TERRE HAUTE —
John Craig Huster was already doing pretty well as a member of Rose-Hulman’s swimming and diving team heading into his senior season.
Then a 17-year-old hotshot freshman from Dublin, Ohio, came along last fall and raised the bar for Huster and his teammates.
This “new kid in town” would be Orion Martin, who immediately made a splash by winning the 100-yard butterfly in his first college meet — the Purdue Invitational at West Lafayette back in October. His time was 50.09 seconds.
“I knew he was fast coming in, but I wasn’t expecting him to win that event,” admitted Huster, a 2009 Terre Haute North High School graduate, who represented the Patriots in the state finals as a senior with a 10th-place finish in the 100 backstroke.
Before the 2012-13 season, Huster’s best time in the 100 butterfly was 49.87, good enough to be a provisional qualifier for the NCAA Division III championships but not quite good enough for automatic qualification.
Huster knew he must improve to make an impact on the DIII national scene, and young Martin proved to be the perfect source of motivation.
After a long season of setting personal bests, Martin and Huster have qualified for the Division III national meet in the 100 butterfly, which will take place March 21 at Shenandoah, Texas. Martin is the No. 2 seed, and Huster is No. 11. The time cutoff for selection was 49.33.
Martin (48.51) and Huster (48.99) qualified with their one-two performance in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin championships in mid-February at Wheaton, Ill.
“Orion was someone I was very interested in from the time he was a junior in high school,” Rose coach Keith Crawford recalled. “In his senior year in high school, he had a nice time drop in the 100 butterfly.”
When Crawford learned in April 2012 that Martin had committed to coming to Rose-Hulman, the coach texted his girlfriend the following message: “I just landed the best recruit in school history.”
Between practices last week, Martin offered his recollections of the Rose selection process.
“Last year [as a senior in high school], I started looking at my times vs. Rose swimmers vs. some of the other NCAA Division III times,” he explained. “Based on how my times compared, I was in the top bracket, even toward the end of my senior year.”
Martin also wanted to get involved in some form of engineering, a subject at which Rose-Hulman excels.
When Martin finally arrived at the Rose pool in September, he did not disappoint.
“He came in and made a huge impact from the beginning,” Crawford pointed out. “The obvious highlight was the Purdue meet. … He spent the whole season hovering around that 50-second barrier.”
At the same time, Martin’s presence was helping Huster improve.
“I think it’s good to have someone in practice and dual meets to have someone you can race against,” Crawford emphasized. “That’s definitely been a positive thing.”
“The guys I’ve been swimming with have motivated me and just helped me to get faster, especially Orion this year,” noted Huster, a mechanical-engineering major who plans to graduate later this year. “Having somebody to race against always helps bring your time down.”
And now Martin and Huster are preparing to compete in the same national championships in the same event. It also happens to be an event that Huster didn’t start seriously competing in until his freshman year at Rose-Hulman.
Who woulda thunk it?
“This being my freshman year, I’d like to break the time I set in conference [48.51],” Martin told the Tribune-Star. “If I can get back to the championship final heats and get on the podium [top eight], that would be great.”
“I will be happy if [Martin] makes the championship final [top eight],” Crawford added. “Anything better than that is gravy.”
Is winning the national championship possible? Martin thinks so, although he’s not predicting it.
“It’s not out of the question,” he assessed. “I think the top seed [another freshman] is 48.0, so I’d have to drop about a half a second.”
Huster also is seeking a top-eight finish, a goal Crawford thinks is realistic.
“I’d like to sneak into the top eight,” Huster said, “but really I’d just like to drop some more time.”
“I’d love to see him sneak into the top eight,” the Engineers’ coach echoed. “That would be great. But honestly, I’d be happy if he got in the top 16, which would be All-American honorable mention.”
After Huster graduates, he’d like to stay involved in the sport as a coach at some level.
Meanwhile, Martin will be shooting for the stars as a member of Crawford’s Engineers.
“It’s very bright,” Crawford said of Martin’s long-term future. ”I’m just hoping he can continue to improve over the course of four years.
“He’s the picture of what I’m trying to recruit as a Rose-Hulman student-athlete.”
“It looks like it’s going to be great,” Martin added. “I’ve obviously got three years of swimming ahead of me and I’ve got a great coach. It’s going to be a great three years.”
Back to the present, Crawford is grateful that Martin and Huster are continuing a tradition of excellence for the Rose swimming program. The Engineers have compiled six All-American awards in the sport, including a men’s 100 breaststroke national championship for Matt Smith in 2003.
