March 21, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Army senior Garrek Hojan-Clark has been named a finalist for the prestigious Nissen-Emery Award presented annually to the nation's outstanding senior gymnast. He is the fifth Black Knight named a finalist and is Army's first since 2002.
One of seven candidates for this award, Hojan-Clark is joined by Syque Caesar (Michigan), Steven Lacombe (California at Berkeley), Yosi Mori (Illinois), Felix Aronovich (Penn State), Alex Tighe (Temple) and Eddie Penev (Stanford). The winner will be announced at the College Gymnastics Association Awards Banquet Wednesday, April 17, in State College, Pa., the site of the 2013 National Collegiate Men's Gymnastics Championships.
Established in 1966, the Nissen-Emery Award is inscribed with the following motto: "The true champion seeks excellence physically, mentally, socially, and morally."
All five Army finalists for the Nissen-Emery Award matriculated under present head coach Doug Van Everen. Among that list are Troy Pazcoguin (2002), Scott Harris (2001), Steve Marshall (1996) and Imad Haque (1994).
Hojan-Clark has ranked among the national leaders in pommel horse throughout his career and currently lists No. 1 in the nation with a 15.317 average. His season high 15.4 was recorded in a first-place performance against Penn State (currently ranked No. 1 in the country) in the season opener for both schools as Hojan-Clark tied his Academy record.
"It is a tremendous honor for Garrek, our program and the U.S. Military Academy," stated Van Everen. "He is among an excellent group of candidates. When you think about West Point, you also think about leadership and academic excellence which is what everyone on our team represents.
"I am also proud of Garrek for taking over the No. 1 spot and being king on pommel horse at this point in the season as we close out the regular season and prepare for our postseason run."
The native of Brookfield, Wis., earned medalist honors seven times this season to include winning the title in his signature event at the West Point Open that earned him a pair of weekly honors in being selected the College Gymnastics Association NCAA Collegiate Division Gymnast of the Week and the ECAC Gymnast of the Week. He has earned medalist honors 20 times thus far in his career since emerging as a force in pommel horse as a freshman.
Hojan-Clark has qualified every year for the NCAAs on pommel horse and has ranked among the top gymnasts in his specialty in the Eastern College Athletic Conference. He captured the title in pommel horse two years ago and is top contender in 2013.
Majoring in Mathematical Sciences with a 3.549 grade-point average, Hojan-Clark will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army when he graduate in May, and will serve in the Quartermaster Corps.