PREFONTAINE ATHLETIC AWARD SPEECH
Presented by Mac McIntosh
Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet
The Prefontaine Foundation seeks to preserve and enhance the legacy of America’s greatest middle distance runner, one who influenced an American generation and launched a worldwide brand, while continuing to reflect the values imbued in him by working-class parents and a supportive community.
Tonight we honor two young people who fit that mold. They reflect what we celebrate this evening as small-town virtues: self-reliance, determination, respect for elders and a passionate drive to excel, to rise above their peers and begin to build their own legacies.
Rylee Trendell and Cassie Dallas compiled impressive records as interscholastic student-athletes.
Rylee let three teams in three sports to state championship tournaments while earning every academic accolade at Marshfield High School, culminating as valedictorian. Marshfield’s Boy of the Year, its Mr MHS winner, and the Distinguished Athlete of the Year, Rylee earned selection to the 2016 Oregon Shrine Football Team and the State Metro All-Star Team in basketball.
Cassie earned seven state championship gold medals, including four in breaststroke that broke, then bettered North Bend High School’s swimming record annually. Two other school records fell to relay teams she led to state championship titles. A team captain, she volunteered nearly 100 hours at Bay Area Hospital and earned 70 college credits enroute to a 3.81 cumulative GPA.
Today, Rylee competes as a member of the Pacific University basketball program. Cassie can’t be here this evening because she is completing intensive preparation for the Western Athletic Conference swimming and diving championships, where she will compete for the Vandals of the University of Idaho.
Each finished their first term on the Dean’s academic honor roll. Like Pre, they look forward to long and distinguished athletic careers. But what qualifies them for our prestigious award is their character and how it reflects our small-town virtues.
Both earned universal respect from peers, coaches and opponents not for the way they triumphed but for the way they inspired. Their enthusiasm, work ethic and singular focus brought out the best in teammates and competitors. This quality separates talented high-school athletes from those who leave a legacy.
Please join me in celebrating our small-town virtues by recognizing two who embody them so well, the Prefontaine Co-Athletes of the Year for 2016, Rylee Trendell and Cassie Dallas.