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Nick Buchta Contributes to Winning Teams in Class, on Gridiron

September 30, 2014

Nick Buchta Cheering

Leading The Cheers: Senior offensive lineman Nick Buchta (68) joins his football teammates in signing Rose-Hulman’s fight song following a victory this fall.

Nick Buchta seeks perfection in the classroom and football field as an Academic All-American student-athlete at Rose-Hulman.

Only four B+ grades have kept the North Barrington, Illinois native from having a perfect 4.0 grade point average as a mechanical engineering major during the past three years.

Buchta has been named the Sigma Nu fraternity’s Greek of the Year, based on outstanding campus and community service; member of the Tau Beta Pi honor society; and earned Rose-Hulman’s Heminway Bronze Medal scholar award.

On the gridiron, the 6-foot-4, 280-pound senior left tackle helps anchor the offensive line that’s contributed to one of the most productive offenses in NCAA Division III. He has been a starting player for most of his college career and is a three-year varsity letterman.

And, through it all, Buchta has found time to complete a minor in economics, prepare for the future in mechanical engineering, and, of course, get plenty of sleep.

“I came here to take on a rigorous challenge and see what I could do in engineering,” he says after recounting his fall quarter academic schedule that has 16 hours of coursework in mechatronics, kinetics of machinery, renewable energy, and international growth and development.

“I have learned new things that are going to help me be successful in the future: elements of time management, working in teams, and being a better problem solver,” Buchta continues. “Rose-Hulman has done a great job of making me think like an engineer.”

He has taken those skills to complete internships with Whirlpool, observing dryer production in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and the Wynright Corporation, assisting in warehouse logistics in Oak Lawn, Illinois.

“I didn’t take a course in making dryers, but Rose-Hulman has helped instill the problem-solving skills and intuition to work throughout the production process,” states Buchta. “I’m able to adapt to any situation, learn new things, and pay close attention to the small details in any endeavor.”

Nick Buchta Uniform

Gridiron Leader: Nick Buchta, a two-time Academic All-American, has been a three-year starting left tackle on the football team. He has maintained a 3.92 grade point average as a mechanical engineering major. (Photo by Mike Lanke)

Those skills have carried over to the football field. Buchta’s left tackle position protects opposing defenders from attacking the blind side of the Fightin’ Engineers’ right-handed throwing quarterback. His work has helped the team average 54 points per game to win the first three games this fall, and lead the nation in total offense (665 yards per game) and passing offense (484.7 yards per game). Rose-Hulman’s 2013 team set single-season school records for pass completions (240) and plays run (855), and were co-champions of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

“Nick is very much a Rose-Hulman success story, and proof you can accomplish anything if you have the desire and work ethic to make it happen,” says Football Coach Jeff Sokol, who has been the Engineers’ coach for all four of Buchta’s gridiron seasons. “Nick’s hard work and determination has not only made him a starter, but a respected leader on our football team, and one of the best offensive linemen in our conference.”

All of those attributes and dazzling 3.92 grade point average should make Buchta a high-quality prospect to become the third Rose-Hulman football player to earn Academic All-American honors for three straight seasons (joining Greg Kremer, 1986-88, and Thomas Reives, 2007-09). This would continue the institute’s proud tradition of producing 104 Academic All-Americans, and at least one for 29 straight years, the sixth longest string among all NCAA colleges.

“Playing football has been a big part of my Rose-Hulman experience. It has made me a better engineer,” Buchta remarks. “Being able to deal with stressful situations on the football field and overcoming adversity has been very valuable, along with having an engineering mindset. I’m better prepared to have a job in engineering. I will soon be contributing to another winning team (engineering company), and, once again, I will be ready for that challenge.”