Sandy honored by hometown as amateur athlete of the year

February 13, 2009

University Park, Pa. — Penn State senior men's gymnast Casey Sandy (Brampton, Ont.) has been 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.

Sandy was announced as the recipient on Thursday (Feb. 12) evening at the City of Brampton's Citizen's Awards for Sports Achievement at the Pearson Convention Centre. While he could not accept in person due to Penn State's upcoming meet with Illinois, members of Sandy's family were in attendance to receive the award on his behalf.

Sandy is the eighth winner of the award, which is named in honor of legendary Brampton Guardian sports editor Ken Giles, who covered the area for 50 years before his retirement in 2000. A committee of five, comprised of Frank Juzenas and Robin Inscoe from The Guardian sports staff, Giles, and two representatives from the Region of Peel Secondary School Athletic Association, selected Sandy from a field of 18 nominees. Sandy is the second Nittany Lion to win the Ken Giles Award after golfer Mark Leon was recognized in 2006.

To claim the Ken Giles Award, Sandy had to beat out one of the deepest lists of candidates ever. Other finalists included Daniel Harper, sixth in the 400 meters at the World Junior Track and Field Championships, Kyle Pettey, bronze-medal winner in the shot put at the Paralympics in Beijing, Laura Gazzola, third place in her age category at the World Duathlon Championship in Italy and Tristan Thompson, a key member of Canada's under-18 basketball team that earned a bronze medal at the FIBA Americas championship.

With his superb start to the 2009 season, Sandy has positioned himself as a leading candidate for the Nissen-Emery Award, the highest honor presented in men's collegiate gymnastics. Through four meets, he has accumulated 16 first place finishes, including all-around titles in each of the three meets in which he has completed the full rotation. Ranked as the nation's No. 1 all-arounder, Sandy broke a conference record by earning the seventh and eighth Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honors of his career after back-to-back impressive performances versus Michigan and Minnesota.

In 2008, Casey Sandy had arguably the greatest individual season in the storied history of Penn State men's gymnastics. During a regular season which featured head-to-head competitions with national powers Oklahoma, Cal, Ohio State, and Michigan, Sandy excelled, winning 29 titles and compiling 53 top three finishes. His impressive accomplishments did not go unrecognized, as he tied a conference record by earning 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.

For his career, in 37 total meets, he has earned a remarkable 127 top three finishes and claimed 71 title wins.

Sandy and the No. 4-ranked Nittany Lions will be back in action for an 8 p.m. dual meet on Saturday (Feb. 14) in Champaign, Ill. against Big Ten opponent No. 3 Illinois. The key conference match-up will be broadcast by the Big Ten Network on a tape-delayed basis, airing one week later at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21.

  • Casey Sandy

    IMAGE: Penn State Sports Information

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010