The National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum has selected its 2009 state and regional winners of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award as part of its Educational Outreach Program. Forty-nine seniors from those states that sponsor high school state wrestling championships have been chosen for the honor. Harrison Courtney of Woodford County High School was rightfully named the Kentucky award winner.
The High School Excellence Award is named in honor of Olympic and World Champion Dave Schultz. Each award recipient is evaluated on excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, character, citizenship, and community service.
“A graduate of Palo Alto High School and the University of Oklahoma, Dave Schultz was one of the most respected high school, collegiate, and international wrestlers the United States has ever had,” said Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Regarded as a tireless competitor and supreme technician on the mat, Schultz was beloved throughout the world of amateur wrestling for his friendliness and eagerness to lend help or advice to teammates and opponents alike. He was inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member in 1997.
Since the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award’s inception in 1996, the Wrestling Hall of Fame has recognized 579 student-wrestlers. The national award winner will be chosen from the state and regional winners and announced on April 30. The winner will attend Honors Weekend on June 5 and 6 to personally accept the award.
For the third straight year, the High School Excellence program will include a leadership camp for those individuals selected for the award.
“Thanks to a grant from a private foundation, we are pleased to provide the winners of our Dave Schultz Award with the opportunity to attend an all-expense-paid leadership camp from June 15-18 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.,” Smith said.
USA Wrestling, the sport’s governing body, will host the camp at the Olympic Training Center.
“USA Wrestling is equally excited to join the Hall of Fame in providing a world class program at the Olympic Training Center for the student-athletes chosen to participate in this camp,” said Rich Bender, USAW Executive Director. “The camp agenda will include instructional sessions with our freestyle and Greco Roman national coaches and wrestlers, and will also feature presentations on sport psychology, strength and conditioning, nutrition, leadership development and public speaking, all presented by experts in the field.”
Part of the foundation’s funding criteria requires that, prior to the camp, the award winners speak to youth groups in their communities on the benefits of participating in extra curricular activities like athletics.
Smith said the leadership and public speaking sessions will help student-athletes become more effective in sharing their personal success stories with young people.
“These student-wrestlers are role models in their communities and have an opportunity to influence young people in a very meaningful way. Statistics show that both male and female students are more likely to stay in school, graduate, and become more productive citizens when they are involved in extra curricular activities and after school programs like sports, theater, debate and music.”
Find out the other state winners and the regional winners at TheMat.com.