Michigan is back where it started, thanks to Chesterton’s Kyle Whitaker.
Beginning and ending the season as the top-ranked men’s swimming program in the country, Whitaker helped the Wolverines capture their 12th NCAA Division I national title Saturday night.
In a pool Whitaker dominated from his prep days in Indiana, the junior standout finished eighth in the 200 individual medley (1:43.55) and was ninth in the 400 IM (3:43.15) at IUPUI’s Natatorium.
Whitaker’s effort in the 200 IM got him his seventh All-American honor.
Whitaker is a seven-time All-Big Ten champion, three-time All-Big selection, and was the Big Ten Freshman of the Championships (2011).
Michigan had a record 17 swimmers converge on Indianapolis for the NCAA Championships.
* Notre Dame’s Bill Bass (Chesterton) and Chris Johnson (Lake Central) went out in style in their final seasons at the NCAA Championships.
Bass was the anchor on the Fighting Irish’s 800 freestyle relay that finished 16th overall (6:25.32), thanks to a great finishing leg of 1:36.05 by Bass. It was the first ND relay to earn All-American honors in school history, and the first for Bass. The senior was also 23rd in the 200 medley relay, 21st in the 400 medley relay, and 28th in the 200 free relay.
Johnson was 18th overall in the 100 breast, his first NCAA Championships event.
Cameron Miller (Michigan City) competed in the 200 medley relay with Bass, taking 23rd. He was also 29th in the 100 breast and 58th in the 200 IM.
Crown Point’s Brooke Hiestand just completed a memorable freshman season at Winona State University in Minnesota.
Hiestand, a Level 10 gymnast, finished 15th on the floor exercise (9.250) at the 2013 National Collegiate Gymnastics Association Championships (NCGA) last weekend at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Hiestand was the only freshman in the finals in her event.
It was quite the first impression for Marian Catholic’s Brett Lilek. The freshman sensation and former Times Player of the Year went five strong innings in No. 24 Arizona State’s 3-2 victory over then No. 2 Arkansas.
Lilek, a lefty flame-thrower, was starting his first game for the Sun Devils. He allowed only one earned run over five innings, with six strikeouts and no walks.
More impressive was in the second inning, when he got out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation with three straight strikeouts. Later in the fifth, he got out of another bases-loaded jam with two strikeouts.
* Manchester’s Jordan Nieman (Michigan City) was named the Heartland Athletic Conference’s Hitter of Week recently.
Nieman was 9-for-16 (.563) with three doubles, seven RBI, two runs, and a .750 slugging percentage as Manchester swept a three-game set from Franklin College and beat Wabash.
Audrey Bickel (Andrean) was 3-for-5 with two RBIs in Ball State’s double-header sweep of Mid-American Conference East favorite Bowling Green on Friday.
Bickel, a junior third baseman and Munster native, has helped the Cardinals to a 16-10 start.
The Times welcomes information about local athletes for inclusion in Region Collegians. E-mail Brian Waddle at email@example.com.