Jonathan Horton
© USA Gymnastics

STANFORD, Calif., April 16, 2008 – Jonathan Horton of Houston, a senior at the University of Oklahoma and a member of the U.S. senior national team, won the 2008 Nissen-Emery Award, which is given annually to the USA’s outstanding senior collegiate gymnast. The award was presented at a dinner held in conjunction with the 2008 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships.

“Receiving this honor, especially when there were so many other great gymnasts nominated, is a great feeling,” Horton told the dinner attendees. “All of these guys (nominees) are deserving of this award. I want to thank everyone who has helped me get to this level. My mother and father have supported me through 18 years of this sport and through everything I have done. Next, thanks to my team: you have been my support . . . and I appreciate everything you have done for me. And my coaches, I appreciate your dealing with my frustrations and your support for me through the fun and difficult times.”

A three-time team captain during his Sooner career, Horton’s collegiate accomplishments include: 2006 NCAA all-around champion; Oklahoma records for career All-America honors (15) and career NCAA individual titles (five), marks were previously held by two-time Olympic gold-medalist Bart Conner; helping lead the Sooners to back-to-back national championships (2005 -06) and a second-place finish in 2007; three-time Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Gymnast of the Year; and 10 career individual conference crowns, including all-around wins in 2005, 2007 and 2008.

As a member of the U.S. men’s senior national team, Horton was a member of 2006-07 World Championships Teams. At the 2007 World Championships, Horton helped the American squad to a fourth-place team finish, which secured a berth for the USA to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Horton also finished fourth in the all-around standings, just the fourth U.S. man to record a top-four all-around finish at the World Championships. He also won back-to-back Tyson American Cup titles (2006-07).

The other award finalists were: D.J. Bucher, Ohio State University; Wes Haagensen, University of Illinois; Derek Helsby, Penn State University; Tim McNeill, University of California; David Sender, Stanford University; and Luke Vexler, Temple University.

Established in 1966, the Nissen-Emery Award is college gymnastics’ highest honor and is funded through an endowment established by Dr. Robert W. Emery, the 1969 winner. Other former recipients include: Matt Cohen, Penn State University, 2007; Justin Spring, University of Illinois, 2006; Guillermo Alvarez, University of Minnesota, 2005; Dan Gill, Stanford University, 2004; Daniel Furney, University of Oklahoma, 2003; Justin Toman, University of Michigan, 2002; Jamie Natalie, Ohio State University, 2001; Blaine Wilson, Ohio State University, 1997; John Roethlisberger, University of Minnesota, 1993; Jim Hartung, University of Nebraska, 1982; Peter Vidmar, University of California – Los Angeles, 1983; Kurt Thomas, Indiana State University, 1979; Bart Conner, University of Oklahoma, 1981; Peter Kormann, Southern Connecticut State College, 1977; and James Curzi, Michigan State University, 1966 (the first recipient).