April 3, 2002

NORMAN, Okla. - In the first day of the 2002 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships, held at the University of Oklahoma, Michigan senior Justin Toman was named the Nissen-Emery Award winner at the annual Nissen-Emery Awards Banquet held at the Marriot Postal Training Center. The NEA is considered the Heisman Trophy of men's gymnastics.

"This is just an unbelievable honor," said Toman on the award. "Your peers, coaches and fellow gymnasts vote for the winner, and it feels good to know they think I deserved it. This is just the highest honor a gymnast can receive, it's huge."

Toman, a five-time All-American and native of Wallingford, Conn., was an NCAA championship team member in 1999. He is a two-time parallel bars champion and was the all-around runner up last year. He is currently a member of the U.S. National Team and was also a member of from August 1998 to February 2000. He was a 1999 World University Games team member and he placed ninth at the 2000 Olympic Trials. To add to his list of accomplishments, he was the 1999 Michigan Male Athlete of the Year and he has been the team captain since 1999.

Other finalists for the award included Don Jackson (Iowa), J.G. Ketchen (Illinois), Troy Pazcoguin (Army), David Johnston (Oklahoma), Michael Kelly (California-Santa Barbara), Clayton Kent (Massachusetts) and Grant Clinton (Nebraska).

NCAA action begins on Thursday, April 4, at 1 p.m. followed by a 7 p.m. session. The top six (of 12) teams advance to the finals on Friday, April 5, at 7 p.m. Individual titles will be determined on Saturday, April 6, at 7 p.m. All competition will take place at the Lloyd Noble Center. For ticket information, call the OU athletic ticket office at 325-2424.