Athlete – Kenai Central High School
1993 graduate of Kenai Central High School – A four-year participant in swimming, Benson was also a four-year starter on the Kenai Central basketball team. As a high school swimmer, Benson was a two-time state champion in the 50 freestyle, while also placing third in the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly. On the basketball court, Benson was an important member of teams that finished fourth, second and first in the state tournament. She was named first team All-Region as a junior and senior and was first-team All-State as a senior as well as being named a Converse All American. Former coach, Craig Jung recalls “ Being both the school AD and women’s basketball coach, I always scheduled our first games of the year in Anchorage. One year Mendy won the state championship in swimming, climbed out of the Bartlett pool and scored 17 points while leading the team in rebounding that night.”
During her senior year, she also was the student body president. Former swim coach, Susan Maurer states, “She maintained a 4.0, participated in student government, and successfully juggled home and school responsibilities. She learned Japanese and Spanish, traveled widely and fished commercially to earn money for college.” Benson graduated as class valedictorian and received the Kenai Masonic Lodge Outstanding Student Award.
After choosing between swimming and basketball scholarships, Benson went on to have a great four year career at the University of Oregon. In addition to earning starting positions her junior and senior years, Benson was selected to the Pac-10 All-Academic Team. She graduated from Oregon with a major in Japanese and a minor in Spanish. Benson currently teaches languages in Idaho.