Fifteen years ago one of the best runners William Blount track and field has ever known approached the starting line as an underdog, hoping to end her career on a high note. Eleven minutes, 27 seconds later, Becca (Beverly) Wein became the school’s first-ever state champion.
“It was the crowning point for all I’d worked for for four years running under (William Blount) coach (Chris) Frary,” Wein said. “It was everything coming together at the right time. It was such an honor.”
Wein unexpectedly won the 3200 meters at the 1996 TSSAA state meet after she wasn’t one of the eight qualifiers for her better race, the 1600 meters. Wein kept pace with Carla McCready of Dobyns-Bennett, who had won both the 1600 and 3200 the two previous years, along with being the state cross country champion for three consecutive years. That didn’t faze the William Blount standout. Wein made her move late and, pushed by McCready, never relinquished the lead again.
“Carla was the favorite going in, and the strategy was for Becca to hang with Carla as well as she could during those first four or five laps then push it and see what happens,” Frary said. “On the sixth of eight laps, she went by her, and McCready didn’t respond and would pull out. From that point on Becca controlled the race.”
The success she had at William Blount helped Wein earn a scholarship to the University of South Alabama, where she would become a three-time Sunbelt all-conference selection in cross-country. In 1999 she was the top scorer at the conference’s indoor meet and was nominated by the school as the NCAA woman of the year.
While at South Alabama, Wein earned a degree in nursing and found a career she loves.
“I love helping people and feeling like I’m giving back,” she said, “and it’s a field I can go in a lot of different directions. In nursing I’ve done anything from working in cardiac intensive care to (working) in a school. Now I work for a skin cancer surgeon in Phoenix.”
Wein currently lives in Glendale, Ariz., with her husband, Bobby, and the couple’s 3-year-old son, Case. They’re expecting their second child in September.
“You just kind of knew Becca was one of those people who would go on and grow up and just become a good human being,” Frary said.
Wein has stayed active in running, doing marathons, half marathons and 24-hour relays, but, with a young son at home, training is often difficult.
“It’s great,” she said. “Of course it’s a challenge to get out and work out as much, but I’ve married someone who is an athlete as well. He does Ironman training, so we have to fit it in at 4:30 in the morning if we want to get out and train, but having a child is a great addition to our lives.”
Working harder is not something new to Wein. It’s something that stood out about her, Frary said, during her time at William Blount.
“Becca was the model student-athlete,” he said. “She was willing to take on new challenges, and she would always push herself just a little bit harder.
“She was one of those special-student athletes that in a coaching career you don’t get many of, and, at William Blount, she’ll always be the first (state champion). She’s set the bar high for the kids who are coming in.”