Arizona's Matusik, Washington's Gudaitis Winners of 2011 Pac-10 Sportsmanship Award
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- Jeff Gudaitis, a senior on Washington's track & field team, and Katie Matusik, a junior gymnast for Arizona, have been named recipients of the 2011 Pac-10 Sportsmanship Award, Commissioner Larry Scott announced.
Gudaitis, from Tacoma, Wash., began his senior year at Washington majoring in economics, and was carrying a cumulative GPA of 3.2. After missing the 2010 track & field season because of foot surgery, he was looking forward to returning to competition. He started his return, but was slowed by fatigue. After the team doctor noticed a lump on the right side of Gudaitis' neck, he was sent for more testing. Five days later, Gudaitis was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer.
Gudaitis is now preparing to undergo radiation treatment, but through it all, he has remained positive, strong and poised. He has chosen to see the bright side of his diagnosis, and is glad that it was detected in its early stages. Gudaitis has stayed involved with the team, attending practices and home meets to support his teammates.
Matusik, a native of McKinney, Texas, showed remarkable leadership throughout the season. The junior co-captain consistently competed on three events for the Wildcats - bars, beam and floor exercise during the 2011 campaign. With one of her teammates showing marked improvement on bars late in the season, Matusik met with head coach Bill Ryden shortly before the Pac-10 Championships and selflessly offered to step aside on bars for her teammate if Ryden felt it would benefit the team during competition.
Matusik is also involved in the community, and is a member of Arizona's peer mentoring group, Peer Athletic Leaders.
The Sportsmanship Award is selected by members of the Pac-10 Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and is based on good sportsmanship and ethical behavior in participation of intercollegiate athletics, as well as a demonstration of good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Nominees must have demonstrated the values of respect and integrity through a specific action, ideally directed toward an opponent. The student-athlete must have consistently demonstrated the values of respect and integrity in his or her daily participation in intercollegiate athletics.
Conference award winners are then nominated for the NCAA Division I Sportsmanship Award.
Also nominated for this year's Pac-10 Sportsmanship Award were Kayla Pedersen, Stanford; women's lacrosse team, Oregon; men's gymnastics team, California; Nick Foles, Arizona; Andrew Luck, Stanford.
Previous Pac-10 Sportsmanship Award winners: Ben Ashmore of ASU (2010), women's rowing team at Stanford (2010), Stenn Parton of USC (2009), Lindsey Kelley of Arizona (2009), Michael Capbarat of California (2008), Arianna Lambie of Stanford (2008), Mitch Canham of Oregon State (2007), Jennifer Tangtiphaiboontana of Stanford (2007), Anna Key of California (2006), Eric Nygard (2006) of Washington State, Channing Frye of Arizona (2005), Cara Chlebicki of California (2005) and Grayling Love of Arizona State (2004).
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