TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology athletic department presented Ruel Fox Burns Blankets to seniors Ally Bromenschenkel and Trey Sykes to highlight the 2019 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.
Bromenschenkel led the most successful 4-year run of any women's sport in Rose-Hulman athletic department history. She helped her team finish 91-19 over the last four years, with 3 conference regular season championships and 2 NCAA Tournament appearances. She was named a 2nd-team Google Cloud Academic All-American in 2019, a 3rd-team D3hoops.com All-Great Lakes Region honoree in 2019, and was a 3-time 1st-team all-conference selection. Bromenschenkel scored 1,409 career points with 840 rebounds, 29 double-doubles, 525 field goals made, 340 free throws made and 16 blocked shots to rank in Rose-Hulman's all-time top 5 in each category.
Sykes helped the track and field team win 4 outdoor conference championships and was a member of the 2018 men's basketball regular season championship team. He is a 3-time outdoor All-American in the triple jump, with national finishes of 4th in 2018; 5th in 2017; and 7th in 2016. He holds Rose-Hulman's school record in the triple jump with a leap of 49-feet, 7 and 3/4 inches, and is also a member of the school record 4-x-100 meter relay team. Sykes earned three all-region honors for his efforts in the triple jump. On the basketball floor, he helped Rose-Hulman compile a 65-42 record and a 51-21 mark in HCAC play over the last four seasons. He scored 111 points in 52 career games.
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.
Eric Fiacable was named the HCAC Field Events Most Valuable Player both indoors and outdoors. He won a combined four conference championships this season, two indoors and two outdoors. He also holds school records in the hammer throw outdoors and the 35-pound weight throw indoors. Fiacable was also a member of 8 conference championship teams in his career, 4 indoor track and field and 4 outdoor squads.
Lauren London had perhaps the greatest single day in Rose-Hulman track and field history, setting 5 school records, winning 4 HCAC event titles and setting 2 HCAC meet records at the 2019 HCAC indoor championships. Her efforts helped Rose-Hulman win its 2nd straight HCAC indoor championships. She graduates as a 13-time HCAC track and field event champion, including 9 individual and 4 relay titles. She also graduates with 5 individual and 1 relay school records. In soccer, she helped the Fightin' Engineers complete a winning season as one of the top defensive players in the league. She earned honorable mention all-HCAC honors on the soccer field this season.
The John Logan Award is presented to the student-athletes with the highest cumulative grade point average and competed in the same sport for four years.
Kayla Gerken competed for four seasons in women's basketball and was named a Google Cloud Academic All-District selection in 2018. On the court, she appeared in 70 games with 41 starts. She scored 241 points with 184 rebounds and 58 assists in her career. In the classroom, she maintained a perfect 4.00 grade point average as a biomedical engineering major and is one of the top all-around graduates in the 2019 class.
Ben Strate is a two-sport athlete at Rose-Hulman. He competed for four years as a diver with the Rose-Hulman swimming and diving team, and was a three-year member of the NCAA bound men's tennis team. He has won nearly 20 varsity tennis matches in his career and recorded 4 top-5 finishes in conference diving competitions as a Fightin' Engineer. In the classroom, he also maintains a perfect 4.00 grade point average.
The Samuel Hulbert Award, named for the President at Rose-Hulman who retired after 28 years of service in 2004 and passed away in 2016, is presented to the male and female senior athletes who display the best attitude, competitive spirit and leadership during their Fightin' Engineer careers.
Abby Bromenschenkel was named the HCAC Women's Basketball Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2019 and earned 1st-team all-HCAC recognition this season. She also claimed 2nd-team all-conference honors in 2017 and 2018. This season, she broke Rose-Hulman's career record for women's basketball steals with 228 and ranks 3rd in school history with 275 career assists. Her on-court leadership and work ethic with her teammates and in the classroom helped make her a model student-athlete for future players on her team and earn the award.
Matt Michalak earned first-team all-conference recognition last fall after enjoying a breakthrough season that included 8.5 sacks and 15 tackles-for-loss. Michalak endured a surgery and was told he would likely never play football again. He spent months on the sidelines and missed the better part of 12 months competing with his team. He wanted to end his career on his own terms, however, and came back better and stronger than ever in 2018.
Dan Hopkins received the John Mutchner Award, presented to the gentleman who has unselfishly given time and support to the athletic department. Hopkins has led Rose-Hulman teams to 7 NCAA Division III Tournament appearances since 2010, won over 450 matches at Rose-Hulman, and been a unique personality that has positively impacted hundreds of Fightin' Engineer alumni over the years. He also served more than 30 years in a part-time position yet enjoyed success that full-time coaches around the nation cannot match.
Kathy Kassissieh received the Rosie Award, presented to the woman who has unselfishly given time and support to the athletic department. Her career services and employer relations team plans 3 career fairs that are highly visible to students. Behind the scenes, her team helps create and maintain relationships with companies who employ Rose-Hulman graduates; and works with students to help make them more marketable. Coaches noted that she is always there when a coach would like her to speak to a recruit and their families, so that they understand what services they will receive from our career placement office.
Taylor Frey 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. Frey has made a significant impact in helping out the overall in-arena experience at our football and basketball games over the last three years. As director of Pep Band, she is a presence who leads a group that brings enthusiasm to fall football days and Saturday afternoon basketball doubleheaders. In addition, Frey also helps lead tours with prospective students, and often touts the team accomplishments as a family choose Rose-Hulman.
Two special awards were presented at the conclusion of the banquet. Hopkins received a rocking chair, the traditional retirement gift from Rose-Hulman to its employees, as gratitude for his 31-year coaching career that will end at the conclusion of the 2019 NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Tournament. Jim Goecker also became just the third person in the last 20 years to receive an honorary department framed varsity letter at this event. Goecker, who was the official basketball scorer for more than 20 years, will retire this year after 34 years as a member of the admissions staff up to his current role as Vice-President of Enrollment Management.