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David Craig of Florida named as 2006 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award winner by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame



STILLWATER, Okla. -- David Craig, from Brandon High School in Brandon, Fla., has been selected as the national winner of the 2006 Dave Schultz High School Excellence award by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum.

The Dave Schultz High School Excellence award recognizes the premier student-wrestler in the country based equally upon outstanding wrestling success, scholastic achievement and citizenship.

Craig, a four-time state champion, is considered the most accomplished wrestler in Florida High School wrestling history while competing for one the most successful programs in the country at Brandon High School.

"David is the greatest high school wrestler to ever come out of Florida," said his high school coach, Russ Cozart. "His record was against not only the best competition in the state but also in the country."

Craig was a member of four state championship teams at Brandon.

"We have an unbelievably successful high school wrestling tradition here at Brandon thanks to kids like David," Cozart said. "I have been coaching David since he started wrestling in the fourth grade. He is one of those kids that has always put the team first, a coach's wrestler. It's hard to get him to even talk about himself or his accomplishments. I think that is why he has been such an inspiration to his teammates."

His career highlights include: an overall record of 184-0 and four Florida state titles; Asics All-America first team 2005; 2005 Asics/Vaughan Junior National champion in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, winner of prestigious national competitions at the Ironman Classic, Beast of the East, Dapper Dan and Dream Team Classic; 2003 Cadet National Freestyle champion.

With a 3.58 grade point average, Craig is no slouch in the classroom. He is a member of the Brandon High School Academy of Finance Club, has served as a youth counselor for Russ Cozart Summer Wrestling Camps, and attends St. Andrew Community Methodist Church.

A 171-pounder as a senior, he is projected to wrestle 165 or 174 in college and will attend Lehigh University in the fall.

In winning the award, he joins a prestigious group of wrestlers, most of whom have gone on to greater wrestling success.

"It's an honor to be recognized in the same boat with all the other former winners of this award for my high school accomplishments," the soft-spoken Craig said.

He will accept the award at Honors Weekend 2006, June 2-3 in Stillwater.

"Our Board of Governors feels it is important to associate and inspire our outstanding young people alongside the legends of our sport during Honors Weekend," said Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum.

The two-day Honors Weekend celebration includes a reception and presentation of plaques at the Hall of Fame and Museum on Friday night, and concludes with a black-tie induction ceremony for the class of 2006 honorees in the categories of Distinguished Member, Outstanding American, Order of Merit, Medal of Courage and Outstanding Official.

Following is a list of all former national winners of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence award and the state they represented:

1996 - David Kjedgaard, Iowa
1997 - Jeff Knupp, Ohio
1998 - Garrett Lowney, Wisconcin
Justin Ruiz, Utah (Co-winners)
1999 - Zach Roberson, Kansas
2000 - Ben Connell, South Carolina
2001 - Steve Mocco, New Jersey
2002 - Teyon Ware, Oklahoma
2003 - C. P. Schlatter, Ohio
2004 - Coleman Scott, Pennsylvania
2005 - Troy Nickerson, New York
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