The Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s gymnastics team heads into their final NCAA Championships as a program this weekend on a bit of a high note as senior Shane Wikus was named the winner of the 2021 Nissen-Emery Award as the nation’s best senior gymnast on Thursday night. Now his and the Gophers team shifts to the NCAA Championships that kick off on Friday at Maturi Pavillion in hopes that the team can have one last amazing moment on their way out as a varsity program.
Wiskus was honored as the nation’s best senior gymnast in a virtual award ceremony Thursday night. He becomes the 56th winner of the Nissen-Emery Award and joins four previous Gopher winners of the Award, Ellis Mannon in 2015, Guillermo Alvarez in 2005, John Roethlisberger in 1993, and Tim LaFleur in 1978.
He now turns his attention to the NCAA Championships where he is the Gophers best hope to bring home an NCAA title in their final meet as a program. The Gopher gymnastics team along with the men’s tennis team and the men’s indoor track and field team will all end varsity competition after this season comes to a close. The Gopher gymnasts would love to go out with a bang.
The action begins on Friday with two sessions at the Pav. The first session will begin at 1PM and will include Oklahoma, Nebraska, Ohio State, Illinois, Navy, and William & Mary.
The second session will begin at 7 PM and will include Minnesota, Michigan, Stanford, Penn State, Iowa, and California. The top three teams from each session will advance to the Championship session Saturday at 7PM. Additionally the top three all-around scores and top three event scorers not on a team advancing to the championship finals will advance to compete for individual NCAA Championships.
The Gophers enter the meet ranked 10th in the nation, so winning a team title will be quite a stretch, but Wiskus has a very legitimate chance to win titles in the all-around, floor exercise, parallel bars, and high bar—all evets he won at the Big Ten Championships two weeks ago. He would love nothing sweeter then to send the Gopher program out a champion.
Friday’s action will stream live on BTN+, and Saturday’s Championship Finals will air live on BTN.