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.

2007-2008 Prefontaine Athletic Award


Presented by Stuart Woods
Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet
January 31, 2009

This is our 25th year presenting at this banquet…where does time go?  May I first introduce our special guest, Elfrieda Prefontaine and her escorts this evening, Bob & Janet Huggins.  Thank you for being with us tonight.

Alison Worthen The recipient of this year’s Prefontaine Athlete Award didn’t know “It” from birth, but everyone else did.  Our recipient was quite young when her older sisters enjoyed their success as student athletes.  They could see “It” coming.  As the youngest of five daughters, and born to Fran and Jerry, Alison Worthen, our honoree, would be blessed with potential.  Her family knew it and nurtured it along.  Their friends and sport enthusiasts knew it and witnessed her development and I know the coaches looked forward to Ali bringing “It” to their teams.

Yes, Ali was born with the right genes, but more importantly, she was raised to be, and she became an exceptional young woman, self-motivated and diligent in both the classroom and in athletic endeavor while remaining unselfish and devoted to her teammates.  She is very deserving.

She is our 28th recipient and she brings a long list of accomplishments.  The highlights begin with her combined 3.7 GPA and a perpetual listing on the Marshfield Honor Role.  She was respected by her classmates-twice being named Homecoming Court Queen.  And athletically, well quite simply she is one of the most decorated student athletes to ever attend MHS.

Ali was a multi-sport athlete.  She chose volleyball, basketball and track and field.   It could have been any of the other sports.  In volleyball, Ali was a 3 time All-District Co-MVP and Second Team All-State her senior year.  In Basketball, Ali was two times All-District, but in Track and Field, what a story.  Only Ali and her mother, Fran have reached such a high plateau.  Personally, I feel fortunate to have watched her performances.

Alison Worthen at state meetDuring Ali’s years in age-group competitions through Junior Olympics she stood out.  At the age of 12 she won a National Championship in the High Jump.  During High School Track, Ali won 11 District Titles, 13 State Certificates placing 6th Place or higher and was an individual State Champion six times.  She currently holds three State Meet 5-A records in High Jump, Long Jump and 300 IM Hurdles.  During Ali’s Senior Year at the State Track Meet, she placed first in three events, second in another and was named the high point performer of the meet.  And, probably her most cherished accomplishment was sharing the Team State Championship with her sister, Leah and teammates during her freshman year of high school.  She scored in four events that year.

Her outstanding achievements were recognized by The World Newspaper and the Register-Guard as they selected her their Girl Prep Athlete of the Year.  And, she is among the finalists to receive the Oregon Sports Award, Johnny Carpenter Girls Prep Athlete of the Year which will be announced later next month.

Ali is currently attending Seattle Pacific University on a full-ride scholarship.  Ali is competing this week-end and therefore was unable to be here tonight.  But with us this evening is Ali’s sister, Kelli Hoffine who will accept the Prefontaine Athletic Award on Ali’s behalf.  Please join me in welcoming Kelli to the podium.