TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology athletic department presented Ruel Fox Burns Blankets to seniors Julian Strickland (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) and Nicky Wheeler (Avon, Ind./Avon) to highlight the 2014 Athletic Honors and Awards Banquet on Tuesday night.
The Ruel Fox Burns Blanket, presented to the department's top senior male and female athletes as voted by the coaching staff, has been presented to outstanding Engineer student-athletes since 1968.
Strickland helped the men's basketball team reach three NCAA Division III Tournaments with three Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament titles in his career. The Fightin' Engineers also won two HCAC regular season titles, and Strickland's career featured three all-conference awards, two conference Most Valuable Player honors and two HCAC Tournament MVP awards. He was named a second-team National Association of Basketball Coaches All-American in 2013, a Reese's Division III All-Star Game Participant in 2014, and ranks fifth in school history with 1,747 career points.
Wheeler captured two first-team all-conference awards and was a third-team National Soccer Coaches Association of America all-Great Lakes Region selection in 2012. Her efforts helped the Fightin' Engineers finish 19-13-7 over the past two seasons, including a 2013 record of 10-6-4 that marked the team's best year since 2007. Wheeler graduated from Rose-Hulman in just three years and still ranks 10th in school history with 13 goals scored. She also started all 38 matches during her final two seasons and served as a team captain last fall.
The athletic department also awarded the Rose-Hulman Varsity R Club Outstanding Senior of the Year Award. The award recognizes outstanding achievement by one male and one female student-athlete during their senior playing seasons.
Football quarterback Ryan Landwehr (Tipp City, Ohio/Tippecanoe Valley) helped lead the Fightin' Engineers to their first conference championship in 25 years as a first-year starter. Landwehr finished 234-360 through the air (65%) for 2,456 yards and 21 touchdowns this season. On the ground, he rushed for 459 yards and led the HCAC with 11 rushing touchdowns. He established new school records with 32 touchdowns responsible for, 2,915 yards of total offense, 234 pass completions and was second in school history with 21 TD passes.
Cross country and track and field standout Ryann-Rebecca Montgomery (Lafayette, La./Episcopal School of Acadiana) captured the women's R Club honor. Montgomery qualified for the NCAA Division III National Championships in cross country and track this year, marking just the second women's national qualifier in each championship. She also won HCAC championships in cross country, the indoor mile, the indoor 3,000-meter run and the outdoor 5,000-meter run.
Landwehr and women's soccer player Rachel Johnstone (Loveland, Ohio/Loveland) earned the John Logan Award for compiling the highest female and male grade-point-average among four-year letter winners.
Landwehr carries a perfect 4.00 grade point average, while Johnstone has a 3.89 grade point average. Both student-athletes were honored by the College Sports Information Directors of America during their careers, with Johnstone earning multiple academic all-district honors in soccer and Landwehr capturing first-team Academic All-American honors last fall.
The Samuel Hulbert Award, named for the President at Rose-Hulman who retired after 28 years of service in 2004, is presented to the male and female senior athletes who contribute the most in terms of team spirit, sportsmanship and a determination to succeed.
Men's soccer player Spencer Johnson (Yorkville, Ill./Aurora Christian) and softball player Jenna Martinek (Troy, Mo./Buchanan) were honored for reinforcing winning attitudes and creating a positive atmosphere for their respective teams.
Each student-athlete was honored for both an unselfish and team oriented attitude, along with their efforts in helping recruit future student-athletes to the college. Johnson was three-year varsity letter winner as a defender for the men's soccer team that reached the NCAA Division III Sweet Sixteen for the first time in school history. Martinek holds the career school record for softball games played with 145 and played multiple positions on the Engineer infield, finally settling into her natural third base position as a senior.
Dr. Gary Ulrich received the John Mutchner Award, presented to the gentleman who has unselfishly given his time and support to the athletic department. Ulrich was cited for his work as the team physician, working with the athletic training staff and student-athletes to create personalized plans of recovery and maintenance when injuries occur.
The Rosie Award is awarded to the woman who has unselfishly given time and support to the athletic department. Fiona Shine received the 2014 honor for her efforts as director of the student led pep band. Shine directed the band in nearly every football, men's basketball and women's basketball home game over the past few years, helping the group grow both in terms of quality and quantity.
Alec Houpt received the Jess Lucas Spirit Award, presented annually to an individual or group whose support of the athletic department moves above and beyond the norm. Houpt was cited for setting a school record with five NCAA Division III Tournament appearances as a student-athlete, and continuing to play two sports despite not seeing significant playing time during the early part of his career. He earned three varsity letters in basketball as a post player and two letters in soccer as a reserve goalkeeper.