Dec. 6, 2016
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Five all-time greats from the University of Michigan women's track and field record books will be inducted into the program's Hall of Fame in January, it was announced on Tuesday (Dec. 6). Melissa Bickett (2001-04), Casey Taylor (2006-09), Rebecca Walter (2003, '05-06), Richelle Webb (1991-94) and Erin Webster (2004-07) will make up the 10th induction class in Michigan women's track and field history.
The induction ceremony will take place on the evening of Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Junge Family Champions Center on the U-M Athletic Campus on the same day as the final competition event at U-M's Indoor Track Building -- the Simmons-Harvey Invitational. More information will be made available closer to that date.
"We are very excited to induct this year's class," said head coach James Henry.
"These women are some of the most successful athletes in the history of our program and it is important to us that they be recognized in that way. We have had so many great championship teams over the years and it is important that they know their place in Michigan Track and Field history. We hope this year's induction class is celebrated for all they have accomplished."
"This year's class is made up of great champions at the Big Ten and national level," said associate head coach Mike McGuire.
"They are a very deserving group and we look forward to adding them to our most highly-honored inductees."
A four-year letterwinner who McGuire called "an excellent multiple thrower; a technician with great speed and a competitiveness", Bickett was a part of five Big Ten title-winning teams (two indoor, three outdoor) while competing for the Maize and Blue. She was a two-time All-American in the discus (seventh in 2003; 11th in 2004) as well.
Bickett won an individual Big Ten title in the discus in 2004 to earn first team All-Big Ten honors and was a second-team honoree after finishing runner-up in 2002. She was NCAA Mideast Regional champion in 2004 and went on to compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2004.
In the classroom, Bickett was a Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient in 2004 and she earned Academic All-Big Ten three straight years from 2002 to 2004. She was a 2004 CoSIDA Academic All-District IV second-team honoree and a recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship following her graduation in the spring of 2004. She also received the U-M Athletic Academic Achievement Award in all four of her years in Ann Arbor.
"She was known as an undersized thrower," said Henry, "but she turned out to be one of the hardest-working throwers we have ever had in the program. She was definitely one of the most detailed-oriented people on the team and she was always a phenomenal student. We are pleased to bring her into the fold."
Upon completing her career at U-M, Bickett continued to compete each year in medical school. She qualified for and competed in the U.S. Nationals from 2005-07 and she also went on to compete at the 2008 Olympic Trials. The 2007 championships are where Bickett earned her best finish, a seventh-place showing in discus.
Today, Bickett resides in Canton, Ohio, with her partner Monnie and their daughter, and the couple is expecting another child. In Canton, she works as a sports medicine Orthopaedic surgeon. She continues to work with and treat athletes on a regularly basis, and previously worked with the Houston Texans, Rockets, Astros and Dynamo in addition to working with student-athletes at the University of Houston.
Chicago Heights, Ill.
The indoor and outdoor program record holder in the triple jump, Taylor was a Big Ten Outdoor champion in the event in 2008, earning her first team All-Big Ten honors. She was a four-year letterwinner and garnered two second team All-Big Ten recognitions. She won another conference title as part of the 2009 4x100-meter relay team.
The outdoor triple jump mark was a 13-year-old record (current: 13.15 meters; 43-1.75 ft.) and the indoor record had stood for 12 years (current: 13.09 meters; 42-11.5 ft.) before Taylor re-set them both in the span of one year.
She was also part of some of Michigan's most successful teams, winning Big Ten team titles as part of the 2006 indoor and 2007 outdoor squad. She also helped the Wolverines to the program's best-ever NCAA finish at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships, when the team placed third.
In the classroom, Taylor earned U-M Academic Athletic Achievement recognition. Upon graduation, Taylor pursued graduate school at Northeastern University and later returned to U-M as part of the Michigan Athletics Development Team, where she was an annual giving associate for several years.
Today, she lives in Maryland with her husband, Branden Bufford, who is a teacher in the Washington D.C. Public School system, and together the two have a six-month-old daughter, Taylor Grace.
