Culpepper signs with Rose-Hulman volleyball

Karl Schneider
Piedra Vista's Sheston Culpepper digs out a serve during a match against Farmington High on Oct. 2, 2014.

FARMINGTON – It was easy to see that Sheston Culpepper was one of the unquestioned leaders of the Piedra Vista volleyball team during the 2015 season.

Culpepper’s passion and leadership on the court led her to being named one of the team’s two captains and caught the attention of the coaching staff at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. And today, Culpepper took the next step in her volleyball career by signing a national letter of intent to play for the Fightin’ Engineers.

Culpepper hasn’t made a visit to Rose-Hulman’s campus, located in Terre Haute, Ind., but said the connection she made with head coach Brenda Goble during phone calls made her feel that Rose-Hulman is the right place for her.

“She loves to coach and loves volleyball,” Culpepper said of Goble. “She has an unbiased opinion on everything. She really emphasized that hard work gets you places, and (she) doesn’t grandfather anyone in — that helped me make my decision.”

Rose-Hulman is an NCAA Division III program that competes in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Fightin’ Engineers finished the 2015 season 14-15 overall and 4-5 in conference play.

Goble has been the head coach of the Fightin’ Engineers since 1996 and was named the HCAC coach of the year in 2011.

PV head coach Ron Becker said Culpepper’s leadership will be tough to replace when next season begins.

Sheston Culpepper signs a national letter of intent to play volleyball for Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology on Wednesday at Piedra Vista High School.

“I really saw Sheston step up and mature over the last four years. Her leadership skills are just amazing,” Becker said. “She has a really good attitude and work ethic, and I just can’t say enough about that. I’m really excited for her to have this opportunity.”

Becker added that he expects Culpepper to fit into Rose-Hulman’s program and style of play fairly easily.

“I really don’t think it will take a lot for her to adjust because she’s already used to playing at a really high speed and high level. I think she’ll acclimate to it really well and fit in really well,” he said. “One thing I’m really happy with is I know (Goble) really well, and she’s a great coach.”

In 2015 Rose-Hulman was ranked as the top engineering school for undergraduates in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Culpepper said she is thinking of majoring in mechanical engineering.

Culpepper, a defensive specialist, said there are other players on the Fightin’ Engineers’ roster who she’ll have to compete for playing time with, but she said has plenty of lessons and success from her time at PV that she’ll carry with her to Indiana.

“I’ll take my hard work and ability to raise my level of play,” she said. “That and all the memories I have of being with my teammates and family, because my teammates are basically my family.”

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.