Two members of the Culver Academies running community were inducted into the state Hall of Fame for high school runners and coaches over the weekend.
February 2, 2015

 

Eight-time state champion Alex Banfich ’08 and track/cross country coach Michael Chastain were inducted into the Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame during a special induction ceremony and dinner on Friday (Jan. 30) in Indianapolis. That was followed by a reception on Saturday (Jan. 31) at the IATCC Hall of Fame in Terre Haute.

Banfich was honored for a four-year career that included 12 Indiana High School Athletic Association championship races in track and cross country, which she won eight times. She collected five state titles in track in the 1600 and 3200 and won the cross country title three times. She never finished lower than fourth in any of her state championship races.

Banfich has the distinction of being the last runner to win the cross country championship when it was 4,000 meters in 2006 and the first to win the race when it was extended to 5,000 meters in 2007. She also advanced to the Footlocker national championship races three consecutive years.

After graduating from Culver Girls Academy, Banfich attended Princeton University, where she was an NCAA Division I All-American two times in cross country and once in outdoor track. In the NCAA cross country championships, she finished 20th in 2010 and fifth in 2011. She finished eighth in the 5000 at the NCAA track and field championships in 2010.

Chastain’s 40-year coaching tenure has included nine CGA cross country sectional championships, five regional titles, and six state final appearances. His Culver Military Academy cross country teams have won 11 sectional titles, two regionals, and made two state final appearances. His CGA track teams have captured five sectional crowns and the CMA teams have won four.

Chastain coached individual state champions Banfich and Waverly Neer ’11 to outstanding high school careers. Along with Banfich’s eight state championships in 12 races, Neer won three state championships her senior year in the 1600, 3200, and cross country, respectively. Neer also set new state records in the 1600 and 3200 her senior year as well. She is now running at University of Oregon.

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