Pineda Named a Finalist for the Nissen-Emery Award
March 22, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State senior men's gymnast Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) has been named a finalist for the prestigious Nissen-Emery Award. Bestowed in recognition of outstanding athletic achievement, academic excellence, and sportsmanship, it is the highest honor presented in men's collegiate gymnastics.
Other candidates for the award include Ty Echard (Ohio State), Andrew Faulk (Navy), Glen Ishino (California), DJ Repp (Minnesota), and Paul Ruggeri (Illinois). The winner will be announced at the College Gymnastics Association Awards Banquet on the evening of Wednesday, April 18 in Norman, Okla., the site of the 2012 National Collegiate Men's Gymnastics Championships.
Penn State boasts six Nissen-Emery Award honorees, second most in NCAA history behind Oklahoma's seven. Casey Sandy was the last Nittany Lion recipient, winning in 2009. Other winners include two-time national all-around champion Steve Cohen (1967), Bob Emery (1969), for whom the award is partly named, parallel bars national champion Gene Whelan (1976), Spider Maxwell (1987), and Matt Cohen (2007).
Pineda captains a 2012 Nittany Lion squad that has established itself as a legitimate national title contender. Currently ranked No. 2 in the NCAA, Penn State owns the nation's highest team score, established last weekend in a win over Minnesota, and has set and re-set program records in the pommel horse and still rings this season. A cornerstone of one of collegiate gymnastics' top still rings line-ups, Pineda is ranked No. 5 in the event and has recorded five top two finishes, including two title wins, thus far this season. He has also been a consistent contributor in the vault and parallel bars.
As a junior, Pineda's continued emergence as a dominant force in the still rings at the 2011 National Collegiate Championships helped the Nittany Lions advance past the qualifier and into the team finals for the first time since 2008. Pineda set a career high in the rings, scoring a 15.900, to place first in the national qualifier and then followed it up by a second place finish in the individual event finals, earning his first All-America honor. He also medaled in the still rings at the Big Ten Championships, placing third.
For his career, including this season, Pineda has recorded 50 top three finishes, including 19 titles wins.
Pineda is completing his biology degree through the Eberly College of Science at Penn State. He is among the top one-half percent of his class with a 3.98 grade point average. A two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar recipient and three-time CGA First Team All-American Scholar Athlete, Pineda was instrumental in the men's gymnastics squad earning last year's Varsity `S' Award, an honor presented to the Penn State men's and women's teams with the highest team GPA. In 2011, he was also recognized on the Capital One Academic All-America® Men's At-Large First Team and received the prestigious NCAA Elite 88 Award at the National Collegiate Championships.
Pineda, who was recently announced as a recipient of the 2012 Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award and Penn State's Ernest B. McCoy Award, plans to attend medical school following graduation with the goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.