INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., March 19, 2008 – U.S. Senior National Team members Jonathan Horton of Houston, Texas, a senior at the University of Oklahoma who finished fourth in the all-around at the 2007 World Championships, and David Sender of Arlington Heights, Ill., a senior at Stanford University and a member of the 2006 World Championships Team, are among the finalists for the 2008 Nissen-Emery Award, which is given annually to the NCAA’s top male gymnast. The winner will be named at the 2008 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships banquet on April 16 in Stanford, Calif.
The other finalists for the 2008 Nissen-Emery Award are DJ Bucher of Ohio State University, Wesley Haagensen of the University of Illinois, Derek Helsby of Pennsylvania State University, Tim McNeill of the University of California – Berkeley and Luke Vexler of Temple University.
Horton has won eight NCAA titles, including the all-around in 2006, and 15 All-American honors. He served as Oklahoma’s co-captain from 2006-08 and is a 2008 Sullivan Award finalist. Horton will graduate in 2008 with a degree in business. Horton became just the fifth U.S. man to finish in the top four at an Olympic Games or a World Championships with his fourth-place finish at the 2007 World Championships. He also was a member of the U.S. Men’s Team that finished fourth. Horton’s successful career includes back-to-back Tyson American Cup crowns in 2006-07, a national title on the floor exercise in 2006 and competing on two World Championships Teams (2006-07).
Stanford’s team captain in 2006-07, Sender is a seven-time NCAA All-American and won NCAA vault titles in 2006-07. Outside of the gym, he has volunteered with the Youth Olympics and at several animal hospitals. Sender, who will graduate in June with a degree in biology, also has worked at neuroscience labs conducting research. A member of the 2006 World Championships Team, Sender finished third on still rings, fourth (tie) on vault and fifth in the all-around and parallel bars at the 2007 Visa Championships. He won vault at both the 2007 Winter Cup Challenge and the 2006 Visa Championships, and placed second on floor exercise at the 2008 Winter Cup Challenge. Sender just missed the medal stand with fourth-place finishes on vault at the 2007 Good Luck Beijing International Tournament in Beijing, China, and the 2008 World Cup in Doha, Qatar.
The Nissen-Emery Award is named for George Nissen, a three-time NCAA champion at the University of Iowa, for his contributions to the sport and for Dr. Bob Emery, the 1969 recipient of the Nissen Award.