March 21, 2014
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Five of the most decorated athletes in University of Michigan women's track and field history were inducted into the program's hall of fame on Friday (March 21) in a special ceremony at the Junge Family Champions Center. The Class of 2014 included Nicole Forrester (1996-'99), Katie (Erdman) Waits (2003-'07), Nicole (Edwards) Sifuentes (2005-'08), Geena (Gall) Lara (2005-'09) and Tiffany (Ofili) Porter (2006-'09).
All five inductees, who share a combined 38 All-America honors, were in attendance at the induction, along with friends, family and fans of the program. Following the ceremony, they each commented on joining the hall of fame, the fond memories of their time as Michigan student-athletes and their pride in being Michigan Women for life.
From left: Coach Henry, Waits, Porter, Forrester, Sifuentes, Lara, Coach McGuire
Nicole Forrester, 1996-99, High Jump
"I'm still trying to capture this whole experience. It's amazing to see all the things everyone has accomplished. It's great for me to see all that continues to come from this program, and to be a part of it, I feel very honored and thankful. There are a lot of decisions you make in your life and some might be good, some might be bad, and for me, coming to Michigan was probably one of the best decisions, if not the best decision I've ever made in my life because it has changed the course of my life. It has opened up a lot of opportunities that would not have come to me if it wasn't for me being here at the greatest institution -- the University of Michigan. I think to be a part of that legacy is really immeasurable and I don't think I can actually put it into words. I'm feeling honored and grateful that I'd be considered for this hall of fame."
Katie (Erdman) Waits, 2003-07, Mid-Distance
"It's so nice to be here and see old friends. We all spent so much time together that even though there is now years before I see these girls at times, it feels like we were running a workout together two weeks ago. I built some great lasting relationships here and it feels like a family when we're all back in the same place together. I couldn't be more proud to be a part of the University of Michigan. My husband is training at the U-M hospital as a surgeon and I truly believe in the Michigan Difference and the Michigan Family -- it's a part of my everyday life."
Nicole (Edwards) Sifuentes, 2005-08, Mid-Distance
"I think that sharing this moment with some of my closest friends and teammates is what makes this most meaningful. For me, and I know for all of us, our college experience is made of memories of us being with each other. This is just another memory that we have to share with each other so it makes this even more special. Having the opportunity to stay involved with the University of Michigan and this program means so much to me. I am where I am today because I continued training with Mike (McGuire) and I think I have everything I need to succeed here. It means a lot to be able to see the current girls on the team and see them do well, and do some workouts with them. It's great to know them personally so that when I see the results I know who they are and not just their names. They're excited about running and it's exciting to see them and think of when I was that age -- it's a great time in life. I love being here still, I love Ann Arbor, I obviously love Michigan and I'm happy I'm still here."
Geena (Gall) Lara, 2006-09, Mid-Distance
"It's really special to be inducted with Katie (Erdman), Nicole (Edwards) and Tiffany (Ofili), who were all teammates of mine at the same time, as well as Nicole Forrester. It means a lot to me to be inducted right now during my career instead of later down the road when I'm not competing anymore. It's really great that all my family could be here as well. It's a huge honor to be inducted into the hall of fame -- this is the first hall of fame I've been inducted into so it's definitely the best day of my life right now. I'm super happy to be back here in Ann Arbor. It was a great event tonight and I'm really proud of all the girls that were inducted. I love them all like my sisters. Working with Mike (McGuire) again as my coach means a lot to me because he knows me better than any other coach. I'm really excited for my future and for this upcoming outdoor season. I have a few more years left in me and I have a lot of goals I want to accomplish."
Tiffany (Ofili) Porter, 2006-09, Hurdles
"This is such a huge honor. It's not only being able to say that I'm now a member of the hall of fame, which is such a huge accomplishment in itself, but being able to say that I've done it alongside my best friends and teammates makes it that much sweeter. I'm so totally over the moon and so honored to be here. For me to stay involved in this program and continue to train with coach Henry is huge. This is where things took off for me. No matter where I go around the world, Michigan is always going to be home for me. To be able to come here, get guidance from coach Henry and do some sessions with my sister (Cindy Ofili) is probably one of the most rewarding feelings ever. As an athlete, our time is limited so I'm trying to capitalize on that and bring Michigan as much glory as possible."
Photos from this evening's induction ceremony are available on the Women's Track and Field Facebook page.