Steve Prefontaine

International Track Star - Running Legend

2011-2012 Prefontaine Athletic Award


Presented by Mac McIntosh
Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet
January 25, 2013

Dalton MilburnI'd like to acknowledge Kelly and Tina Milburn, Bob and Janet Huggins, and our special guests, Steve Prefontaine's sister Linda and his mother, Elfreida.

          Shared experiences and shared identities define towns like ours.  We develop a sense of belonging, a feeling of ownership about our community through iconic memories that create a common culture.  One of those icons is "Steve Prefontaine", and 39 years after his death, his name is still magic.  His achievements as a middle distance racer still set the gold standard and continue to inspire generations of athletes and coaches pursuing excellence in sports as diverse as track and field, olympic weightlifting and NFL football.

          The Prefontaine Memorial Committee honors the legacy created by this 1969 graduate of Marshfield High School by selecting a deserving Athlete of the Year.  We seek a graduating student-athlete who mirrors Pre's work ethic, his character, and his perseverance.  While few match the lofty achievement of setting a national high school record, previous winners have been state champions, All-League and All-State honorees in multiple sports, team captains, valedictorians, and school record holders.

          This year's honoree fits that mold.  Since first meeting Dalton as a tight end while coaching the Marshfield freshman football team, I've grown to admire his determination, his work ethic, and his mature responsiveness to coaching.  We have three standards on the track team - live with integrity, compete with class, and add to the legacy.  Dalton both embraced and reflected those standards, compiled a 3.2 GPA, and like Pre, was a multi-sport athlete, earning multiple  All-League honors in football and basketball. 

          In track and field, throwers are specialists.  At international and collegiate levels, throwers train for and compete in one event.  Among more than 150 high school throwers in the top three classifications at last year's state meet, a handful qualified in two of the throws events.  Only one competed in all three.  Dalton not only competed in the shot, discus, and javelin, but he repeated as state champion in the discus, made finals, and scored points in the other two events.  As a junior at state, he won the discus on his last throw, breaking a 53-year old school record.  No other athlete in 105 years of Marshfield track and field history has accomplished this distinctive trifecta.

          That he did so is noteworthy.  That he trained for all three is indicative of his character.  I asked him personally to accept that challenge, to lead the team by scoring lots of points at district and state.  Others have balked at the discipline and commitment required to learn and master all three events.  He responded with determination, training for hours after every practice and in the process, became the most decorated thrower in school history.

          I'm pleased to have been one of his coaches.  It is a distinct privilege to present the 2012 Prefontaine Athlete of the Year award to a young man Pre would have been proud to call "teammate", Dalton Milburn.