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Wilson missed the first two practices of the New York Jets\u2019 training camp as the organization and his agent hammered out details of Wilson\u2019s rookie contract. The Associated Press and others said sources had confirmed that the two sides had come to an agreement Thursday on a four-year contract.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["zach wilson","sport","american football","practice","tyler allgeier","kyle beckerman","team","robert saleh","league"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"3c96c571-9f01-51d2-8d64-6dd77c338878","description":"FILE - New York Jets first round draft pick Zach Wilson works out during NFL rookie camp in Florham Park, N.J., in this Friday, May 7, 2021, file photo. The New York Jets and quarterback Zach Wilson have agreed to terms on his four-year rookie contract, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deal. 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BYU\u2019s highest NFL draft selection ever has signed on the dotted line, according to sources.

Wilson missed the first two practices of the New York Jets\u2019 training camp as the organization and his agent hammered out details of Wilson\u2019s rookie contract.

The Associated Press and others said sources had confirmed that the two sides had come to an agreement Thursday on a four-year contract.

The deal is reportedly fully guaranteed worth $35.15 million, including a signing bonus of $22.9 million and a has a fifth-year team option.

Not bad for a guy who wasn\u2019t heavily recruited coming out of high school but became a superstar for the Cougars in 2020.

One of the reasons the deal took longer to work out than many other rookie contracts was the offset language, which is a practice that provides clubs with financial protection if they release the player before the end of the contract.

NFL Network and ESPN reported the sides compromised with Wilson receiving his signing bonus within 15 days and the team keeping its offset language in the contract.

Wilson was the last of the first-round draft picks from the 2021 draft to get his deal finalized.

New York coach Robert Saleh didn\u2019t seem overly concerned about Wilson\u2019s deal still not being done two practices into training camp.

\u201cYou\u2019re not going to see me panic,\u201d he said after practice Thursday. \u201cLike I\u2019ve said, there are 89 guys that are counting on us to prepare them the best way we know how. And right now, they\u2019ve got our full attention.

\u201cZach\u2019s going to sign. And when it happens is when it happens. I don\u2019t try to worry about things I have no control over. So when it gets done, it\u2019ll be awesome to get him back.\u201d

About 30 minutes later, the agreement was hammered out. So Wilson should be with the team for its next practice Friday.

Fans who were starting to fret about the quarterback not yet signing took to social media to express relief. Even offensive lineman Greg Van Roten tweeted a gif of WWE wrestler Daniel Bryan doing his familiar \u201cYes! Yes! Yes!\u201d chant.

Saleh said he last spoke to Wilson earlier this week, but added that LaFleur has regularly been texting with the quarterback about the playbook and installation of plays.

\u201cWe\u2019ll be excited when he gets here,\u201d Saleh said before smiling. \u201cAnd it\u2019ll be good to not have to answer questions about it.\u201d

Allgeier, Empey named to two more watch listsBYU junior center James Empey and sophomore running back Tyler Allgeier were again recognized for past accomplishments by being named to 2021 college football award watch lists on Thursday.

The Wuerffel Trophy, college football\u2019s premier award for community service, named BYU center James Empey to its preseason watch list of 93 players receiving consideration for the annual award honoring college football\u2019s top community servant.

Named after 1996 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback from the University of Florida, Danny Wuerffel, the Wuerffel Trophy exists to honor college football players who serve others, celebrate their positive impact on society, and inspire greater service in the world.

In being recognized on the Wuerffel Trophy Watch List, Empey received his fourth 2021 preseason watch list honor in addition to being named a preseason All-American by both Phil Steele and Athlon Sports. Empey was previously recognized for his off-the-field resume as a candidate for the prestigious 2021 AFCA Good Works Team, and was selected to the Rimington Award Watch List (most outstanding center) for the third time and Outland Trophy Watch List (top interior lineman) for the second straight year.

The Louisville Sports Commission today named BYU\u2019s Tyler Allgeier among 57 multi-talented college football players to the 2021 Watch List for the Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse.

The Paul Hornung Award, now in its 12th season, is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission in the memory of the late football legend and Louisville native Paul Hornung. The winner and his family will be honored at the annual Paul Hornung Award dinner at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville in March 2021.

A sophomore in eligibility after last year\u2019s Covid season, Allgeier is a versatile athlete who has played significant roles on defense (linebacker), offense (running back) and special teams (kick returner, punt return unit, kickoff and punt coverage units) for the Cougars in his career.

