Hernandez a finalist for Nissen-Emery Award

March 12, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Senior Craig Hernandez (Libertyville, Ill.) has been named a finalist for the 2015 Nissen-Emery Award, as announced by the College Gymnastics Association (CGA) Wednesday afternoon. Hernandez is one of six finalists for the prestigious Nissen-Emery Award.

The Nissen-Emery Award is an annual honor presented to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in collegiate gymnastics. First awarded in 1966, the accolade honors the senior gymnast who has established a record of outstanding achievement throughout his collegiate career, while also maintaining a high standard of academic scholarship and sportsmanship.

Hernandez has garnered numerous awards throughout his Penn State career for his work as a Nittany Lion gymnast and in the classroom. On the pommel horse, he has been named an All-American twice (2013-14) and he is a two-time Big Ten champion (2012-13). During his freshman year, 2012, he was a NCAA finalist in the floor exercise. Earlier this year he broke his own school record (15.750) in the pommel horse with his score of 15.950.

In the classroom, Hernandez currently holds a 3.3 grade point average as a chemistry major. He has been named Academic All-Big Ten and a CGA Academic All-American three times.

He is also the 27th Nissen-Emery finalist in Penn State program history and the fourth consecutive Nittany Lion finalist since 2012. A total of six PSU gymnasts have gone on to earn collegiate gymnastics' highest honor, including the most recent Penn State award winner, Casey Sandy, who captured the top honor in 2009.

Each year, collegiate gymnastics coaches, student-athletes and accredited college gymnastics judges from across the nation submit their nominations for the award prior to the conclusion of the current season. Gymnasts receiving a 50% vote of confidence from the head coaches are then placed on a final ballot and voted upon by the coaches, team captains, Honorary Lifetime Members, and conference judges.

The award will be presented at the NCAA national championship at the University of Oklahoma during the CGA Awards Banquet, Wednesday, April 8, at 8 p.m. (CT) in Norman, Okla. The trophy is inscribed with the motto: "The true champion seeks excellence physically, mentally, socially, and morally."

The original Nissen Award was named in honor of George Nissen, a former NCAA champion, for his contributions to men's gymnastics. The award was re-named the Nissen-Emery Award in 1998 to honor Dr. Robert Emery, a Penn State graduate, who won the Nissen Award in 1969.

Hernandez and the rest of the Nittany Lions travel to Lincoln, Neb., for their regular season finale this weekend. Along with Nebraska, Penn State will compete against Iowa and Minnesota Sunday, March 15, starting at 1 p.m. (ET)

2015 Nissen-Emery Finalists
1. Adrian de los Angeles - Michigan
2. Craig Hernandez - Penn State
3. C.J. Maestas - Illinois
4. Ellis Mannon - Minnesota
5. Alec Robin - Oklahoma
6. Sean Senters - Stanford

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Last Updated March 12, 2015