April 2, 2002

NORMAN, Okla. - As part of the 2002 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships, the University of Oklahoma will host the Nissen-Emery banquet on Wednesday, April 3, at 7 p.m. The banquet will be held at the Marriot Postal Training Center in the Conference Hall Banquet Room. This award is considered the Heisman Trophy of men's gymnastics.

Oklahoma senior and co-captain David Johnston is one of eight candidates up for the award. Johnston has been a part of the rise of OU gymnastics and a member of four conference championship teams. He is a vital part of the No. 1 ranked rings team in the country going into the national championships this week. He has been a three-time Academic All-American and was an All-American on the rings as a sophomore. He was named the OU Male Scholar Athlete of the Year as a junior and he is currently the president of the Student Athletic Advisory Board (SAAB).

"David is one of the finest individuals I've had the opportunity to coach," said OU head coach Mark Williams. "He has achieved great things in the classroom and in the gym and has been an instrumental part of the rise of OU gymnastics these past four years. I hope that he finishes his career on a successful note this weekend."

Other candidates include Don Jackson (Iowa), J.G. Ketchen (Illinois), Justin Toman (Michigan), Troy Pazcoguin (Army), Michael Kelly (UC-Santa Barbara), Clayton Kent (Massachusetts) and Grant Clinton (Nebraska).

Four Sooners have earned the NEA, including Todd Bishop (1999), Dan Fink (1998), Jarrod Hanks (1991) and Bart Conner (1981). The candidates are required to be an example of good sportsmanship and fair play, a champion is defeat as well as victory. They must also maintain a high standard of scholarship throughout their college career.