Courtesy Minnesota Athletics

NORMAN, Okla. — University of Minnesota senior and Indianapolis, Ind. native Ellis Mannon was named the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Nissen-Emery Award on Wednesday evening at the NCAA/CGA Men’s Gymnastics Awards Banquet in Norman, Okla.

The Nissen-Emery Award is given annually to the nation’s outstanding senior gymnast and is the most coveted award in collegiate gymnastics. The award is named in honor of George Nissen, a three-time NCAA champion at the University of Iowa, for his contributions to the sport and Dr. Bob Emery, the 1969 recipient of the Nissen Award.

“What a thrill for Ellis to be recognized for all of his accomplishments as a student-athlete here at the University of Minnesota,” said Minnesota head coach Mike Burns. “He definitely embodies all that the trophy stands for – excellence in gymnastics, scholastics, and sportsmanship.”

With the distinguished honor, Mannon becomes the fourth Gopher to receive the coveted award and the first since Guillermo Alvarez in 2005. Tim LaFleur (1978) and John Roethlisberger have also been named Nissen-Emery recipients.

“Ellis will leave a legacy of greatness when he finishes his senior year here at the 2015 NCAA’s and winning the Nissen-Emery Award is a fitting way to finish a great career as a Golden Gopher,” said Burns. “However, there is a lot of gymnastics still to do over the next three days but what a way to get these championships underway for Ellis, his teammates, and the University of Minnesota.”

Mannon has represented the University of Minnesota in both league and national competition and has earned all-america honors twice in his career. Last season, Mannon won both a national and conference pommel horse title just a year after he finished second in both competitions on the apparatus. After his successful 2014 season, the Indianapolis, Ind. native was named to the All-Big Ten First Team.

This season, Mannon has continued to reach new heights as he scored a 15.25 and a 15.45 during the Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas, Nev. to clench the 2015 Winter Cup Challenge pommel horse title. Since then, Mannon has produced high marks on the apparatus to lead his team winning his second Big Ten Pommel Horse championship and being named to the 2015 All-Big Ten First Team. Mannon will look to defend his NCAA title earned just a year ago this weekend in Norman, Okla.

The Nissen-Emery Award does not just focus on gymnastics excellence. The award also takes high scholarship and good sportsmanship into account when selecting the finalists for the award.

Mannon has not only excelled in competition but he has also placed his education as an important priority during his collegiate career. During his four years at the University of Minnesota, Mannon has worked toward double bachelor’s degrees (B.Ch.E. in Chemical Engineering and B.S. in Economics) with additional minors in Chemistry and Mathematics. He has held himself to a high standard accumulating an overall GPA of 3.205 and was recently named an Academic All-Big Ten honoree for the second time.

The other finalists for this year’s award were Sean Senters (Stanford), Adrian de los Angeles (Michigan), Alec Robin (Oklahoma), C.J. Maestas (Illinois) and Craig Hernandez (Penn State).