NORTH BEND — North Bend graduate Ty Hampton received the annual Prefontaine Athletic Award during the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce banquet on Saturday.
Hampton is the 36th recipient of the award, named in honor of Marshfield great Steve Prefontaine, who died in a car accident in 1975.
Hampton joins a long list of standout recipients of the award from Marshfield and North Bend high schools, nominated by the athletic directors of the two schools.
The award was presented by Bob Huggins, the longtime director of the Prefontaine Memorial Run and member of the Prefontaine Memorial Committee.
Hampton was a stellar athlete and student for North Bend, graduating last spring with a 3.90 grade point average while taking a rigorous course load to prepare for the University of Oregon.
During the spring of his senior year, he won his second state title in the javelin and helped North Bend to its first Class 5A team state title at the track and field championships in Gresham. He also placed in the discus at the state meet after winning that event as a junior.
During the summer, Hampton won the New Balance National Javelin Title.
In making the nomination for the award, North Bend athletic director Mike Forrester remarked, “I feel very strongly that Ty Hampton is as good a candidate for the Prefontaine Athletic Award as anyone I have nominated over the past nine years. His championships alone would make him a solid nominee. What sets him apart in my mind is that Ty is in a select group of individuals when it comes to work ethic. One final thing that would have made Pre proud is that this spring, Ty will be throwing the javelin at Pre’s alma mater, the University of Oregon.”
Hampton is a freshman for the Ducks this year.
Prefontaine grew up in Coos Bay and graduated from Marshfield in 1969. He was a two-time state champion in cross country as well as a two-time state champion in the 2-mile and one time winner in the mile in high school.
In the spring of 1969, he set a new national high school record in the 2-mile race during a meet in Corvallis, a record that stood for many years. He capped his high school career by placing fourth in the 3-mile race at the AAU National Championships while competing against collegiate and post-collegiate athletes and was selected to compete internationally on the United States team.
At the University of Oregon, he ran for legendary coaches Bill Bowerman and Bill Dellinger and won three NCAA cross country titles and four titles on the track in the 3-mile or 5-kilometer distances, a feat that has never been duplicated.
In 1972, he won the 5,000 meters at the Olympic Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene. He went on to place fourth for the United States in the Olympic games at Munich, Germany.
When he died, he held every American distance record from 2,000 to 10,000 meters.