Alex Banfich, a Princeton University cross-country standout, is enjoying every minute of her senior season.
“It is a little funny,” Banfich said. “Four years goes by so fast but at the same time, it’s such a different experience. This year, I’m really having a great time and all of the girls have been wonderful. I couldn’t ask for a better team to be a captain of.”
Banfich provides leadership on and off the field. She is one of the team’s top runners and has helped the Tigers post several impressive performances this season.
“I think our team is coming along very well,” said Banfich. “We graduated quite a few of our top girls last year, so a lot of people looked at us as young and inexperienced. But we have a lot of talent and the team is looking great.”
Banfich and the Tigers have made their mark in both conference and national events. The Tigers placed eighth in a 28-team field at Notre Dame and placed first at an event at Fordham. The team also came out on top over Harvard and Yale in the annual HYP meet.
“It’s one of the oldest meets in history,” Banfich said. “It’s really fun to be a part of that. We were definitely upbeat after that win and are looking forward to the next few weeks.”
Banfich took first at the HYP meet with a time of 17:33. She also placed 13th at Notre Dame and had the highest finish of any Tiger. Banfich has been equally active encouraging young teammates who continue to improve. It is all part of her responsibilities as a captain.
“It definitely comes with a lot of expectations and responsibilities,” said Banfich. “But I couldn’t ask for a better group of motivated, hard-working girls. I feel like I have the easiest job in the world.”
Banfich graduated from Culver Academy in Plymouth, Ind. She had opportunities to attend schools throughout across the country, but she chose Princeon.
“Princeton had the best combination of academics and athletics,” said Banfich. “Other schools I looked at were lacking at one or the other. Princeton was the perfect balance in both areas.”
Banfich was part of an Ivy League championship last season. She hopes for a repeat and to get back to the NCAA Championships for the fourth straight season.
“To get to the NCAA Championships as a team was our goal,” Banfich said. “As an individual, you want to do a little better every year than the year before. Last year, I was 20th. I wasn’t fully satisfied with that performance. Anything better than that this year would be ideal.”
Banfich may get another chance to run at the NCAA meet, but she is focused on the immediate future. Princeton will compete at the Wisconsin Invitational on October 14 before competing for the Ivy League crown.
“There is definitely a sense that we haven’t reached our potential yet,” Banfich said. “We’re coming off that eighth-place finish at Notre Dame. We really feel like it wasn’t the best that we can do. We have another chance to compete nationally in two weeks and then comes the Ivy League Tournament.”
Banfich will compete in track and field this spring. While she had success in both last fall and spring, she enjoys the challenge of cross-country.
“I love it,” said Banfich. “I love getting out of the track and being subject to the elements of the wind and the rain. I love the fall weather. There’s also the whole team aspect which is a little stronger in cross country than it is in track.”