Oct. 3, 2013
NOTE: The Michigan Women's Track and Field Hall of Fame has been postponed to Friday, March 21, 2014, at 7 p.m. at the Junge Family Champions Center.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan women's track and field head coach James Henry announced the program's five-woman induction class to the Michigan Women's Track and Field Hall of Fame on Thursday (Oct. 3). The inductees include 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).
This year's group marks the eighth class of inductees into the Hall of Fame, which is comprised of 16 former student-athletes and coaches, as well as the inaugural 1978 team. The induction ceremony will take place on Feb. 21, 2014, at the Junge Family Champions Center.
"It's special to me that we will be inducting another class next year," said head coach James Henry. "We have no timeline on when we select a new class for induction because our history is relatively short. This is a prestigious honor, which all five of these ladies are very deserving of, and we felt it was time for them to join many other Michigan women's track and field greats in the hall of fame. I'm happy to have all of them selected as inductees and look forward to having them back in Ann Arbor in January."
Erdman, Gall, Ofili and Edwards were all teammates during the 2006 and 2007 seasons, helping the Wolverines capture the 2006 indoor and 2007 outdoor Big Ten titles as well the program's best finish ever at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2007 (3rd). With Edwards, Gall and Ofili still leading the team in 2008, the Wolverines took third at the NCAA Indoor Championships -- U-M's best finish ever at the indoor national meet.
"That was probably the era that collectively achieved the most accomplishments in my coaching career," said Henry. "We won the 2002-03 triple crown, earned our highest team finishes ever at the NCAA Championships and won several individual Big Ten and national titles. The teams that those outstanding individuals were on are very special."
Henry directly coached Forrester and Ofili both as collegiate and professional athletes and added this about the two inductees: "Both Nicole and Tiffany were overachieving young women -- academically and athletically. They've attained significant accomplishments as Michigan student-athletes, professional athletes and now with both of them getting their PhD. Nicole is someone that was selected as one of our 'greatest athletes,' which are displayed at the Indoor Track Building, before she was chosen for the hall of fame, so this induction for her is long overdue and well deserved. Tiffany, to me, is Michigan's greatest women's track and field athlete ever, based on her accomplishments with five NCAA titles. I'm very pleased with how well she is doing at the international level, as she continues to represent Michigan and her country with great pride."
Women's track and field associate head coach and cross country head coach Mike McGuire had this to say about the three middle distance inductees he coached: "With the three middle distance runners in particular, I'm excited that they're going into the hall of fame at the same time because they each contributed to each other's success individually. It was a scenario where three individuals flourished within the framework of the team, and they were a big part of the framework of the team. There are several Big Ten and national championships shared between the five inductees, and they all went on to outstanding professional careers as well. It will be a very special time in our history to have them all back together for the induction."
1999, High Jump
Forrester became a five-time All-American during her Michigan career, leaping her way to honors in the indoor high jump in 1998 and '99 and the outdoor high jump in three straight season from 1997-'99. She secured her highest finishes at the NCAA Championships in 1999, placing third in both the indoor and outdoor high jump. Forrester helped Michigan to runner-up finishes at the Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Championships in 1997 before leading the Wolverines to three straight conference titles, including the 1998 indoor and outdoor, and 1999 indoor championships. Individually, she won conference titles in the indoor high jump in 1998 and '99, as well as the outdoor high jump in 1997 and '99. The Big Ten Conference named her the Indoor Athlete of the Year during her senior year in 1999. Forrester still holds both the school indoor (6-4) and outdoor (6-3 1/4) high jump records. Following her Michigan career, she competed professionally for Canada for 13 years. Most notably, she won eight Canadian championships, a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and a silver medal at the 2007 Pan American Games, and competed at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
|Katie (Erdman) Waits
Erdman became an eight-time All-American during her career for the Maize and Blue, including five citations in the 800-meter run (three indoor, two outdoor) and three as a member of the distance medley relay (2004, '06, '07). She capped her career with a runner-up finish in the 800-meter run at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships. At the conference level, Erdman won nine individual Big Ten championships. She dominated the indoor 600-meter run, taking top honors in 2003, '04, '06 and '07 and also won the outdoor 800-meter run in 2005 and '07. With Erdman as a member of the distance medley relay, Michigan won three Big Ten titles in 2004, '06 and '07. The conference named Erdman the 2003 Big Ten Indoor Freshman of the Year for her winning performances. Erdman's name still remains on the wall at the U-M Indoor Track Building as the school-record holder in the indoor 600-meter run (1:28.38) and outdoor 800-meter run (1:59.35). Erdman, along with fellow inductees Gall and Edwards, also holds the 4x800- (8:18.78) and 4x1,500-meter relay (17:15.62) records at Michigan. The 2006 team captain earned Academic All-America first team honors in 2007 and second team recognition in 2006, and she was named Michigan's 2007 female Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient. In cross country, Erdman was a two-time All-Big Ten second team honoree (2003, '04) and a member of four straight Big Ten championship teams (2002-05). As a freshman, she helped Michigan win its second triple crown in program history, as the Wolverines captured the 2002 cross country as well as 2003 indoor and outdoor Big Ten titles. Following her Michigan career, she spent two years competing professionally, which were highlighted by her appearance in the 800-meter finals at the 2008 Olympic Trials.
