During the 1970’s, the Bennett H.S. Cross Country and Track & Field teams won their first-ever Section VI titles, to go along with the city championships they routinely won. It was because of athletes like Mike Austin that these team accomplishments were achieved.
Within the first few months of his freshman year, Mike began to establish himself as a quality runner by winning his first varsity letter in cross country, and finishing 4th in the Freshman All-High race. He achieved these two feats even though he didn’t actually go out for cross country until after the season started. Over the next three and a half years Mike produced one of the great running careers in Bennett H.S. history. After completing his freshman year, lettering in track & field, Mike began his sophomore cross country season strong. He was a top 5 finisher in each of the league meets, and won the first of his 8 All-High medals with a fourth place finish in the All High Meet. The following spring Mike became the city’s top miler, a title he would maintain for the next three years. His junior year he again established All-High in cross country finishing 3rd in the 1976 All-High Meet. Mike repeated as the top miler in track, and added a first place finish as anchor man in the 2 mile relay.
Finally in his senior year, Mike established himself as the city’s top distance runner when he finished first in the 1977 All-High cross country meet. In the spring of his senior year he successfully defended his one mile and 2 mile relay titles.
In addition to the championships in cross country and track, Mike was a big contributor to the 1 99 consecutive wins the Bennett tracksters achieved in city school competion over a 15 year period. In his senior year Mike was also an important role player on the 1977-78 varsity basketball team that won the Section VI, Class B title.
Mike comes from a very athletic family. His father, the late Harvey Austin, is a member of the Buffalo Sports Hall Of Fame. His sisters Charisse and Jackie were also fine athletes at Bennett, excelling in volleyball and track & field. After high school, Mike attended the U. of Ottawa in Kansas. He retired after twenty years of service to Niagara Mohawk/National Grid. Mike Austin is currently working as a youth counselor and mentor for the Buffalo Employment Training Center, and still resides with his family in Buffalo.