The Oregon Sports Awards show, set for Feb. 24 on the Nike World Campus in Beaverton, will be special in many ways. And two of the 14 awards that will be handed outÑ the Steve Prefontaine Award and the Special Olympics Athlete of the Year Award Ñ are unique.
Nike, a co-sponsor with the Portland Tribune, will present the Prefontaine Award. This honor will go to the high school senior boy or girl distance runner in 2001 who, like Prefontaine, showed development, progress and eventually domination. The athlete's competitiveness and consistency must meet the challenge of excellence that 'Pre' set more than 30 years ago as a star at the University of Oregon and around the world.
The Prefontaine finalists are Jeane Goff, Cascade High; Mandi Fitz-Gustafson, The Dalles; Erik Heinonen, South Eugene; Liz Lindgren, Klamath Union; and Tom Manning, Jesuit.
The Special Olympics Award, a new category, will go to the outstanding Oregon athlete who has inspired greatness in other athletes, volunteers and the community.
The finalists are Katie Dunn of Beaverton, Katie Fitzpatrick of Medford, Shawn Funkhouser of Eugene, John Paul Monroe of Powell Butte and Arthur Pease of Milton-Freewater.
The Oregon Sports Awards is a successor to the Hayward Awards, which saluted Oregon's best from 1948-96. The revived event will take place in Nike's Tiger Woods Center, a 770-seat auditorium. A reception is set for 5:30 p.m., and the show will start at 7.