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Marquette Scholar-Athlete hopes to accomplish great things at Harvard

Marquette Scholar-Athlete hopes to accomplish great things at Harvard

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Matt Hink is the personification of hard work and determination.

A standout on the Marquette baseball and basketball teams, Hink boasts a 4.42 grade-point average and has been accepted to Harvard, where he will continue playing baseball and likely will major in engineering.

And he has managed to do it all while overcoming grave medical challenges.

Hink first faced health obstacles in eighth grade when he was sidelined from sports for 13 months because of a knee injury.

"Then, I'd been having back problems all summer a year and a half ago and went to a doctor at the end of the baseball season," said Hink, 18. "I took an MRI, and they thought they saw a tumor at the bottom of my spine. I freaked out. But then I got a second opinion, which found it was actually bone fractures."

Hink was diagnosed with a stress fracture on the left side of his spine, a complete fracture on the right side, and a herniated disk at the bottom of his spine.

For three months, he had to be in a full back brace, which he wore 24/7 for the first six weeks.

"That injury kept me out of the first half of my junior year of basketball," Hink said. "The doctor said the back thing apparently just happened over time, because I never felt any breaks."

He's happy to be recovered now. So are his parents, Lisa and Brent Hink, and his sister, Sarah, 23.

For his amazing accomplishments, Hink has been selected Marquette's 2013 Scholar-Athlete.

In baseball, he plays first base and pitches and anticipates he'll continue playing those positions at Harvard.

He's also a power forward with the Mustangs basketball team. Last year, that team made a final four run in the state tournament. This year, the team won its Suburban West Conference.

Academically, Hink's favorite courses include physics and AP calculus. If he can finish this school year strong, he'll have managed to go through Marquette with all As.

"Math is definitely my strongest subject, and it's always come naturally, which is partly why I'm pursuing engineering," he said.

Outside of school, Hink participates in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Throughout high school, he was determined to take rigorous courses and play sports, "and I've learned to manage all that on- and off-the-field stuff."

This year, for instance, he's taking four AP classes and one weighted grade class. He took four AP classes last year as well. 

"I think I balance it all well because I don't put stuff off," Hink said. "I'll go to a practice or game and then get right to school work. And I enjoy Marquette, which is one of the best schools in the state. The administrators and teachers are really there for you." 

Since he was a child, Hink has dreamed of playing professional baseball. He was recruited by Harvard and other schools, including Duke, Villanova, Yale, Dartmouth and the Air Force Academy.

"I'll follow that as long as I can, but hopefully I can also excel at Harvard on the academic side," he said. "I've always been self-motivated because I want to become someone, be as successful as possible. And Harvard will give me the opportunity to follow that goal."

Although Hink admits to wearing down sometimes, he keeps pushing.

"I know that if I sit out a day, other guys are getting better and it's time I'm losing out on," Hink said. "Baseball is a sport that requires a lot of repetition. And, academically, I never want to cut corners or do the least possible."

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