TERRE HAUTE —
John Craig Huster was already doing pretty well as a member of Rose-Hulman’s swimming and diving team heading into his senior season.
Metro sports: Rose-Hulman picks up baseball win
A late run in the eighth-inning broke a 4-all tie and proved to be the game winner for Rockford College in a 5-4 decision over the Rose-Hulman baseball team Friday at the Chain of Lakes Complex.
Metro Sports: Sycamores to be represented at NCAA indoors
Three members of the Indiana State track and field team will compete in the 2014 NCAA indoor championships March 14-15 at Albuquerque, N.M. Senior Greggmar Swift will represent the men, while sophomore Katie Wise and senior Mary Theisen will represent the women.
Rose’s Strickland named HCAC MVP again, Shaw wins Coach of the Year
Rose-Hulman senior guard Julian Strickland has been named the 2013-2014 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player and headlines the 12-member All-HCAC first and second teams for men’s basketball, according to an announcement from the league Tuesday.
It is the second straight HCAC MVP honor for Strickland, becoming the first player since Franklin’s Jason Sibley (1997-98 and 1998-99) to earn back-to-back MVP awards. Sibley was a graduate of Terre Haute South High School.
Metro roundup: Rose baseball loses 7-0 in Florida
Mount Union University remained unbeaten this baseball season with a 7-0 victory over Rose-Hulman in a rain-shortened game Tuesday.
Mount Union improved to 5-0 when the game was called after eight innings due to significant rain.
Rose meets Wheaton in NCAA opener
Rose-Hulman will open its third straight trip to the NCAA Division III basketball tournament at 5:30 p.m. Friday when the Engineers play Wheaton in a four-team regional hosted by Hope College.
Metro: No ISU baseball today; home opener now Friday
Indiana State’s baseball home opener that was to be played today has been pushed back, according to Sycamore head coach Mitch Hannahs.
Engineers, Hanover to vie for HCAC title
For the second year in a row, the men’s basketball teams of Rose-Hulman and Hanover will square off for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship in Terre Haute.
Metro: ISU softball win streak reaches 6
Indiana State improved its college softball winning streak to six games Friday by beating Wright State 4-3 and IUPUI 3-2 on the opening day of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic.
Rose coach expects wide-open race for HCAC title
Both Rose-Hulman basketball programs hope their teams will still be talked about in the Wabash Valley media after this weekend when they compete in their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournaments.
Metro roundup: Hutson awarded USA Track and Field grant
Terre Haute native and 2016 Olympic hopeful Kylie Hutson was awarded a $7,000 grant from the USA Track and Field Foundation.
Rose coach still ‘hanging around’
Approaching the start of his 25th season as Rose-Hulman’s baseball coach, Jeff Jenkins remembers some of his 601 victories, most of his teams’ highlights from five NCAA Division III tournament appearances and pretty much all of Art Nehf Field’s significant upgrades. He also can count on one hand how many times that umpires have tossed him from a game — two.
Rose-Hulman men lose game, gain co-HCAC title
Despite a loss at Mount St. Joseph on Saturday afternoon, the Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team earned a share of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title and will host the semifinal and championship rounds of this week’s league tournament.
Mount St. Joseph improved to 16-8 overall and finished fourth in the league standings after a 69-57 victory. Rose completed its regular season with a 20-5 mark for the sixth 20-win season in its men’s basketball history.
Female Engineers climb into HCAC tourney with win at Mount St. Joseph
Led by 16 points from senior Kelsey Ploof, the Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team defeated Mount St. Joseph 58-51 in its regular-season finale Saturday to clinch the final spot in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament.
The Engineers (10-15, 8-10 HCAC) earned the sixth seed in the upcoming league tournament and will face Franklin in the quarterfinals Friday at tournament host Transylvania in Lexington, Ky. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.
Metro roundup: Rose-Hulman men clinch share of HCAC title
Rose-Hulman clinched at least a share of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball championship and will host the league tournament starting Feb. 28 after winning 71-69 at Franklin on Wednesday night.
Rose’s Alec Houpt hopes to make fifth Division III tournament appearance
Is Alec Houpt the good-luck charm for Rose-Hulman athletics?
Should his likeness appear on a box of Lucky Charms cereal?
