David Sandberg was one of North Central High School’s finest all-around athletes. The nephew of Ryne Sandberg, David was an all-GSL football lineman, compiled a 132-14 career varsity wrestling record, and won the 1998 State 4A 190 pound wrestling championship without surrendering a single point in the entire tournament. That spring he finished second in the state shot put with a career best in excess of 59 feet.
David went on to wrestle at North Idaho College, where he finished second nationally. From there he transferred to the University of Pittsburgh, where he competed twice at 197 pounds in the NCAA Division I National Tournament. He had an overall 47-25 win-loss record and did not miss a dual meet in his two years at the school.
While he prepared to attend graduate school at Pittsburgh, David helped teach kids the basics of wrestling at the Shadyside Boys & Girls Club.
David was planning to teach and coach after graduation but never got the chance. He died unexpectedly from a bacterial infection in January 2003 at the age of 23.
Founded in 2003, the David Sandberg Champion Award is presented annually to the University of Pittsburgh senior student-athlete who best exhibits the qualities David personified: dedication to academic and athletic excellence, with an unyielding spirit and a passionate commitment to the improvement of the University of Pittsburgh and surrounding communities.