Every day, Woodbury senior Brock Rinehart is busy.
Whether he’s in the weight room lifting or practicing one of his three sports or doing extra work on a specific sport, he’s always running around and doing an activity.
That’s the life of being a three-sport athlete, but for Rinehart, it’s a joy and passion he holds close to his heart.
“I’ve always enjoyed each sport when the high school season approaches,” Rinehart said. “I never wanted to give up a sport because all three of them were so much fun to be a part of.”
Rinehart has played varsity football, wrestling and baseball throughout his entire high school career. Even though he’s busy throughout the entire year, he’s loved every second of his journey as a Royal.
The interesting part of Rinehart is that he’s talented in all three sports. He’s the running back for the football team and helped the Royals win back-to-back district titles.
Then, he goes into the winter season as one of the top wrestlers in Class AAA for his weight class. Rinehart earned second place at 160 pounds in the state tournament last season.
Finally, the senior Royal is a utility player for the baseball team in the spring. He can catch, play the infield and also play the outfield. Even though it’s not his primary position, Rinehart can pitch a few innings when needed.
Baseball had always been his passion throughout high school, but he took each sport seriously and dedicated his time to perfecting his craft in each respective sport. He knew being a three-sport athlete wasn’t going to be easy, but he loved the challenge.
“After every season, we asked him if he liked that season,” said Kim Rinehart, Brock’s mother. “Then, we asked him if he wanted to continue playing the sport. He always said yes to each question each season, so he kept playing all three sports.”
Brock Rinehart agreed with the statement and he said that he appreciated his mom and dad being there for games, traveling and supporting him both on and off the field. The family aspect made him the man he was during high school and the man he wants to be in college and the future.
For the first couple of years of high school, Brock wasn’t looking at college for sports and was focused on making himself better as an athlete. It didn’t matter what season he was in, he always made sure to give his best effort to each coach during the offseason and during the season.
“He went to the gym or some type of practice every day of the week,” said Gary Rinehart. “We didn’t push him, it was his decision and he always got up and worked out with friends and teammates each day.”
That effort allowed him to play on varsity sports since middle school and he was fortunate to stay healthy throughout the majority of his playing years. But the injury bug hit him hard at the early part of his senior year.
The Woodbury football team played Roseville at home on Oct. 11 and Brock was having a great game. He had two rushing touchdowns already recorded in the middle of the second quarter.
Near the end of the first half, Rinehart was handed the ball and made a cut in the backfield. When he cut, he felt something come loose in his right knee.
He wasn’t sure what was wrong and jogged off the field. Brock Rinehart did some runs on the sideline and felt good, so he went back into the game.
The next play was a running play for him and he cut again. This time, when he cut, there was an unbelievable pain that shot through his leg and Brock fell to the ground.
When he came off the field, he fell to the ground again and screamed.
“The scream wasn’t really for the pain, it was more about not being on the field with the team,” Brock said. “I had never been injured this bad before so it was a new experience for me as an athlete.”
The senior Royal was diagnosed with a torn PCL, which didn’t require surgery. Out of the ACL, MCL and PCL, the PCL is the best to tear because it requires physical therapy to heal but not usually surgery.
This meant his football season was over, which disappointed Brock because he didn’t want to end his football career at Woodbury in that fashion, but he knew he had to do what’s best for his health.
The process to recovering from this injury took some time and a lot of self-motivation, but Brock wanted to be on a wrestling mat and on the baseball diamond this season to help the Royals win state championships.
“I usually did physical therapy either in the morning before classes or the afternoon after classes,” Rinehart said. “I also did ETS in the morning with some football teammates and that helped me so much.”
ETS is a facility to help athletes progress themselves through different programs for different goals. In Brock’s case, he wanted to recover quickly, but correctly, from this PCL tear.
The Rineharts have been a part of ETS since it started in Woodbury and Rinehart has been working out there since a young age.
Those morning sessions helped him recover from the injury by doing simple moves and exercises in a precise way. With the help from ETS, and Woodbury’s athletic trainer Sara Rock, Rinehart was able to get back on the mat for the wrestling season.
“It was a tough few weeks going through physical therapy and not knowing when I was coming back,” Brock Rinehart said. “Luckily, I was able to get back on the mat for the start of the season and continue playing one of the sports I love.”
At this point, when the injury occurred, Rinehart was already committed to a college, but that commitment made him focus on his recovery even more to make a full recovery.
Rinehart started receiving phone calls from college coaches during his junior year. It wasn’t just one sport though, he was getting recruited for two different sports.
Halfway through his high school career, Brock Rinehart started realizing that football wasn’t going to be his sport in college. He said he knew that his height wasn’t going to fit on a college football team because he was a shorter running back compared to others.
That left wrestling and baseball to debate for a college career. Rinehart said that wrestling would be tough because it meant four more years of keeping his weight in check and staying on a strict diet.
He loved the sport of wrestling, but knew it would be tough to have that same mentality he had during high school wrestling for another four more years.
“After really looking at the facts, I knew wrestling was going to be a tough sport to be in for college,” Brock Rinehart said. “It was great seeing how the programs run at the places I was getting recruited at, but ultimately I went with baseball.”
Baseball had been his passion for a long time and the feeling of stepping on that diamond is an indescribable moment for him. The sport came more natural for him, and it allowed him to play many different positions.
Even though he eventually committed to baseball, Rinehart was recruited for two different sports. That meant twice as many phone calls and text messages and twice as much time dedicated to making a decision.
“It was overwhelming at times because the coaches would call or text frequently and I always wanted to get back to them right away,” Brock Rinehart said. “I also wanted to stay focused for my sports each season, so it took some balance but I had a great support system with my family and friends to help me with things along the way.”
The University of Minnesota and Augsburg were a couple schools looking at him for wrestling, but Brock and Gary Rinehart took a trip to South Dakota State University during the summer before Brock’s senior year.
The trip was in the month of July and he went to check out the academics and the baseball program over there. The coaches took him around the baseball facilities and the academic buildings throughout the day.
At the end of the day, Brock and Gary Rinehart hopped into the car and Gary said he had a feeling Brock was going to come here in the fall of 2020.
For Brock, there was a lot to offer at South Dakota State University as the baseball facilities were practically brand new and the school had a degree for his interest in criminal justice.
It took him about a month to figure out what he wanted to do, but ultimately the Jackrabbits had so much to offer. On Aug. 5, 2019, Rinehart announced on Twitter that he was attending South Dakota State University in the fall of 2020.
It was a moment of relief, excitement and emotion as it excited Brock and made Kim and Gary proud.
“You always hope your kid can achieve their dreams and watching him sign that letter of intent was something special,” Kim said. “We were so proud of him for working this hard and being able to continue playing a sport he loves.”
On Nov. 13, 2019, Brock signed his letter of intent and that day was a day he will never forget.
“Just having my my parents and grandparents there along with coaches, friends, teammates and everyone, it’s a moment I’ll never forget,” Brock said. “It made me realize how much help I’ve had along the way and I can’t thank everyone enough for everything.”