March 12, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS -- University of Minnesota senior gymnast Zack Chase was named one of the nine finalists for the prestigious 2014 Nissen-Emery Award, announced today by the College Gymnastics Association (CGA). The Nissen-Emery Award is given annually to the nation's outstanding senior gymnast and is the most coveted award in collegiate gymnastics. The award is named in honor of George Nissen, a three-time NCAA champion at the University of Iowa, for his contributions to the sport and Dr. Bob Emery, the 1969 recipient of the Nissen Award.
Three Gophers have recieved the award since 1966 including Tim LaFleur (1978), John Roethlisberger (1993) and most recently, Guillermo Alvarez (2005).
"This award is the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy for men's gymnastics," said Minnesota head coach Mike Burns. "For Zack to be on the list of finalists is a big honor for him and for our program. It displays the level of excellence he's achieved during his career as a Gopher. He is in a group of super talented guys and for him to be listed among that group is quite an achievement for him. We've been lucky here at the University of Minnesota to have three gymnasts to have won the Nissen-Emery Award and for Zack to be considered for this award puts him in an elite group of student-athletes from this university."
Chase contributed greatly to the success of the University of Minnesota men's gymnastic team as he capped off his freshman campaign with a Big Ten Conference title on vault in 2011. Chase tied for first place on the vault in the individual event finals with a score of 16.250. He also tied a career-best with a 16.400 on vault in team finals, helping elevate the Gophers to a fifth-place team finish. He set his career-best score of 16.400 during his second meet in the Maroon and Gold against Ililnois and Nebraska on Jan. 22, 2011. Thanks to an impressive year, Chase earned two Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards during his rookie season.
In his sophomore season, Chase was the highest-scoring Gopher in the individual event finals at the 2012 Big Ten Championships and was then named to the 2012 All-Big Ten second team that year. He earned second place on vault with an impressive score of 15.300 helping the Gophers to a fourth-place team showing. In 2012, Chase competed at the Visa Championships, after a strong performance at the U.S. National Qualifier in Colorado Springs, Colo., hitting 100 percent of his routines on the second day of competition. He finished in 4th place on vault and 12th place on both still rings and floor exercise.
Chase recorded one of his best career meets this season to help the Gophers top Illinois and Nebraska on Feb. 1, 2014. He tied for first place on floor exercise by matching his career-high 15.100. The last time he had scored that high on floor was during his freshman season on March 11, 2011 in the Gophers victory over Air Force and the Brockport club team. At the Illinois/Nebraska meet, Chase was named the Gophers’ Louis J. Cooke Award winner for outstanding performance as he also posted scores above 15.000 on his other two events with a 15.150 for second place on vault and a 15.100 for fourth on still rings. His 15.100 on still rings also marked a career-best score.
During his collegiate career, Chase has participated in two NCAA championships with the Gophers. At the 2012 NCAA team qualifier, Chase competed on floor exercise (14.300), still rings (13.350) and vault (14.550). As a freshman, he also competed at the 2011 NCAA team qualifier, scoring a 13.800 on floor, 13.850 on still rings and 15.500 on vault.
The other finalists for the Nissen-Emery Award include Donothan Bailey (California), Presten Ellsworth (Oklahoma), Adrian Evans (Penn State), Landon Funiciello (William & Mary), Sam Mikulak (Michigan), Michael Newburger (Ohio State), Chris Turner (Stanford) and Kip Webber (Army).
This year’s 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.
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