UCLA Recruit David Klech Named Gatorade National Athlete of the Year

June 22, 2006

CHICAGO, June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Entering its third decade of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, Gatorade® Thirst Quencher, in partnership with Scholastic Coach & Athletic Director Magazine, today announced David Klech of California High School in San Ramon, Calif., as its 2005-06 Gatorade National Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year.

The award, which recognizes athletic achievement as well as the academic performance and overall character of its recipient, distinguishes Klech as the nation's best high school track & field athlete. A national advisory board comprised of sportswriters and sport-specific experts from around the country selected Klech from the more than 518,000 male high school track & field athletes nationwide. He is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year Award to be presented at an awards ceremony July 12, prior to The ESPY Awards.

Klech, a 6-foot-4-inch, 175-pound senior, is the top-ranked high school pentathlete in the nation and has been hailed as one of the most versatile young track & field athletes in years. During the 2006 track season, Klech has been ranked among the national leaders in seven events.

Klech holds this year's fastest times in both the 300- (35.35 - No. 4 all-time) and 400-meter intermediate hurdles (50.35 - No. 9 all-time), and turned in California's top time in the 110-meter high hurdles (13.69). He ranked among the state's strongest performers in the 400- (47.64) and 800-meters (1:53.1), as well as the high jump (6 feet, 9 inches) and long jump (23 feet, 9 inches). In addition, Klech won the pentathlon at the prestigious Nike Indoor Nationals in March, scoring a meet record 3,980 points.

Despite suffering a hamstring injury at the California Interscholastic Federation State Track & Field Championships, Klech qualified for the finals in three events (100m HH, 300m IH, LJ) and won the 300-meter intermediate hurdles with the third fastest time in state meet history (35.87).

Klech's standard of excellence extends to the classroom, where he has a 4.0 GPA and scored 1820 on the SAT. He is active in student government, is a member of the Academic Boosters and has participated in Unity Week and the Relay for Life. Klech plans to attend UCLA in the fall.

'David is incredibly versatile, but he's absolutely the best I've ever seen at the hurdles,' says California head coach Mark Karbo. 'What's truly amazing is that he's able to race as well as he does, and compete with such intensity and drive, despite not facing anyone close to his talent.'

'Without question, David is deserving of recognition as the nation's best high school track & field athlete based on his performance and the tremendous ability he's demonstrated,' said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Tom Fox. 'But he is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young players of what a leader and a student-athlete should be. He represents everything we hope for in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient.'

The Gatorade Player of the Year program recognizes one winner in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and awards one National Player of the Year in five boys sports (football, soccer, basketball, baseball, track & field) and five girls sports (volleyball, soccer, basketball, softball, track & field). In addition to athletic performance, award criteria include the achievement in the classroom and overall character. Previous Gatorade National Player of the Year award winners include:

-- Reigning American League Most Valuable Player Alex Rodriguez
-- NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith
-- Two-time NFL Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning
-- Captain of the U.S. men's national soccer team Claudio Reyna
-- WNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie
-- Beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh
-- Reigning 200-meter world champion Allyson Felix

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