March 30, 2005
Berkeley - Senior Graham Ackerman has been selected as one of five finalists for the 2005 Nissen-Emery Award. The annual award recognizes the nation's top senior gymnast. The winner will be announced at the NCAA/CGA yearly banquet at 6:30 p.m. April 6 at West Point, N.Y.
Ackerman, a six-time All-American, recently captured the floor exercise title at the MPSF conference championships (March 26). The Seattle, WA, native won national titles in 2004 in both the floor exercise and the vault, along with finishing second on the high bar.
"I truly feel that Graham is the strongest candidate for the award," said Cal head coach Barry Wiener. "Graham is a two-time NCAA champion as well as a two-time runner-up with an excellent record in the classroom."
College gymnastics coaches, student-athletes and accredited college gymnastics judges across the nation are requested to submit nominations for the Nissen-Emery award. Gymnasts receiving 60 percent of the nominations are placed on a final ballot and voted upon by those same coaches, student-athletes and judges.
In addition to gymnastics excellence, the winner also must fulfill the following requirements: He must be an example of good sportsmanship and fair play. He must maintain a high standard of scholarship throughout his college career. The award is inscribed with the motto: "The true champion seeks excellence physically, mentally, socially and morally."
California, having recently placed second at the MPSF Conference Championships, travels to West Point, N.Y., for the NCAA Championships, April 7-9.
2005 Nissen-Emery Award Finalists Sr.-Graham Ackerman- Cal Berkeley Sr.-Guillermo Alvarez- Minnesota Sr.-Randy Monahan- Ohio State Sr.-Ben Newman- Illinois Jr.-Luis Vargas- Penn State (Will not be returning for his senior year)