"Casey was just a quality student-athlete coming in," said Henry.
"She was probably one of my hardest-working jumpers and turned into an outstanding sprinter as well. She is one of the very best long and triple jumpers in the history of the program. She had a great work ethic in her career and came a long way in her time at Michigan and proved to be a phenomenal competitor and athlete."
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.
East Cleveland, Ohio
Webb was a member of Michigan's first-ever national championship relay team, the 1994 Distance Medley Relay (DMR), and earned NCAA All-America honors as a result. Webb ran the quarter-mile leg and helped the Wolverines win in 11:08.60, the first-ever NCAA individual or relay championship in program history. The DMR has since become a staple of U-M success and the 1994 team is often referenced among the greatest DMR units in program history.
Webb captured two individual Big Ten titles during the outdoor track and field season in her time at U-M, sweeping the 100 and 200-meter titles in 1994 to capture first team All-Big Ten recognition and Big Ten Athlete of the Year honors. She was first team All-Big Ten in 1993 and 1994 as well.
She still owns the program's outdoor 200-meter dash record set in 1994 (22.90) and she left the program on a high note. Webb was part of three Big Ten-winning teams (outdoor in 1993-94, indoor in 1994), helping to lead U-M to conference crowns in each of her final three meets as a Wolverine, including the program's first-ever Triple Crown in 1993-94.
Today, Webb is the vice president of Ambulatory Service Line at Catholic Health Initiatives St. Luke's Health. She earned a second degree from Michigan, a masters in Health Services Administration, in 1996 from the U-M School of Public Health and has been a healthcare administrator for 20 years. She currently resides in Missouri City, Texas, near Houston. Richelle's married name is Dixon and she is married to Tyrone. Together the couple had their first child, Zoe Milan Dixon, this past July and recently celebrated their sixth marriage anniversary.
"Richelle was an outstanding performer," said McGuire.
"She had a great competitive spirit and performed well for us in a number of events, including the DMR. She was part of our first national championship relay and that has become a tradition of success for us ever since. She also went on to earn multiple degrees and is very accomplished in her professional life."
Among the most decorated athletes in program history, Webster was a six-time All-American (once in cross country, five in track and field) with three of five first team honors on the track.
She was All-America indoors at 5,000 meters in 2006 (sixth) and 2007 (11th), and doubled as a senior to also earn All-America honors at 3,000 meters (ninth). Outdoors, she earned All-America honors twice in the 5,000-meter run with a pair of third-place finishes.
At the conference level, she won three Big Ten titles. Her first came in 2006 (3,000-meter run) and after repeating the title in 2007 as a senior, she added the 5K title to finish her career.
Webster was a 2007 All-American in cross country and she earned three all-region citations from 2005 to 2007. She was a four-year letterwinner in each season, helping the Wolverines to three Big Ten Cross Country team titles along the way (2004-05-06) and she also helped capture a pair of NCAA Great Lakes Regional cross country crowns (2004-05).
A two-time first team All-Big Ten honoree (2005-06) who also earned second team honors once (2007), Webster was individual Big Ten Champion in 2006 and also earned Athlete of the Year honors from the conference.
Webster earned three Academic All-Big Ten recognitions (2004-06) in cross country and another three in track and field (2005-06-07), and also collected U-M Academic Athletic Achievement Award honors in all five seasons (2003-07) in cross country and all four seasons (2004-07) in track and field.
"Erin is someone that really developed here," said McGuire.
"It took her until her third year in the program, and she really took off from there. We redshirted her, and she was a non-scholarship kid out of high school that went on to win individual Big Ten titles and All-America honors. She still runs today and keeps active, and she is someone who really blossomed while she was here and was a key contributor to championship teams in cross country and track and field."
After earning her B.A. in Communications from U-M in 2007, Webster graduated with her masters in sport management in 2008. She currently resides in Dearborn, Michigan, and works in nearby Livonia at a marketing company. She continues to enjoy running, and is a proud owner of a six-year old Russian Blue cat.
Communications Contact: Chad Shepard