m known as Nash’s dad,” Joe Hutmacher said with a laugh. “Nash is pretty humble. I think I do all the bragging for him. I didn’t realize it was that big of deal to everybody, and it’s just starting to sink in how many people were following him.
For his perfect freshman campaign, Nash has been selected as The Daily Republic’s wrestler of the year. He is the first freshman to earn the award, which is voted upon by the newspaper’s sports staff. Nash earned two first-place votes and one second-place vote to receive 14 points in a system that awards five points for a first-place vote, four points for a second place, and so on.
Mount Vernon/Plankinton/Corsica-Stickney’s Tanner Risseeuw picked up the other first-place vote and finished with 10 points, while Winner Area heavyweight Tre’zen Doren finished with 10 points.
Bon Homme/Scotland senior Stas Sutera tallied seven points, Parkston’s Dawson Semmler earned three points and Winner Area’s Kayleb Brozik finished with one point to round out the selections.
Training to be the best The official high school wrestling season typically runs for three months -- starting on the last week of November and concluding around the last week of February. But for many state-champion prep grapplers, the nine months off that mat are as just as important as the three months on the mat.
Chamberlain wrestling coach John Donovan said it wasn’t strictly wrestling training for Nash in the offseason.
“The training is big and the weight room is big,” Donovan said, adding Nash also competes in track and field, baseball and football. “With the Cub Power Program, the kids are bigger, faster and stronger and it really makes a difference. We’ve had a lot of good wrestlers come through here, and they didn’t accomplish what they could have because they didn’t put that extra time in.”
The Cub Power summer workout program was started two years ago by Donovan and Joe Hutmacher. In its first year in 2015, Joe said Nash, along with roughly 12 to 20 kids regularly attended. The number of participants in the program jumped to an average of 40 last summer, and Donovan said Nash hasn’t been the only athlete to benefit from the offseason program. But he said this success stands out as an example for fellow students.
To defeat competitors older and more experienced than himself, Nash knew he would have to work harder than any of his opponents. And that started with making the most of his time.
Joe totaled Nash’s workout schedule for the past three years and said Nash has more than 1,000 days when he finished his first workout before sunrise.
A typical day for Nash is to wake up at 5:30 a.m., head to the weight room around 6 a.m. and start training. Nash said he learned everything about lifting weights from Joe, who used to be a member of a traveling weightlifting team and took second at last year’s South Dakota’s strongest man competition in Huron.
Nash, whose favorite lift is the squat, is in the gym at least three times a week on top of practices for whichever sport is in season. As for the motivation to routinely work out early in the morning, that answer was simple for Nash.
“For what happened last weekend (winning a state title),” he said with a smile. “Having that good feeling. It all pays off.”
Joe added he’s not pushing Nash, he just noticed a change after last season ended. As an eighth-grader, Nash finished in fifth place in the 285-pound division at the state tournament and that fueled his fire for his freshman season.
“I knew after he got fifth at state last year, he was very determined,” Joe said. “He just decided he was going to do whatever it took. You could see the drive. I didn’t have to wake him up every morning.”
Success on the mat On the wrestling mat, Nash’s combination of size, speed and strength was overwhelming.
His goal was to win a state title this season, but it wasn’t until he defeated Miller, a South Dakota State football signee, early in the season that the belief became a reality.
“That really got me going that I could win it,” Hutmacher said about his 5-1 win over Miller on Dec. 5. “All season long, I was practicing hard. Throughout the season, it was all about staying positive. You can’t take a day off.”
While typically proving to be bigger, faster and stronger than most of his competitors, Nash’s conditioning and work rate also proved to be the difference in a few tight matches.
Of his 44 wins, Nash earned 32 pinfall victories and finished the season with second-most wins of any unbeaten wrestler.
“You see that skillset a lot more in the lighter weight classes,” Donovan said. “In his weight class, it doesn’t happen very often. Justin Hardy and Riley Reiff comes to mind, but there’s not many like him.”
Hardy was a three-time state champion (1990, 1991 and 1992) from Lead at 275 pounds.
