Steve Prefontaine

International Track Star - Running Legend

Prefontaine Athletic Award

 

In 1984, the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce President asked the Prefontaine Memorial Committee to establish an annual award to a Coos Bay/North Bend student-athlete to be presented at the Chamber's Annual Awards Banquet.

Beginning in 1985, the Prefontaine Memorial Committee has honored outstanding student-athletes whose accomplishments most closely reflected the excellence in athletics demonstrated by the late Steve Prefontaine.

Steve Prefontaine grew up in Coos Bay, OR and graduated from Marshfield High School in 1969. He was a two-time State Cross County Champion, two-time State 2-Mile Champion and also won the State Championship in the mile his senior season. Also during his senior season, Steve established a new National 2-mile record with a time of 8:41.5 at a meet in Corvallis and that record stood for many years. He capped his high school career by placing 4th in the 3-mile at the AAU National Championships, where he was chosen to compete internationally on the USA team.

Steve went on to the University of Oregon to run under the legendary Bill Bowerman. During his years at Oregon he won three National Collegiate Cross County Championships and four 3-mile/5,000-meter Collegiate Outdoor titles. In 1972, Steve won the Olympic Trials 5,000-meters race in front of a standing room only crowd of adoring fans at Hayward Field in Eugene. Later that fall, Steve represented the United States at the Summer Olympic Games of Munich, Germany where he finished 4th in one the most stirring 5,000-meter races in Olympic history. At the time of his tragic death in May of 1975, he held every American distance record from 2,000-meters to 10,000-meters.

Each year, the Prefontaine Memorial Committee asks the athletic directors of Marshfield High School and North Bend High School to submit the names of up to three worthy candidates for our consideration. Although the award is given primarily for excellence in athletics, we also look for excellence in character, involvement in the community outside of school activities and academics.

2008-2009 Prefontaine Athletic Award

   

PREFONTAINE ATHLETIC AWARD SPEECH
Presented by Bob Huggins
Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet
January 30, 2010

Good Evening.

It is an honor to be with you this evening to present the Prefontaine Athletic Award for the 26th time.

First, I'd like to acknowledge Steve Prefontaine's mother, Elfriede, and his sister, Linda Prefontaine, who are here this evening to honor this year's recipient.

For those of you who may be new to our area or in attendance at this awards banquet for the first time, Timm Slater asked me to briefly comment on the connection between the Chamber and the Prefontaine Memorial Committee.

The Prefontaine Committee was started in 1979 during the first year of the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce's existence after the combining of the Coos Bay and North Bend Chambers. The Chamber's Manager at that time, Don Bock, felt that our community needed to do something to recognize Steve Prefontaine, so a Chamber committee was formed to organize a race memorializing Pre. Several of the original Pre Committee members were also members of the Chamber Board of Directors, including Jay Fan, who was serving as the combined Chamber's first President in 1979, Ron Wood and myself. Don Bock also served on the Pre Committee for a number of years. That Chamber committee soon became the Prefontaine Memorial Committee, which eventually affiliated with the Prefontaine Foundation, a non-profit foundation based in Eugene, which was founded in 1975 shortly after Pre's death in an automobile accident. The Prefontaine Committee members spent most of their time in 1979 and early 1980 raising funds to build the Prefontaine Memorial and preparing for the initial Prefontaine Run. The Prefontaine Memorial, located immediately to the south of the Visitor Information Center, was dedicated on September 20th, 1980 on the day of the first Prefontaine Run.

In 1984, at the request of Chamber President Monty LaMontagne, the Prefontaine Committee was asked to select and honor an outstanding student/athlete from the Bay Area who exemplified the great character and competitive spirit of Steve Prefontaine,

So for the past 26 years, the Prefontaine Committee has partnered with the Chamber to honor our area's youth, alongside the outstanding individuals and businesses honored by the Chamber each year for having made significant contributions to our communities.

So it is again our pleasure to present the 26th Prefontaine Athletic Award to an outstanding student/athlete, Moriah Roberge, who graduated from Marshfield this past June.

Moriah combined outstanding athleticism with gritty determination to excel in three sports-cross country, basketball and track & field. She was lst team All-District in cross country and was a key member of the District Champion Pirate team. She was 2nd team All-District in basketball and a team leader of Marshfield's State Playoff team.

Her most outstanding accomplishments, however, took place each spring during the track & field season. Moriah comes from a family with three other sisters, two of whom, Celine and Muriel, were both State Champion pole vaulters at Marshfield. So Moriah had great role models in her own family to look up to. From an early age, it was evident that Moriah possessed great athletic skills and had the ability and the desire to follow in her sisters' footsteps. And she did not disappoint, winning the State 5A pole vault championship in successive years in 2008 and 2009. Her winning height in 2009 of 12'9" was not only a State 5A Meet Record, it was also an all-classification meet record, the 2nd highest mark of all-time in the State of Oregon and ranked her 7th in the nation for her class.

In addition to her pole vaulting exploits, Moriah is also ranked 2nd all-time at Marshfield in the javelin and she was named citizen/athlete of the year in 2009. As captain of the track & field team, she inspired by personal example, created enthusiasm among teammates and mentored younger athletes.

Moriah was also an excellent scholar, being named valedictorian of her class with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Due to her athletic prowess and outstanding academic achievements, Moriah earned a combined academic/athletic scholarship to attend San Diego State University, where she carries a 3.9 GPA after her first term.

As has often been the case in years past, Moriah is not able to be here to accept this award, as she is competing this weekend in her first competitive collegiate competition in Reno, NV.

Since Moriah's mother and father are also is Reno to watch their daughter compete, the family has asked Stuart Woods to accept the award on Moriah's behalf Stuart is not only an original member of the Prefontaine Memorial Committee, but has also been serving as a volunteer pole vault coach at Marshfield.

Stu, could you please come forward and accept the 2009 Prefontaine Athletic Award on behalf of Moriah Roberge?