Rebecca Walter, Owner/Founder inducted into UofM Hall of Fame
Beverly Hills, Mich.
Among the most decorated distance Wolverines in history, Walter racked up three cross country All-America honors (2003-04-05) while donning the block M. In the spring of 2006, she doubled to win the 5,000 and 10,000-meter events, becoming a two-time Big Ten champion and first team All-Big Ten honoree in the process. She also collected four second team All-Big Ten recognitions (2004-05-06-07).
Overall, she was a member of five Big Ten-winning teams (two indoor, three outdoor) during her time at Michigan.
In cross country, she burst onto the scene in the fall of 2002 and was Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Walter was the Big Ten Individual champion and Athlete of the Year in 2003, winning first team All-Big Ten recognition three years straight (2002-04) and was second team as a senior (2005). She went on to win an NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship in 2004, winning Regional Athlete of the Year honors as a result, and was three-time all-region overall (2002, '04-05). The team experienced unprecedented success with her as the low stick, winning Big Ten team titles in four straight seasons (2002-03-04-05) and no athlete in program history has matched that feat since.
Off the track and course, Walter was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree (2003-05) in cross country and earned another three academic all-conference honors in track and field (2003, '05-06). She also earned U-M's Academic Athletic Achievement Award seven times (2002-05 in cross country; 2003-06 in track and field).
"Rebecca was the first person to finish as our No. 1 runner in all three championship meets (Big Ten, NCAA Great Lakes Regional, NCAA Championships) four years in a row," said McGuire.
"She is one of the all-time great competitors in our program," he added. "She was unique in that she was someone who came in right out of high school running at a high level. We have had a lot of people run on three championship teams, but she is the only one to run on four and that is part of what makes her special in our program's history."
Today, Walter resides in Bloomington, Indiana, where she has been located for the last nine years. Walter made the move to be an assistant coach with the Indiana cross country and track and field program, but left in 2014 to pursue her own startup. Now, she is CEO and founder of the nutrition bar company UGo Bars, LLC, a successful venture that has spread into 17 states in addition to online sales.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Five of the most celebrated athletes in University of Michigan women's track and field history were inducted into the program's hall of fame on Saturday (Jan. 14) in a special ceremony at the Junge Family Champions Center.
The class of 2017 is made up of Melissa Bickett (2001-04), Casey Taylor (2006-09), Rebecca Walter (2003, '05-06), Richelle Webb (1991-94) and Erin Webster (2004-07).
Together they earned 12 All-America honors and 10 individual Big Ten titles, making up one of the most decorated classes in program history, and they were anchors on some of Michigan's most successful teams, including 10 separate Big Ten championship teams (four in cross country; six in track and field).
Below are thoughts and reflections from the five inductees:
Melissa Bickett (2001-04)
"This evening was great. When I got the call from Coach Mike about being inducted into the Hall of Fame, I know Anne (Takacs) had asked for my resume the year before, but I didn't know what it was for. It was a good two years between when I gave her my resume and when I heard, so I didn't even think there was a chance I'd be inducted.
"I was really looking forward to not just coming here but seeing everyone as well. Being in Ann Arbor and reliving some of our track and field stories has been special, because this was a great time in life for a lot of us.
"Coach Takacs and I text or email occasionally, but living in different states we are not exactly getting together for coffee. It was great to see Anne again. I stopped by the meet earlier, and I couldn't talk to her much because she was coaching. It reminded me of when she was coaching me; she wasn't focused on anything else."
Casey Taylor (2006-09)
"It was fantastic to be honored in this way. These women are phenomenal women; they have done a lot of great things on the track and off of it, so to be thought of in that way is beyond my comprehension. The athletes who were inducted in years prior -- a lot of them are my former teammates -- so to be amongst them again is awesome.
"Coach Henry is fantastic. He really makes sure that this is a team and a family, so the track community is forever grateful for him. He talked tonight about winding down his career, and I can't wait to celebrate that with him when the time comes. Chiz has been here just as long, and Mike. These coaches' personalities are ingrained in us. My memories are with the team, so I am excited. I loved my time here, and I'm forever grateful for my experience."
Rebecca Walter (2003, '05-06)
"I was looking forward to this evening since I got the phone call. The reunion with all these people, seeing the history and meeting Richelle (Webb), who I did not run with, and learning her story -- it was all incredible. Having the team here that is currently running just shows what I've always believed about this program. It's about the history and everyone who has been part of it, from the Hall of Famers to the current team.
"(Coach Henry and Coach McGuire) haven't changed a bit. They balance the humor and the fun of it, and they realize it's the biggest priority on your plate, but that you're also a human with emotions and fears, and they are able and willing to do with that, bringing you up capacity.
"I honestly can say that the Hall of Famers are my heroes. I know all their names. They are amazing and to be among that group is a dream."
Richelle Webb (1991-94)
"It truly has been humbling. You stand on the shoulders of those who come before you, and for me it is so great to have my teammates here. I have not seen some of them for many years, but to know that together we did this is special. I'm the one being inducted, but I couldn't have done it without them. To me, it's just truly humbling.
"I started my emotions early tonight. I saw a former teammate tonight who I hadn't seen for probably seven years. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, and I walk for her every year. I finished my 10th walk while pregnant for her, and I do it every year. To see her here; it makes it all worth it. You have lifelong friends through this university, and this experience has left me humbled."
Erin Webster (2004-07)
"This is a tremendous honor. It's really the culmination of five hard years of work. I never expected to be included with such unbelievable company. It's something that you can't really put into words -- other than what (Rebecca Walter) said: This is the highest honor I have ever received.
"I never had the opportunity to meet Richelle (Webb), but the DMR that won the 1994 NCAA title was always a group that Mike told us stories about. We were so inspired by them, and to actually put a face to the name really spoke to the tradition of Michigan, especially the distance tradition. Hearing from all these different athletes, who all have their own unique stories, was something you can't see in the results, and that definitely made tonight special."
Communications Contact: Chad Shepard