ANN ARBOR, Mich., April 9, 2014 – Reigning U.S., Big Ten and NCAA all-around champion Sam Mikulak of Corona del Mar, Calif./University of Michigan, was named the Nissen-Emery award winner tonight at the NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships banquet, held on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The championships begin tomorrow with the National Qualifier at 1 p.m. ET.
Mikulak, a 2012 Olympian, helped his Michigan Wolverine team capture the NCAA team title at last year’s NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships and each of the past two Big Ten Championships. He has won three Big Ten all-around titles and two NCAA all-around titles in his career. Last August, he won the P&G Gymnastics Championships all-around title and qualified to the World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium. In Antwerp, Mikulak finished sixth in the all-around and fourth on the high bar.
The other 2014 finalists were: Donothan Bailey of the University of California – Berkeley; Zack Chase of the University of Minnesota; Presten Ellsworth of the University of Oklahoma; Adrian Evans of Pennsylvania State University; Landon Funiciello of the College of William & Mary; Michael Newburger of Ohio State University; Chris Turner of Stanford University; and Kip Webber of the United States Military Academy.
The highest honor in collegiate gymnastics, the Nissen-Emery award has been presented annually since 1966 to an outstanding senior collegiate gymnast based on his achievement, sportsmanship and academic excellence.
The original Nissen Award was named in honor of George Nissen, a former NCAA champion, for his contributions to men’s gymnastics. The award was re-named the Nissen-Emery Award in 1998 to honor Dr. Robert Emery, a Penn State graduate who won the Nissen Award in 1969.
College gymnastics head coaches all across the nation are requested each year to submit nominations for the award. Gymnasts receiving a 50 percent vote of confidence from the head coaches are then placed on a final ballot and voted upon by the coaches, team captains, honorary lifetime members, and conference judges. The award is inscribed with the motto: "The true champion seeks excellence physically, mentally, socially and morally."
Other former recipients include: Eddie Penev, Stanford University, 2013; Paul Ruggeri, University of Illinois, 2012; Steven Legendre, University of Oklahoma, 2011; Luke Stannard, Illinois, 2010; Casey Sandy, Pennsylvania State University, 2009 ; Jonathan Horton, University of Oklahoma, 2008; Matt Cohen, Penn State, 2007; Justin Spring, Illinois, 2006; Guillermo Alvarez, University of Minnesota, 2005; Dan Gill, Stanford University, 2004; Daniel Furney, Oklahoma, 2003; Justin Toman, University of Michigan, 2002; Jamie Natalie, Ohio State University, 2001; Blaine Wilson, Ohio State, 1997; John Roethlisberger, Minnesota, 1993; Jim Hartung, University of Nebraska, 1982; Peter Vidmar, University of California – Los Angeles, 1983; Kurt Thomas, Indiana State University, 1979; Bart Conner, Oklahoma, 1981; Peter Kormann, Southern Connecticut State College, 1977; and James Curzi, Michigan State University, 1966 (the first recipient).
Click here for a complete list of past nominees.