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.

Here is a list of the winners before we started collecting pictures and the presentation speeches.


2003 --2004

Brian Wuethrich,
North Bend High School
2002 --2003
Ben Looney,
Marshfield High School
Nick Gerritsen,
Marshfield High School
Amanda Larsen,
North Bend High School
Kyle Johnson,
North Bend High School
Trevor Woods,
Marshfield High School
Travis Burgher,
Marshfield High School
Mike Belisle,
Marshfield High School
Pam Fields,
North Bend High School
Matt Zosel,
Marshfield High School
Britta Schaer,
North Bend High School
Mary Hunter,
North Bend High School
Shannon Hosack,
Marshfield High School
John Lemmons,
Marshfield High School
Mark Helfrich,
Marshfield High School
Darren Kotsovos,
Marshfield High School
Clint Messner,
North Bend High School
Hannah Smith,
North Bend High School
Julie Bartleson,
Marshfield High School
Mark Henke,
Marshfield High School
Tim Varga,
North Bend High School
Southwestern Oregon CC
Andrea Thompson,
Marshfield High School
Candi Calhoun,
North Bend High School