John's Journal
Class 4A Baseball Rankings4/26/2017
The Associated Press poll for Minnesota baseball, provided by Let's Play Baseball newspaper.

1. Wayzata
2. Minnetonka
3. Forest Lake
4. Lakeville North
5. Stillwater Area
6. Blaine
7. St. Michael-Albertville
8. Centennial
9. Edina
10. Champlin Park
11. Osseo
12. Andover
13. Eastview
14. Burnsville
15. Maple Grove
16. Eden Prairie
17. Woodbury
18. Prior Lake
19. Cretin-Derham Hall
20. Shakopee
Also receiving votes: Park Cottage Grove, Anoka, Duluth East, Tartan, Chaska, Mounds View, Chanhassen, Roseville, St. Francis, Rochester Century, Rochester Mayo, Grand Rapids, Totino-Grace, Hopkins, Minneapolis Southwest, Minneapolis Washburn
Class 3A Baseball Rankings4/26/2017
The Associated Press poll for Minnesota baseball, provided by Let's Play Baseball newspaper.

1. New Ulm
2. Waconia
3. St. Cloud Tech
4. Bemidji
5. Mahtomedi
6. Alexandria
7. Winona
8. Benilde-St. Margaret’s
9. Mankato West
10. Holy Angels
11. Little Falls
12. Henry Sibley
13. Albert Lea
14. Northfield
15. Hibbing
16. Jordan
17. Fridley
18. Sauk Rapids-Rice
19. Marshall
20. Kasson-Mantorville
Also receiving votes: St. Thomas Academy, Rocori, Hutchinson, Delano, South St. Paul, St. Anthony Village, Worthington
Class 2A Baseball Rankings4/26/2017
The Associated Press poll for Minnesota baseball, provided by Let's Play Baseball newspaper.

1. Belle Plaine
2. Minnehaha Academy
3. Pierz
4. Cannon Falls
5. Maple Lake
6. Jackson County Central
7. New Life Academy of Woodbury
8. Holy Family Catholic
9. Foley
10. Glencoe-Silver Lake
11. Rochester Lourdes
12. St. Cloud Cathedral
13. Warroad
14. Pequot Lakes
15. St. Charles
16. New London-Spicer
17. Caledonia
18. Pine Island
19. Aitkin
20. Paynesville Area
Also receiving votes: Mora, St. Peter, Duluth Marshall, Proctor, Sauk Centre, Fairmont, Kenyon-Wanamingo, Park Rapids Area, Frazee, Fillmore Central, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, Providence Academy, St. Paul Academy
Class 1A Baseball Rankings4/26/2017
The Associated Press poll for Minnesota baseball, provided by Let's Play Baseball newspaper.

1. Springfield
2. Parkers Prairie
3. Legacy Christian Academy
5. Walker-Hackensack-Akeley
6. Deer River
7. Hinckley-Finlayson
8. Heritage Christian Academy
9. Mankato Loyola
10. Randolph
11. Adrian
12. Red Lake County
13. New Ulm Cathedral
14. New York Mills
15. Wabasso
16. Minneota
17. Fosston
18. Cleveland
19. Menahga
20. Wabasha/Kellogg
Also receiving votes: Hill City/Northland, South Ridge, Canby, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, Nevis, Ely, Mayer Lutheran, Norman County, Cherry, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Sleepy Eye, Kittson County Central, ML/GHEC/Truman
Boost Post
Wabbasso Wrestling Coach Calls It A Career4/26/2017
The evening before the 2017 MSHSL state wrestling tournament, wrestlers and coaches were at Xcel Energy Center for weigh-ins and skin checks. The wrestling tournament is like a great big family reunion, because it seems as if almost everybody knows everybody else.

As I walked around the arena I ran into an old friend. Gary Hindt is the only head wrestling coach Wabasso has ever had since the program began in 1968, and we both smiled as we shook hands and chatted. The next time I see Gary, however, he won’t be the coach. He has retired after 49 seasons, the last seven co-coaching with Brett Bartholomaus in a cooperative program involving Wabasso and Red Rock Central.

Gary’s career record is 807-214-6. He ranks second in Minnesota high school wrestling history in career victories. But what he accomplished in nearly half a century goes far beyond winning. He had a tremendous impact on his wrestlers and the entire community.

Four years ago, I spent time in Wabasso while writing about Hindt. The story below was originally posted here on Feb. 1, 2013…

700 Wins And Counting For Wabasso/Red Rock Central’s Hindt

WABASSO – Except for one big banner, the walls inside the wrestling room at Wabasso High School are pretty bare. But that banner speaks volumes about a program and the only coach the team has ever had.

