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Sanders named national winner of Dave Schultz HS Excellence Award; Five Regional winners also named



Zachary Sanders from Minnesota named National winner of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence award

Gardner, Russell, Smith, and Yohn named Regional winners


The National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum has announced that five-time state high school champion Zach Sanders from Wabasha-Kellogg High School in Wabasha, Minnesota is the National winner of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award and will be invited to attend Honors Weekend to receive this award June 1 & 2 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Five Regional winners were selected from the 48 state-by-state winners announced last week. Each State and Regional winner is invited to attend the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Leadership Camp at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO, June 18-21, 2007.

In alphabetical order, the Regional winners are:

* Cody Gardner of Christiansburg High School in Christiansburg, Virginia (Southeast)
* Kellen Russell of Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey (Northeast)
* Zachary Sanders of Wabasha-Kellogg High School in Wabasha, Minnesota (Midwest and National)
* Kirk Smith of Centennial High School in Boise, Idaho (West)
* Sonny Yohn of Alamosa High School in Alamosa, Colorado (Central)

The Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award is presented by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame annually to a high school senior who has demonstrated outstanding wrestling success, scholastic achievement, and citizenship or community service.

This awards program is named in the honor of the late Dave Schultz, an Olympic and World champion, who set an example for excellence, both on and off the mat. Dave's wife Nancy Schultz has played an important role in supporting this award program.

This year the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum will expand its Dave Schultz High School Excellence program to include a Leadership Camp for those individuals selected for the award.

"Thanks to a grant from a private foundation, we are pleased to expand this program and provide the winners of our Dave Schultz Award with the opportunity to attend an all-expense-paid Leadership Camp at the United States Olympic Training Center from June 18-21, in Colorado Springs, Colo.," Smith said. The camp will be hosted and organized at the Olympic Training Center by USA Wrestling, the sport's governing body.

A short biography of the Regional and National winners follows:

SOUTHEAST - Cody Garder, Christiansburg High School, Christiansburg,Virginia
Gardner is a four-time Virginia AA High School State Champion, with a 182-6 career record that includes a National Junior Freestyle championship in 2006 at 215 pounds. He also claimed championship titles at the Beast of the East in 2005 and 2006 and won the Ironman Tournament in 2005. He has a 3.1 grade point average and will attend Virginia Tech in the fall. He is a member of several student groups including SADD - Students Against Destructive Decisions, DECA - an association of Marketing Students, and FBLA - Future Business Leaders of America. He is also an active volunteer for Goodwill Industries.

WEST - Kirk Smith of Centennial High School, Boise, Idaho
Smith is a two-time Idaho High School State Champion with a career record of 122-24 at 171 pound weight class. He won the 2007 Junior FILA National Championships and National Senior High School Championship at 189 lbs. He was champion of the 2006 National Junior Freestyle Championships and Reno Tournament of Champions and was a FILA Cadet National Champion. He has a 3.9 grade point average and will be attending Boise State in the fall. He is a volunteer Kids and Middle School Coach for the local Folkstyle, Freestyle, and Greco Roman Club and is a USA Wrestling Licensed Official. He serves as a Teachers Aid for Spanish and is an active volunteer for the High School Booster Club.

CENTRAL - Sonny Yohn of Alamosa High School, Alamosa, Colorado
Yohn is a three-time Colorado High School State Champion at 189 pounds, with a career record of 153-15. He was a National Junior Freestyle runner up in 2006 and National Senior High School Runner-Up in 2007 at 215 lbs. He has a 3.8 grade point average and will attend the University of Minnesota in the fall. Yohn volunteers his time working with the local youth wrestling club in Alamosa.

NORTHEAST - Kellen Russell of Blair Academy, Blairstown, New Jersey
His high school weight class is 130 pounds. Russell is a three-time National Prep School Champion with a career record of 145-7. He is a National Cadet and Junior Freestyle Champion, and the 2007 National Senior High School Champion at 135 lbs. Other major accomplishments include championship titles at the Beast of the East and Ironman Tournaments. He has a 3.2 grade point average and will attend the University of Michigan in the fall.

MIDWEST - Zach Sanders of Wabasha-Kellog High School, Wabasha, Minnesota
Sanders' high school weight class is 119 pounds. He is a five-time Minnesota High School State Champion, with a career record of 223-5. He is a National Cadet and Junior Freestyle Champion, the 2007 National Senior High School Champion at 125 lbs. and an Asics All-American First Team Member in 2006. He has a 3.5 grade point average and will attend the University of Minnesota in the fall. Sanders serves as an assistant coach for the elementary youth program and has officiated several youth tournaments in Wabasha. He has accumulated many hours of community service through the Kellogg Legion and the Faith Lutheran Church in Wabasha.
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