Reiff, a Parkston native and current Detroit Lion, won three state titles in wrestling before graduating early to attend the University of Iowa. Nash, unlike Reiff, won the 285-pound title as a freshman, where Reiff won at 215 pounds as a freshman and sophomore in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
Getting compared to a first-round NFL draft pick as freshman is humbling for Nash, who said he started wrestling in first grade and fell in love with the sport right away.
“Unlike basketball or football, if you are out there wrestling, it’s just you. If you win or if you lose, it’s on you,” Nash said. “You can’t fall back on anybody or blame them for anything. I like that about it.”
Throughout middle school, Nash practiced against former Chamberlain standout Nick Claussen, who placed third at 220 pounds as a senior at the 2016 state tournament. Donovan credited Nash’s early experiences practicing against Claussen to his success today.
“It pulled him along right away,” Donovan said. “He made the finals in his first varsity meet as a seventh-grader. It helped him progress and took him to where he needed to go.”
With the first state title under his belt and statewide recognition, the bar has been set high for Nash. The next three places in the Class A heavyweight division were seniors, so Hutmacher will be the favorite heading into next season. But that’s not the worry for Nash, who is focused on his next workouts before he begins throwing shot put and discus for the Chamberlain track and field team.
“Being only a freshman, my goal is to win it the next three years, too,” Nash said. “I have a lot of time left to train and get better.”
Here’s a look at the other wrestlers who received points in the voting:
- Mount Vernon/Plankinton/Corsica-Stickney’s Tanner Risseeuw concluded his senior season in style for the Titans by claiming the Class B 195-pound state championship. Risseeuw, rallied past Canton’s Devin Stork 7-6 with a late roll through takedown in the championship match to end his season with a 32-4 record. Risseeuw, a student at Plankinton High School, garnered one first-place vote and 10 points in the voting.
- Winner Area’s Tre’zen Doren capped off a strong prep career with his first-ever state championship by beating Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes’ Austin Moore with 5-2 decision in the Class B heavyweight title match. Doren, who wrestled for Lake Andes until his senior season, finished his season with a 34-3 record. Doren won five wrestling tournaments this season with the Warriors and had 22 pins. He had 10 points in the voting.
- Bon Homme/Scotland’s Stas Sutera racked up a career prep wrestling record of 174-27 and was a four-time state placer as well as a four-time region champion. He holds the two-point nearfall record at both Canton High School and Bon Homme High School. The future Dakota Wesleyan University grappler won his second state title by major decision in the 132-pound weight class at the Class B state tournament. Sutera finished with seven points in the voting.
- Parkston’s Dawson Semmler won the Class B 160-pound state championship by a 4-0 decision over Canton’s Shaeden Scheidt. The junior finished his season with a 34-4 record. Semmler had three points in the voting.
- Winner Area’s Kayleb Brozik concluded a successful senior season with a fifth-place finish at the Class B state tournament at 170 pounds. Brozik was a stalwart for the Warriors all season, racking up a total of 275.5 team points throughout the season, a 46-6 record, had 21 pinfall victories and won seven tournaments. Brozik earned one point in the voting.
Past winners1996: B.J. Jones, Mitchell 1997: B.J. Jones, Mitchell 1998: Hannon Hisek, Bon Homme 1999: Matt Evers, Mitchell 2000: T.J. Christensen, Mitchell 2001: Andy Everson, Mitchell 2002: Andy Everson, Mitchell 2003: Nate Hansen, Gregory 2004: Tyson Reiner, Mitchell 2005: Tyson Reiner, Mitchell 2006: Riley Reiff , Parkston 2007: Riley Reiff , Parkston 2008: Dan Koupal, Wagner 2009: Robert Kokesh, Wagner 2010: Robert Kokesh, Wagner 2011: Brent Havlik, Mitchell 2012: Alex Kocer, Wagner 2013: Brady Reiff, Parkston 2014: Luke Loudenburg, Howard 2015: Blake Bietz, Parkston 2016: Blake Bietz, Parkston
2017: Nash Hutmacher, Chamberlain