Sharp named 2013 Pac-12 Sportsmanship Award winner

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By the Pac-12 Conference

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Kylie Sharp a senior gymnast at WASHINGTON is named the recipient for the 2013 Pac-12 Sportsmanship Award, Commissioner Larry Scott announced.

Sharp, a Herriman, Utah, native, has undergone seven medical procedures during her gymnastics career. She has not one but two liver diseases, autoimmune hepatitis and an overlapping condition primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). She was diagnosed with the first condition before she started her career at UW and learned of the second condition after arriving on campus. After meeting with coaches, medical staff, administration and her family she was offered a medical hardship, but Sharp refused the offer. She was determined to be a collegiate athlete in the sport she loved. To the knowledge of the UW medical staff Sharp is the only collegiate gymnast to compete with these two conditions.

The medication Sharp must take weakens soft tissue and causes weight gain. She has had to overcome additional injuries on top of her disease as a result. Throughout her career she has had to restrict her practice time sometimes lacking the energy to even complete the team's warm-up. This year in January she underwent a procedure that took her out of commission for two weeks in order to be able to compete at the NCAA regionals to help her team earn a spot at the NCAA Championships.

A week before the regional competition Sharp became ill with a bile infection and was unable to train due to pain, sickness and sleep and nutrition deprivation. She was healthy to travel with the team to regionals and had to step in for the Huskies after a teammate fell to an ankle injury during a practice session. Sharp competed on beam for the first time that season after sitting out practice for some time. She nailed her routine and gave the Huskies the score they needed on the event. As she had in many instances before Sharp put the team before herself and was willing to do whatever they needed from her. Sharp will have to undergo a liver transplant in the near future, but has put it off so she could compete with the Huskies and contribute to the team in every possible way.

Sharp, an anthropology major with a 3.03 GPA will graduate from Washington in July.

The Sportsmanship Award is selected by members of the Pac-12 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-12 Sportsmanship Award were Brigetta Barrett, Arizona and the Alpine Ski Team, Colorado

Previous Pac-12 Sportsmanship Award winners:2004 Grayling Love, Arizona State
2005 Channing Frye, Arizona; Cara Chlebicki, California
2006 Eric Nygard, Washington State; Anna Key, California
2007 Mitch Canham, Oregon State; Jennifer Tangtiphaiboontana, Stanford
2008 Michael Capbarat, California; Arianna Lambie, Stanford
2009 Stenn Parton, USC; Lindsey Kelley, Arizona
2010 Ben Ashmore, Arizona State; Stanford women's rowing team
2011 Jeff Gudaitis, Washington; Katie Matusik, Arizona
2012 Bryson Beirne, Arizona; Brittany Hart, Oregon
2013 Kylie Sharp, Washington