Rebecca Walter, a former Big Ten cross country champion and six-time All-Big Ten honoree at Michigan, enters her fourth season as an assistant coach for distance, middle distance and cross country for the Hoosiers.
Indiana's distance runners took a collective step forward in 2010, earning nine All-America certificates and winning four Big Ten titles. The Indiana women advanced to the NCAA Championships in cross country for the first time since 2004. In addition to the women's cross country team, 13 Hoosiers individually qualified for an NCAA meet in one of the three seasons.
On the women's side, Molly Beckwith highlighted the season with a second-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 800m. Beckwith followed her NCAA performance with a tour of Europe, where she finished an 800m race in 1:59.83. That performance merited a professional contract with Saucony. Beckwith added indoor All-America honors and two Big Ten titles to her impressive senior campaign.
Andy Bayer had a remarkable indoor campaign, breaking four minutes in the mile and eight minutes in the 3,000m, and then taking third at NCAAs in the 3,000m a day after posting an astonishing comeback for seventh place in the distance medley relay after dropping the baton. He was joined by Andrew Poore as an All-American in the 3,000m. Also earning All-America honors in the distance medley relay were De'Sean Turner, and Danny Stockberger. Turner added All-America honors to his resume in the steeplechase.
Sarah Pease had a breakout season in 2010. Pease made a name for herself in the 3,000m steeplechase, taking fourth at both the NCAA Championships and the USA Championships. Poore advanced to NCAAs as an individual in cross country, indoor and outdoor. Turner took the Big Ten title in the steeplechase in a one-two finish with Poore. Poore claimed the Big Ten 5K crown as well. Ben Hubers took 12th at the NCAA outdoor meet in the 5,000m.
Walter's work with IU's distance runners showed its worth in her second season at Indiana. Wendi Robinson earned All-America honors in cross country, finishing 28th at NCAAs. Robinson and Timothy McLeod earned All-Big Ten honors as well.
During the indoor season, Robinson earned a return trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships, and Beckwith returned to the meet in the 800m. Indiana's young distance runners on the men's side took a big step forward on the year as well. Hubers, Turner and Evan Bardach earned All-America honors as a part of the distance medley relay, finishing seventh at NCAAs.
During the outdoor season, Robinson and Beckwith were joined by Pease at NCAAs. Pease had a huge meet, setting an IU record in the 3,000m steeplechase and finishing seventh for her own All-America honors. Beckwith, Pease and Robinson qualified for and competed at the USA Track and Field Championships, as did Chelsea Blanchard, Kaylan Comer and Bayer.
In 2008, Walter was instrumental in the breakout of Robinson. Robinson recorded NCAA provisional qualifications in the 3,000m and 5,000m as well as helping set a new school record in the distance medley relay. Robinson lapped the entire field on consecutive weekends to open the 2008 indoor season, winning the 3,000m at the Big Ten/SEC Challenge on Jan. 19 and the 5,000m at the Gladstein Invitational. Her time of 16:16.23 in the 5k earned her a spot at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Robinson teamed with Audrey Smoot, Caity Lauer and Beckwith for a first place finish, school record and provisional qualification in the D.M.R. at the Meyo Invitational.
Walter spent the 2006 cross country season as a volunteer assistant coach at Georgetown under Helmer, and played a big role in helping the Hoyas' women's cross country team finish 16th at the NCAA Championships.
Walter, a three-time cross country All-American, was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2002 and was later named Great Lakes Regional Athlete of the Year in 2005 after winning the regional during her junior season for Michigan.
She was also very successful on the track for the Wolverines. During the 2006 outdoor season, she won the Big Ten 5,000- and 10,000-meter titles, while finishing second in the 3,000-meter run during the indoor campaign. Walter also was a runner-up in the outdoor 5K in 2005, indoor 5K in 2003 and the outdoor 10K in 2003 and 2006. She was also a three-time NCAA Championship qualifier.
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