March 12, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Redshirt senior Michael Newburger, a team captain and two-time All-American on the No. 4 Ohio State men’s gymnastics team, has been named a 2014 Nissen-Emery Award finalist by the College Gymnastics Association.

Each year, the prestigious Nissen-Emery Award is presented to the nation’s outstanding senior male collegiate gymnast. In addition to excellence in athletics, the recipient must also be an example of good sportsmanship and maintain a high standard of scholarship throughout his college career. 

“It’s really great for me, especially coming as a tryout walk-on to the team, to be nominated for this award and to be considered among some of the top gymnasts in the country,” Newburger said. “It’s an honor and I’m really excited.”

Newburger claimed the 2013 NCAA Pommel Horse title with a score of 15.45, becoming the second gymnast in Ohio State history to win a national championship on the event and the first since Drew Durbin won three consecutive titles (1995-97). The Austin, Texas, native also claimed the 2013 Winter Cup title as well as the 2013 U.S. Championships bronze medal on the event.

Newburger is the only gymnast in the past three years to score a 16.000 or above on pommel horse in NCAA competition, having scored a career-high 16.250 at the 2014 Windy City Invitational to set new NCAA and Ohio State records on the apparatus. Overall, he has won eight individual event titles in addition to ranking No. 1 on the event for eight consecutive weeks in 2014 and for four weeks in 2013.

A double major in physics and mathematics, Newburger was named to the Capital One Academic All-America at-Large First Team (2013) as well as the Capital One Academic All-District V First Team (2012-13). In addition, he is a three-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, three-time CGA Academic All-American (2011-13), three-time Academic All-Big Ten (2011-13) and four-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete (2010-13).

“I’m really proud of Mike for what he’s accomplished in the past two and a half years,” Ohio State head coach Rustam Sharipov said. “His accolades in the classroom and in the gym speak for themselves. Mike has set a really good and inspiring example, and I think he’s well deserving of and qualified for this award.”

Four Buckeyes have won the esteemed award, including Mike Racanelli in 1990, Kip Simons in 1994, Blaine Wilson in 1997 and Jamie Natalie in 2001. Since the award inception in 1966, only Oklahoma and Penn State have had more gymnasts garner the recognition with seven and six wins, respectively. The Scarlet and Gray have produced a candidate to the award’s finalists list 12 of the last 16 seasons. 

The winner will be announced at the University of Michigan during the CGA Awards Banquet which is being held at the Jack Roth Stadium Club on Wednesday, April 9, at 8 p.m. EST, in Ann Arbor, Mich., the site for this year’s NCAA Championships.

The 2014 Nissen-Emery Award Finalists:
Donothan Bailey – University of California – Berkeley 
Zack Chase – University of Minnesota 
Presten Ellsworth – University of Oklahoma 
Adrian Evans – Penn State University 
Landon Funiciello – College of William and Mary

Sam Mikulak – University of Michigan

Michael Newburger – Ohio State University

Chris Turner – Stanford University

Kip Webber – U.S. Military Academy