May 9, 2013
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Husky senior Kylie Sharp was selected by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as the 2012-13 recipient of the Pac-12 Sportsmanship award, the conference announced on Thursday.
Having earned the conference award, Sharp is nominated for the NCAA Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award. Each conference is allowed to select one male and female nominee. The criteria for each nominee includes: "Demonstrating sportsmanship based on values, respect and integrity," and "Putting others' needs ahead of his or her own".
The award was first introduced in 2004 and Sharp is the first female athlete from Washington to be honored and second overall. Jeff Gudaitis from the men's track and field team won it in 2011.
Sharp was diagnosed with a liver disease before coming to Washington. Shortly after her arrival, she was diagnosed with a second, different liver disease. Neither disease has a cure and Sharp will likely need a liver transplant in the near future.
Having to take numerous medications which can cause serious side effects, Sharp met with the coaches, administration, doctors and her family to discuss her career. The administration offered her a medical hardship before her freshman year, but Sharp refused. She wanted to compete for four years.
Sharp battled with a knee injury earlier this year, and tried to get as healthy as possible to help her team later in the season. A week before Regionals, Sharp woke up to severe stomach pain and couldn't move. She was diagnosed with a bile infection, and as a result couldn't train with her teammates.
The day before Regionals, sophomore McKenzie Fechter injured her ankle on vault and couldn't compete. The coaching staff started discussing possibilities for alternates in each apparatus, but Sharp didn't hesitate. She wanted to compete for her team.
Despite being sick, unprepared and sleep deprived, Sharp competed on the balance beam for the first time this season. She stuck her routine and scored for the team.
Sharp was also named Most Inspirational by the UW coaches at the team banquet.