Houpt admits he’s not a star in any sport, yet he’s been a member of four teams that have advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament. They were men’s soccer as a sophomore (2011) and senior (2013) and men’s basketball as a sophomore (2011-12) and junior (2012-13).
Streaking Engineers return to national poll
Rose-Hulman’s men’s basketball team has earned a national ranking for the first time this season, reaching the No. 24 spot in the d3hoops.com national top 25 poll released Monday.
Metro Roundup: Rose-Hulman's Montgomery wins HCAC award again
Rose-Hulman’s Ryann-Rebecca Montgomery has been named the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Track Athlete of the Week for the third time this season after a historic performance on Friday.
Shaw wins 300th for first-place Engineers
Rose-Hulman’s Jim Shaw became the second men's basketball coach in program history to win 300 career games as the Fightin' Engineers rallied to defeat Bluffton University 61-55 on Saturday afternoon.
Rose-Hulman outscored Bluffton 39-15 in the second half to overcome an 18-point halftime deficit and improve to 19-4 on the season. The Engineers are also 14-2 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play and maintain a one-game lead over Defiance in the conference standings. Rose-Hulman needs one win in its last two games to secure hosting rights for the HCAC Tournament.
Rose’s Jim Shaw nearing 300 victories
Rose-Hulman hits the road for Bluffton and a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball matchup at 3 p.m. today.
Metro roundup: Rose-Hulman's Strickland earns national D-III honor
Rose-Hulman senior Julian Strickland has been named to the d3hoops.com National Team of the Week for his efforts in last week’s two men’s basketball victories.
Strickland, other Rose seniors play final home game tonight
Rose-Hulman will play host to Hanover in Senior Night men’s basketball at 7:30 tonight in Hulbert Arena.
The Engineers lead Defiance by one game and Hanover by two in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings entering their final regular-season home game.
Metro roundup: Sycamores, UNI to be national ESPNU game
Indiana State’s final men’s home game of the college basketball season has been chosen for ESPNU’s 1 p.m. telecast on March 1. It’s Senior Day for the Sycamores.
Strickland erupts for 41 in Rose-Hulman victory
Rose-Hulman senior Julian Strickland scored a career-high 41 points to help lift the Engineers past Manchester 85-65 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball Saturday afternoon.
Strickland recorded the eighth 40-point game in the history of Rose men’s basketball in the contest. His effort joins Don Ings (four times from 1967-70), Bryan Egli (twice in 1999) and Ed Downey (once in 1963-64) as 40-point games on the list.
Rose Hulman’s Schultheis repeats as Athlete of the Week
Rose-Hulman’s Austin Schultheis has been named Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Men’s Field Athlete of the Week for a second consecutive time.
Sole possession of first place in HCAC belongs to Shaw’s Engineers
The Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team took its first lead in more than 23 minutes with 1:23 left on the clock and then shut down the Defiance offense to clinch a 58-54 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory Saturday afternoon in Hulbert Arena.
Coach Jim Shaw’s Engineers (14-4, 10-2 HCAC) took over sole possession of first place in the conference with the win over the Yellow Jackets (9-3, 14-5), who entered the contest tied with Rose.
Freshmen lead Rose women to HCAC victory
Sparked by breakout performances from a pair of freshmen, the Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team held on to defeat Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Defiance 69-59 Saturday afternoon in Hulbert Arena.
Six-foot-2 forward Josie Schmidt was two shy of her career high with a game-high 17 points. She added five rebounds and a block in an 8-for-14 performance from the field. Classmate Abbie Marshall had one of her best games of the season, totaling a career-best 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go along with seven boards, five assists and four steals.
Rose, Defiance to battle for first place today
Rose-Hulman and Defiance will square off in a battle for first place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball standings at 3 p.m. today in Hulbert Arena.
Rose-Hulman needs OT to beat Anderson
Rose-Hulman men¹s basketball coach Jim Shaw did not need a reminder that you
can¹t always judge a team by its records. But he got one anyway.
Anderson edges RHIT women
Shelby Shaffer snapped a 54-54 tie with two free throws at the 11-second
mark, and Anderson University held the Fightin' Engineers in the final
seconds to earn a 58-54 women's basketball victory over Rose-Hulman
Institute of Technology on Wednesday night.
Metro roundup: Evans a national high jump qualifier
Rose-Hulman graduate student Liz Evans has qualified for the USATF Indoor Championships in high jump after clearing a career-best indoor height over the weekend.
- More Rose-Hulman Headlines
- Metro sports: Rose-Hulman picks up baseball win