Casey Sandy a finalist for Nissen-Emery Award

March 20, 2009

University Park, Pa. — Penn State senior men's gymnast Casey Sandy (Brampton, Ont.) has been named a finalist for the prestigious Nissen-Emery Award. Bestowed in recognition of outstanding athletic achievement, academic excellence, and sportsmanship, it is the highest honor presented in men's collegiate gymnastics.

Other candidates for the award include Jake Bateman (Ohio State), Chris Brooks (Oklahoma), Kit Beikmann (Minnesota), Kyson Bunthuwong (California), Philip Goldberg (Michigan), Sho Nakamori (Stanford), T.J. Schmidt (Nebraska), and Jacob Schonig (Air Force). The winner will be announced at the College Gymnastics Association Awards Banquet on the evening of Wed., April 15 in Minneapolis, Minn., the site of the 2009 National Collegiate Men's Gymnastics Championships.

Penn State boasts five Nissen-Emery Award honorees, second most in NCAA history behind Oklahoma's six. Matt Cohen was the last Nittany Lion recipient, winning in 2007, the same year Penn State captured its NCAA-record 12th national championship. Other winners include two-time national all-around champion Steve Cohen (1967), Bob Emery (1969), for whom the award is partly named, parallel bars national champion Gene Whelan (1976), and Spider Maxwell (1987).

Sandy's legacy as one of the all-time greats in the storied history of Penn State men's gymnastics has been solidified over the past two seasons.

In 2008, he burst onto the national scene, winning 29 titles and compiling 53 top three finishes during the regular season. His impressive accomplishments did not go unrecognized, as he earned Big Ten Male Gymnast of the Week accolades four times. Sandy's success continued in the postseason when he led the Nittany Lions to their second Big Ten Championship, winning individual titles in the parallel bars and the all-around. For his brilliant performance, he, by a vote of the conference coaches, was unanimously named the 2008 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year. Sandy then went on to dominate at the national collegiate championships, capturing the NCAA all-around crown. With that title, he became the first Penn State gymnast to win the Big Ten and NCAA all-around championships in the same year. Sandy secured a total of six All-America honors, the most ever by a Nittany Lion at a single NCAA Championship. His outstanding season culminated in being selected as the 2008 Penn State Male Athlete of the Year.

This season, Sandy is on the verge of equaling or surpassing his 2008 achievements. In eight meets, the seven-time All-American has captured 28 titles, including sweeping first place in the pommel horse and the all-around for the year. Sandy tied the single season conference record by earning five Big Ten Gymnast of the Week awards and shattered the career mark for winning a total of 11 league honors. He has also been named CGA National Gymnast of the Week three times. Heading into the final week of the regular season, he is ranked in the top seven in the nation in four of six events and holds the No. 1 position in the all-around.

In the midst of his exceptional senior season, Sandy also was able to further his burgeoning international gymnastics career. Competing in the Elite Canada 2009, he dominated the field, winning the all-around on both days thereby securing himself a roster spot on the Canadian National Team.

Sandy's impressive accomplishments have also garnered him attention outside of the gymnastics world. In February, he was selected as the 2008 Ken Giles Award winner, an honor presented annually to the amateur athlete of the year by The Brampton Guardian newspaper in his hometown of Brampton, Ontario, Canada. Later that month, Sandy earned praise one of the foremost and popular publications in the world, Sports Illustrated. He was featured is SI's Faces in the Crowd, a section that highlights standout performances by amateur athletes, in the Feb. 23 edition. Sandy was recognized for capturing a single-meet career-high five individual events titles and the all-around versus Minnesota on Jan. 31.

A dedicated and diligent student, Sandy will graduate in the spring with a science degree, intending to pursue a career as a pharmacist.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010