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.

2005-2006 Prefontaine Athletic Award

   

PREFONTAINE ATHLETIC AWARD SPEECH
Presented by Bob Huggins
Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet
January 27,2007

 

Good Evening.

On behalf of the Prefontaine Memorial Committee, I'd like to thank the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce for including the Prefontaine Athletic Award as part of their annual awards banquet honoring our area's businesses and individuals who have made significant contributions to our communities. It is my privilege to present our 23rd Prefontaine Athletic Award to one of our outstanding student-athletes.

As I was reflecting this week on what to include in my presentation this evening, it dawned on me that Steve Prefontaine would have celebrated his 56th birthday just two days ago. And I thought--What a legacy Pre left with us, that nearly 32 years since his passing at the age of 24, he is as popular world-wide today as he was during his prolific running career. As Executive Director of the Prefontaine Run and with my office housing our Prefontaine web site store, I observe first-hand, on almost a daily basis, the continuing popularity of Steve Prefontaine. Because of the success of the Prefontaine Run and the popularity of our internet store, our financial success has enabled us to help Coos County high schools fund their cross country and track & field programs. Over the past several years we have been able to donate approximately $30,000 in grants for needed equipment, repairs, for uniforms and shoes for students in need, for scholarships and for travel costs for athletes and coaches to events they normally wouldn't be able to attend.

We feel in some small way, through our contributions, that we have helped our local schools nurture the many fine student-athletes who participate in track and cross-country programs throughout the county. For the past 22 years, we have recognized an outstanding student-athlete from Marshfield or North Bend who we feel most closely personifies the competitive spirit of Steve Prefontaine. Although the award is given primarily for excellence in athletics, we also look for excellence of character, academics and involvement in our communities.

This year's award winner certainly fulfills all of these criteria. It is my pleasure to announce the winner of the 2005-2006 Prefontaine Athletic Award, Megan Hibner.

Due to commitments at Oregon State University, Megan is unable to be with us to accept her award. Accepting the award on Megan's behalf are her parents Nancy and Bogue Morgan. Here also to honor Megan is Pre's mother Elfriede Prefontaine.

In nominating Megan for this award, North Bend High School Athletic Director Boyd Bjorkquist wrote: Megan is an outstanding young lady who had an exceptional cross country season. She is also an exceptional student and person who was a positive influence on all students at North Bend High School. Megan was involved in community and school projects. She helped with the Mr. Bulldog Pageant working with one of the contestants to raise funds for the Children's Miracle Network. She organized a fun run to help with this effort that was the most successful in school history. Megan was an outstanding student, graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA and was co-valedictorian of her class.

Megan is a very successful distance runner, which requires great stamina, dedication and persistence. She participated in cross-country all four years and qualified for the State Championship meet each year. She improved her performance every year from 77th as a freshman, 15th as a sophomore, 4th as a junior and finishing 3rd her senior season.

During track & field season, Megan showed similar improvement at the State meets. Her freshman year she finished 13th in the 3,000 meters. As a sophomore she was 7th in the 3,000 and 6th in the 1,500 meters. Her junior year she was 2nd at 3,000 meters and 3rd at 1,500 meters. Unfortunately, her senior track season was cut short by a health problem that is now being successfully treated.

Due to her prowess in both track and cross-country, Megan earned a scholarship to Oregon State University, where Megan says, I am pursuing a master's degree in Human Development and Family Sciences with an option in Early Childhood Education. Fall term I earned a 4.0 GPA. I am a member of the OSU cross country and track teams, and I chose to red-shirt my first year due to health issues that are being resolved. I love my school, my teammates, my coaches and preparing to be an elementary school teacher.

And when Megan graduates, I would think that any school district would be very lucky to have her.

On behalf of the Prefontaine Memorial Committee, it is our pleasure to award the Prefontaine Athletic Award to Megan Hibner.