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Distinguished Member Russ Camilleri



Russell A. Camilleri, Richland, Mo.
Distinguished Member


Throughout most of the 1960’s, Russell Camilleri dominated not just one Olympic style of wrestling in the United States, but both freestyle and Greco-Roman.

A high school standout at Campbell High School in California, Camilleri won two state high school titles and three conference championships in compiling a 48-0 record. He was the Outstanding Wrestler in the conference tournament during both his junior and senior years.

He competed three years at San Jose State, fashioning a 78-4 record. He was the Pacific Coast Champion in 1958 after finishing second the previous two years.

After college, Camilleri rolled to more national titles than any other wrestler, winning freestyle in 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1968 and 1971 and Greco-Roman in 1960, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1972. Six times he was honored as the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament, a feat that no other wrestler has ever accomplished.

Even more remarkable, in those days, the Greco-Roman and freestyle tournaments were wrestled back-to-back, requiring winning six matches per style at scratch weight to win.

Camilleri competed in two Olympic Games, placing eighth in Greco-Roman in 1960 and seventh in 1964. In two different years, 1961 and 1965, he competed in the World Championships in both freestyle and Greco. He also wrestled in the Greco-Roman World Championships in 1962 and 1966 and in the freestyle Worlds in 1963. He finished sixth in freestyle twice.

An Air Force officer from 1958-63, he won six Interservice Championships and was undefeated in 13 years at the Naval Training Center Tournament in San Diego with a record of 78-0.

For his amazing versatility and outstanding accomplishments, Russell Camilleri is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
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