Penev was named the National Team after the 2013 Winter Cup, where he won the vault title and finished fourth in the all-around. He also claimed the bronze medal on vault at last year's U.S. nationals.
Other 2013 finalist were Syque Caesar of University of Michigan; Steven Lacombe of University of California – Berkeley; Yoshi Mori of University of Illinois; Garrek Hojan-Clark of United States Military Academy; Alex Tighe of Temple University; and Felix Aronovich of Pennsylvania State 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.
The Nissen-Emery Award honors the collegiate senior male gymnast who has not only established an outstanding record of achievement during his college career but also an athlete who has demonstrated good sportsmanship, fair play and a high standard of athletic excellence.
College gymnastics coaches, student athletes and accredited college gymnastics judges all across the nation are requested each year to submit nominations for the award. Gymnasts receiving the highest number of nominations are then placed on a final ballot and voted upon by those same coaches, athletes and judges.
Other former recipients include: 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).