Hindt honored, Bobcats roll

WABASSO – On a night when the Wabasso/Red Rock Central wrestling team was honoring co-head coach Gary Hindt for his 700th career win, a quartet of Bobcat seniors ensured that Hindt went home Thursday night with more than a commemorative plaque.

Starting with Tanner Rohlik’s 9-0 major decision over Nicholas Esping, the Bobcats ripped off four consecutive match victories to turn a 15-6 deficit into a 25-15 lead over the eighth-ranked (Class A) Minneota Vikings with just four bouts remaining.

The Bobcats (20-0 overall) won seven of the final eight bouts while on their way to a 40-21 victory.

Mitchell Schroepfer followed Rohlik with a pin fall over Grant Abraham after one minute, 43 seconds to give the No. 4 Bobcats their first lead of the night.

Blake Altermatt also scored a first period fall in his 160-pound match with Justin Vankeulen after just 40 seconds, while Brady Bierl scored a 7-0 decision over Nathan Bueltel at 170.

According to co-head coach Brett Bartholomaus, the four straight wins were just part of the duties that come with being a senior.

“I think that gives us momentum and we’ve got to trust our seniors,” he said. “Tanner did a nice job with a major decision, then Mitchell and Blake and then Brady. Right there they are, four in a row, and they did their job as leaders.”

The refusal to lose on Hindt’s night permeated the Bobcat effort from start to finish, while motivating the team in practice during the week.

“I think it’s a big deal for them, anytime that you’re a part of a program that does stuff like that, it gives (the kids) a little extra boost,” Bartholomaus said.

“We knew that Minneota wrestles a very controlled style. They’re very well coached and we couldn’t make mistakes for them, and that’s something that we preached in practice this week leading up to the match.”

Isaac Josephson, one of the few seniors for the young Vikings, ended the Bobcat run with his pin of Jared Welch after 3:54 at 182. Josephson recently picked up his 100th career victory, but Minneota head coach Joel Skillings feels that the biggest milestone for his team this year has been their unity.

“Obviously we’re a young team and we’ve got some younger guys creeping up on some milestones, but maybe the biggest milestone is just coming together as a team,” Skillings said.

Jordan Schroepfer scored the third pin of the dual for the Bobcats, as he pinned Trent Esping just 30 seconds into their 195-pound match, while Brian Hagberg narrowly missed out on a pin of his own at 220. Hagberg, a senior, settled for a 6-1 decision over Minneota eighth grader Jameson Hettling to give the Bobcats a 34-21 lead and ensured the Bobcat victory. Alex Schroepfer won by forfeit in the heavyweight division.

The Vikings (13-4 overall) held a 15-6 lead after the first six matches, taking a 3-0 lead after Brock Buysse’s 5-0 decision over Mitchell Fulton to start the night.

After Spencer Jenniges evened things up for the Bobcats with a 17-12 decision, Landyn VanOverbeke gave Minneota a 6-3 lead with a 4-1 decision over Josh Altermatt. A last-second escape by Leo Buysse held Derek Christians to a 9-2 decision and prevented the Bobcats from taking their first lead of the night at 126 pounds.

Alec Engler broke the 6-6 tie for Minneota with a 1-0 decision over TJ Fulton, while Cole Hennen pinned Dominic Ourada at 138 after 2:40 to put the Vikings up 15-6.

Shorthanded due to illness, the Vikings will look to draw motivation after their second consecutive defeat.

“We knew coming in, unfortunately, that we had a few guys that had some flu; like everybody, everybody’s got something,” Skillings said. “We were a little short from that standpoint. I guess I just have to look at what we did. The kids wrestled hard and gave me everything they could and I think we have some bright spots to work from. We had to juggle a few things, but the kids understand that. They just need to be rewarded for what they did do. It’s not a win, but we can build from that.

“As far as what (Wabasso/RRC has), they have a quality bunch of kids and a quality coaching staff. Nothing but respect for what they do,” he added.