mike_benchoffMike Benchoff was a three sport star while in high school. He was a key defensive back on the 1953 SCHS football team that compiled an 8-1 record and outscored their opponents 348-65. The team capped their season with a 55-13 win over South Seven Conference champion, Mt Vernon.

Benchoff, who is now a trial lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona, is a graduate of Notre Dame and has been honored as a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Benchoff was bracketed with Eddie Murray and Phil “Butch” Newport in the backfield during his junior year before an injury sidelined him for the remainder of the year. As a senior, he was the free safety on the outstanding 1953 team that allowed only 10 touchdowns and recorded three shutouts in their eight victories that included a 19-6 victory over arch rival Centralia.

Benchoff was a starting guard on the Wildcat basketball team during his junior and senior years and was a member of the 1952 North Egypt Conference championship team as a sophomore. During his junior year at SCHS, he won the free throw award and in both his junior and senior years, he led the team in assists. As a senior, he was one of the starters on the team who all scored in double figures.

Specializing in distance runs and the low hurdles in track, Benchoff was the district 880 yard champion in 1952 during his sophomore year and qualified for the state track meet. Salem won the North Egypt Conference track meet that year. In 1953, Benchoff won the 880 yard Conference championship.

In 1954, Benchoff set a school record in 180 yard low hurdles. After suffering an injury in a subsequent meet in the low hurdles that required surgery, he missed most of the season, but returned to qualify for the 880 yard and mile relay teams that qualified for the state meet.

At Notre Dame, he played on the freshman basketball team as a walk-on and earned his numerals. In track, he pursued running the 440 yard dash, but a knee injury forced him to forgo further competition in the sport.