STANFORD, Calif. – Senior Akash Modi has been named the recipient of the prestigious Nissen-Emery Award as announced at the College Gymnastics Association Awards Banquet Thursday night at Eisenhower Hall on the campus of the U.S. Military Academy.
Modi is the fifth of 19 Cardinal finalists to win the honor since it was established in 1966 and the third winner under head coach Thom Glielmi. Previous Stanford winners include Steve Hug (1974), Josh Stein (1995), Dan Gill (2004) and Eddie Penev (2013).
The Cardinal travels to West Point, N.Y. this weekend to vie for its sixth NCAA Championship led by Nissen-Emery finalist Akash Modi! pic.twitter.com/11bzYpOHQT— Stanford Gymnastics (@StanfordMGym) April 19, 2017
The Nissen-Emery Award is given annually to the nation's outstanding senior gymnast and is the most coveted award in collegiate gymnastics. The recipient is selected based on gymnastic achievement, sportsmanship and academic excellence.
"Akash is the embodiment of the Nissen-Emery Award," stated head coach Thom Glielmi. "The award takes into account not just athletic prowess, but assesses the student-athlete's endeavors in the classroom and his service to the community."
I do not think there is another student-athlete in this class that has achieved so highly on every front, and I think it's a very special award when it epitomizes the standard of what the NCAA wants to see in student-athletes.Modi has compiled one of the most impressive careers in collegiate gymnastics history in his four years at The Farm. The senior won the 2015 NCAA all-around title and NCAA titles in high bar and parallel bars in 2016. In addition, he was also named MPSF Gymnast of the Year all four years of his career – an unmatched feat in men's gymnastics.
The Cardinal has also collected 12 All-American awards and was a bronze medalist in the all-around at the 2014 World University Games. He served as an alternate for Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games as well.
Modi heads into his fourth NCAA Championship ranked first nationally in the all-around (87.625), second on floor (14.763) and parallel bars (15.213), fifth on pommel horse (14.613) and high bar (14.538) and ninth on rings (14.463).
Among Modi's career weekly honors are 15 MPSF Gymnast of the Week awards and an NCAA Division I record 17 CGA Gymnast of the Week honors.
The original Nissen Award was named in honor of George Nissen, a former NCAA champion, for his contributions to men's gymnastics. The award was re-named the Nissen-Emery Award in 1998 to honor Dr. Robert Emery, a Penn State graduate, who won the Nissen Award in 1969.
The "Heisman Trophy" of gymnastics, the Nissen-Emery Award is inscribed with the following motto: "The true champion seeks excellence physically, mentally, socially, and morally".
Modi and the Cardinal begin the road to title No. 6 tomorrow with the NCAA Qualifiers set to start at 10 a.m. PT. The top three teams of each session will advance to Saturday's Championship with both being held in West Point, N.Y. at the United States Military Academy.