|Nicole (Edwards) Sifuentes
Edwards was a member of the 2005 national champion distance medley relay and became a 10-time All-American at Michigan. She earned four straight All-America honors as a member of the DMR (2005-08), three consecutive in the indoor mile run (2006, '07, '08) and three straight in the outdoor 1,500-meter run (2006, '07, '08). Her third- and second-place performances in the mile at the 2007 and 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships, respectively, led Michigan to ninth- and third-place finishes. Her efforts at the outdoor national meet helped the Wolverines finish third and seventh, respectively, in 2007 and 2008. The pair of third-place finishes are the program's highest to date. Edwards is a seven-time Big Ten champion, winning three titles in the indoor mile (2006, '07, '08), two as a member of the distance medley relay (2005, '07) and two in the outdoor 1,500-meter run (2006, '08). She was also a member of three Big Ten championship teams -- 2005 and 2006 indoor, and 2007 outdoor. The 2008 team captain holds the Michigan indoor record for the mile run (4:33.23) and is a member of three record-holding outdoor relays -- the 4x800-meter relay (8:18.78), 4x1,500 meter relay (17:15.62) and distance medley relay (10:49.59). Fellow inductees Erdman and Gall were members of the record-setting 4x800- and 4x1,500-meter relays, and Gall also joined Edwards on the school's fastest outdoor DMR. In cross country, Edwards is a two-time All-American (2006, '08), as well as two-time NCAA regional champion and Athlete of the Year (2006, '07). She helped lead Michigan to back-to-back Big Ten team titles in 2005 and 2006. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, native is now competing professionally for Saucony. In 2010, she won the silver medal in the 1,500-meter run at the IAAF Continental Cup and was selected to compete for Canada at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. More recently, she competed at the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2013 World Championships in the 1,500-meter run.
|Geena (Gall) Lara
Gall captured back-to-back NCAA titles in the outdoor 800-meter run as a junior and senior (2008, '09), leading Michigan to consecutive seventh-place finishes at the NCAA Outdoor Championships -- its third straight top-10 finish in as many years (3rd, 2007). She ran her way to 10 All-America citations, earning honors four times for the distance medley relay (2006-'09), four times in the outdoor 800-meter run (2006-'09) and twice in the indoor 800-meter run (2008, '09). She holds the U-M school record for the indoor 800-meter run (2:03.37) and is a member of four record-holding outdoor relays -- 4x400-meter relay (3:35.95), 4x800-meter relay (8:18.78), 4x1,500 meter relay (17:15.62) and distance medley relay (10:49.59). Fellow inductees Edwards and Erdman were members of the record-setting 4x800- and 4x1,500-meter relays, and Edwards also joined Gall on the school's fastest outdoor DMR. In addition, Gall holds the U-M Indoor Track Building record for the 600-meter dash (1:29.43). Gall captured 10 individual Big Ten championships and helped lead U-M to a pair of conference crowns, including the 2006 indoor and 2007 outdoor titles. She won three straight Big Ten indoor 800-meter run titles and helped U-M secure four consecutive distance medley relay championships (2006-'09). At the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, Gall won the 2006 800-meter title and doubled as the 800- and 1,500-meter champion as a senior in 2009. The two-time team captain (2008, '09) was named Big Ten Conference Outdoor Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championships in 2009. Following her career at Michigan, Gall signed a contract to run professionally with Nike. Most notably, she qualified for the 2009 World Championships and represented the United States at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where she advanced to the 800-meter run semifinals.
|Tiffany (Ofili) Porter
Ofili, a five-time national champion and All-American, dominated the national hurdle scene in the latter half of her Michigan career, winning the 60-meter hurdles in 2008 and '09 as well as three straight 100-meter hurdle crowns -- in 2007, '08 and '09. She helped Michigan finish third at the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships -- the highest team finish in program history -- and 11th at the 2009 national indoor meet. Her three outdoor hurdle titles led the Wolverines to three straight top-10 finishes at the NCAA Outdoor Championships -- third in 2007 and seventh in 2008 and '09. Ofili won nine individual Big Ten championships and helped lead U-M to a pair of conference crowns, including the 2006 indoor and 2007 outdoor titles. The indoor 60-meter hurdle title belonged to Ofili from 2007-09, while she won three outdoor 100-meter hurdle titles in 2006, '07 and '09. Ofili also contributed in the field, winning the 2008 indoor and 2009 outdoor long jump championships. She earned her third Big Ten outdoor title in 2009 as a member of the winning 4x100-meter relay. The conference recognized Ofili for her efforts by naming her the Big Ten Indoor Athlete of the Year in 2008 and '09. She remains the school-record holder in the 60-meter hurdles (7.94) and 60-meter dash (7.42) as well as the 100-meter hurdles (12.73). She was the recipient of Michigan's female Big Ten Medal of Honor award as a senior in 2009. Holding dual citizenship in the USA and Great Britain since birth, she began competing professionally for the United States following her Michigan career before joining Team Great Britain at the end of the 2010 season. In 2012, she won silver at the World Indoor Championships in Turkey and represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games in London. Most recently, she took home bronze in the 100-meter hurdles at the World Championships in Moscow.
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423