The banner commemorates the 2003-04 Wabasso team, which was the state runner-up in Class 1A. In advancing to that state championship match, the Rabbits recorded the 500th victory in school history. It also was the 500th career victory for coach Gary Hindt, but his name is nowhere to be seen on the banner. And that’s exactly how he wants it.

“I just guide them,” Hindt said. “I didn’t do that. I helped, I had a hand in it.”

Since that 2004 state tournament, he’s had a hand in a couple hundred more victories. The 67-year-old Hindt, who was hired in Wabasso right out of college in 1968 and started the wrestling program, now has 702 career wins, which ranks third all-time in Minnesota and No. 1 among active coaches.

In 45 years of coaching he has had only two losing seasons. Victory No. 700 came Jan. 19 when the Wabasso/Red Rock Central Bobcats (the schools have had a cooperative wrestling team for four years) defeated Luverne. The only Minnesota wrestling coaches with more victories than Hindt are former Owatonna coach Scot Davis with 984 and former Goodhue coach Bill Sutter with 760.

No. 702 for Hindt and Wabasso came Thursday night when the Bobcats defeated visiting Minneota 40-21. Wabasso/Red Rock Central is ranked No. 4 in Class 1A by The Guillotine and Minneota is No. 8.

Before the varsity match began, Hindt was honored with a plaque commemorating his 700th victory and a framed team photo that was autographed by this year’s wrestlers. He made no speech, and school officials knew better than to ask him to make a speech. That’s because it’s never been about him.

He said to me, “You want to know the truth? The last wrestling match that I won by myself was in 1963.”

That was when Hindt was a high school senior in Fulda, another southwest Minnesota town. He played basketball through his sophomore year, but joined Fulda’s new wrestling team as a junior.

“I thought it sure beats getting slivers on my butt, being about the 10th guy on the basketball team,” he said. “I knew nothing about wrestling. I wasn’t sold on it because I didn’t know anything except grab on and hang on.”

He wasn’t sure he would wrestle as a senior, but then he was voted a team captain. “I thought I better stay with it,” he said. “I’m not a quitter.”

It’s safe to say, however, that he didn’t plan to be the Wabasso wrestling coach for nearly half a century. When he was hired to teach, he agreed to take over the school’s new wrestling program with the expectation that he would hand the reins to someone else after a few years. All these years later, he has no plans to retire.

He underwent a knee replacement after the 2005-06 season, but the spark is still there when he enters the wrestling room.

“I can get down, but it’s hard to get back up,” he said. “That’s why we’ve got younger assistant coaches. I still enjoy it. I don’t want to see the program go to pot. I have seen some programs that were very successful get into wrong situations and have no consistency.”

Hindt also coached football at Wabasso for many years but gave that up when his daughter Heather was playing college volleyball at Southwest State in Marshall and his daughter Erika was in high school. (“I got to watch my girls grow up,” he said.) Hindt and his wife Jenni have been married for 43 years.

His co-head coach is Brett Bartholomaus, who teaches at Red Rock Central. The wrestling team splits its practices and meets between Wabasso and Red Rock Central, which is 12 miles away in Lamberton.

“He’s the papa bear,” said Bartholomaus. “If they need a wake-up call he’ll give it to them, and then he’ll explain why.”

Hindt is a coach who will bark at a wrestler, then smile and put his arm around the kid’s shoulder.

“If he gets mad, he’ll say what he has to say and then he’ll sit back down in his chair and he’ll pop a smile right back on,” said senior captain Tanner Rohlik. “He’s an all-around great guy.”

Another senior captain, Blake Altermatt, said, “If you do something wrong, he’ll make you do it again to make sure you do it right and don’t get into any bad habits.”

Before the Bobcats took the mat against Minneota, Hindt talked to the team about always being on the attack. He offered these words of wisdom: “Your feet are made to move forward. If God wanted you to move backwards he would have put toes where your heels are.”

Hindt, who was inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1994 and is retired from teaching physical education, health and social studies, has coached three teams to state tournaments (the most recent in 2011). Five Wabasso individuals have won state titles: Dan Zimmer in 1976, Johnny Frank in 2004, Cory Schunk in 2004 and A.J. Jenniges and Brandan Schunk in 2005.

“I’ve been pretty blessed to have some kids who have bought in,” Hindt said.

Before and after Thursday’s match, Hindt was approached by many former wrestlers and other friends who offered congratulations on his milestone. After the night’s wrestling had been completed, he joined 42 alumni wrestlers who were on hand and posed for a photo. Some of them are now old-timers and some of them are still fresh-faced. Some of them are fathers and sons who both wrestled for Hindt.

The coach, the link between them all, sat in their midst and wore a big smile.