WSU's Eric Nygard Named 2006 Pac-10 Sportsmanship Award Winner

April 13, 2006

WALNUT CREEK, Calif.-- Eric Nygard, senior hurdler for WASHINGTON STATE and Anna Key, junior goalkeeper for the CALIFORNIA women's soccer team have been named recipients of the 2006 Pac-10 Sportsmanship Award, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced today.

The award, selected by members of the Pac-10 Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), 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.

Nygard, a native of Wenatchee, Wash., competed in both indoor and outdoor events at Washington State, running a personal record and NCAA Regional-qualifying time in the intermediate hurdles of 52.42 for an eighth-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships in 2005. He also finished 12th in the 400m hurdles at the NCAA West Regional prelims with a time of 53.31 in his junior season.

Despite being diagnosed with cancer in October 2005, Nygard continues to play an important role on the Cougar track & field team, supporting the squad at practice and competition, as well as competing in local track meets. Outside of college athletics, Nygard is involved in several volunteer activities through his church, organizing and participating in a youth retreat for over 500 kids, where he spoke and connected with young children. Pursuing a degree in biology as a pre-med major, Nygard and his wife, Jenny, are the proud parents of a daughter, adopted in December.

Key, a native of Oakland, Calif., played in five games this season, helping Cal to a 16-4-2 overall record and the program's first Sweet 16 appearance since 1988. Key logged over 175 minutes in goal, picking up six saves, while giving up just one goal for a 0.51 goals against average.

A 2005 Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention majoring in Peace and Conflict Studies, Key spent the summer in Malawi, Africa helping to develop and promote the importance of staying in school and participating in sports. During her stay, she volunteered at an orphan care center which supports various villages in Malawi, housing upwards of 900 children who have been orphaned by AIDS or poverty. Through her leadership, the Cal SAAC is looking to raise funds for sports programs in Malawi. Upon graduation, Key hopes to obtain a job in public or international policy.

Also nominated for this year's award were Simon Burnett, ARIZONA; Cain Velasquez, ARIZONA STATE; Scott Smith, California; Matt Leinart, USC; James Lepp, WASHINGTON; Anna Chappell, Arizona; Josie Hancock, Arizona State; Lindsay Draper, USC; Courtney Thompson, Washington and Kate Benz, Washington State.

Previous Pac-10 Sportsmanship Award winners include Channing Frye of Arizona (2005), Cara Chlebicki of California (2005) and Grayling Love of Arizona State (2004).

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