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Horton Wins Nissen-Emery Award
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Jonathan Horton became the sixth Oklahoma Sooner to win the Nissen-Emery Award, given annually to the top senior male gymnast in collegiate gymnastics.

Horton received the honor Wednesday at the awards banquet kicking off the 2008 NCAA Championships at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

Jonathan Horton

Horton, the 2006 NCAA all-around champion, and 2007 champion Taqiy Abdullah-Simmons will try to lead the second-ranked Sooners to their eighth NCAA team title. Host Stanford is ranked No. 1, and defending champion Penn State is third.

"My teammates and coaches have really pushed me to be my best, and I wouldn't be where I am without their help," Horton said after winning the award.

It's been an up and down season for the Houston native. Prior to the NCAA season, Horton placed fourth with the U.S. team at the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, where he also placed fourth all-around, the highest American placement. That achievement capped a strong year for Horton, who became a finalist for the 2007 Sullivan Award, presented annually to the top amateur athlete from all sports.

A minor knee injury prevented Horton from achieving a top all-around ranking throughout the NCAA season, and he placed fifth at the 2008 American Cup after winning it the previous two years. Horton did finish the year as the No. 1 collegiate gymnast on rings, but in his final regular season meet, at Penn State, he broke two teeth and sustained a black eye when he peeled off high bar.

Other finalists were DJ Bucher (Ohio State), Wesley Haagensen (Illinois), Derek Helsby (Penn State), Tim McNeill (Cal-Berkeley), David Sender (Stanford) and Luke Vexler (Temple).

The previous Oklahoma recipients were Daniel Furney (2003), Todd Bishop (1999), Dan Fink (1998), Jarrod Hanks (1991) and Bart Conner (1981).

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