UVU men\u2019s soccer announces 2021 schedule

Utah Valley University men\u2019s soccer head coach Kyle Beckerman has announced the team\u2019s 2021 fall schedule, with a non-conference slate highlighted by a home contest against NCAA Quarterfinal participant Washington. UVU will face three teams, all at home, who competed in this past season\u2019s NCAA Tournament.

The Wolverines open the season with a two-game road trip to Upstate New York where they\u2019ll face Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schools Canisius (Aug. 26) and Niagara (Aug. 29). The trip to Canisius, in Buffalo, is a return trip from 2019 when the Golden Griffins visited Orem. UVU won that match 4-3 in overtime.

\u201cOur early schedule and the travel involved will test us, but the boys will be ready to go. We have some good measuring-stick matches in non-conference that will prepare us well for WAC play,\u201d Beckerman said. \u201cAs a conference, the WAC continues to get better from top to bottom and has a great opportunity to again be a multiple-bid league. We know every time out will be a battle and we look forward to competing.\u201d

The home opener, Beckerman\u2019s first contest in front of the 12th Wolverines, will be Thursday, Sept. 2 against CSUN on Clyde Field. The second and final non-conference home game will be against Washington on Sept. 16. The Huskies finished No. 8 in the country in the final United Soccer Coaches Poll after making their fifth straight tournament \u2014 and second straight quarterfinal \u2014 appearance. Both matches will kick at 7:30 p.m. MT.

Sandwiched in between those two home contests is a trip to Illinois, where Utah Valley will play road games at Big 10 Northwestern (Sept. 9) and Bradley (Sept. 12) of the Missouri Valley Conference.

WAC play begins with three straight road contests: at Dixie State (Sept. 25), at UT Rio Grande Valley (Oct. 1), and at Incarnate Word (Oct. 3). Three straight at Clyde Field will follow that swing with San Jos\u00e9 State (Oct. 7), Seattle U (Oct. 9), and UNLV (Oct. 16) coming to town over the next two weeks.

The remaining road matches in league play will be at Chicago State (Oct. 22), at Houston Baptist (Oct. 24), and in the season finale at California Baptist (Nov. 6). The Wolverines will also host both teams who represented the WAC in the NCAA Tournament in the final home weekend of the season. WAC Tournament winner Air Force will be in Orem on Oct. 28 before regular season champion and 25th-ranked Grand Canyon will close out the home schedule on Oct. 30.

The WAC Tournament will be hosted by GCU in Phoenix Nov. 10-14, with the top six teams qualifying for a chance to earn conference\u2019s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

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At 6-foot-6, former Timpanogos standout Jackson Holcombe isn\u2019t easy to miss on the court.

Yet after his senior year, Holcombe didn\u2019t have an offer to play at the next level.

One of the side effects of the pandemic was that players such as Holcombe didn\u2019t have a chance in the summer of 2020 to showcase their abilities at AAU tournaments.

Even though Holcombe averaged 20.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.6 steals per game during the Timberwolves 2020-21 campaign, his future was still uncertain.

Holcombe took full advantage of playing AAU ball this summer and over the July 24th weekend signed a letter of intent to play for Mark Madsen at Utah Valley University.

Just in time, too \u2026 Holcombe is leaving to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Wednesday.

Holcombe was called to the Sacramento Mission (Spanish speaking) on March 31.

\u201cThat was always the plan, to sign before I left on my mission,\u201d Holcombe said. \u201cIf I signed I couldn\u2019t play AAU, so I\u2019m glad it worked out this way. I wanted to play really competitive basketball until the day I left and I\u2019m super grateful I got the chance to do that.\u201d

Holcombe played for Utah Prospects and battled in AAU tournaments around the country \u2014 Dallas, Birmingham and Omaha \u2014 against some of the nation\u2019s top athletes.

\u201cI definitely think I held my own,\u201d Holcombe said. \u201cI usually matched up against the other team\u2019s best wing player and guarded some of the best players in the country. It was good for my confidence and proved I could compete at a high level.\u201d

Israel Ingle coached Holcombe at Timpanogos and took the head coaching job at Timpview this spring.

\u201cI love that kid,\u201d Ingle said. \u201cMost players have offers going into their senior year and that offseason AAU recruiting is extremely important. Jackson didn\u2019t get one of those. He didn\u2019t have the offseason to build his name. There is kind of a log jam on college rosters and coaches weren\u2019t sure how that was going to play out. Jackson kept working and eventually good things happened. He can get to the rim about as well as anyone I\u2019ve ever coached.\u201d

Holcombe eventually earned offers from Portland, Louisiana-Monroe and Utah Valley, with interest from Illinois-Chicago and Idaho State. Ingle said some major Division I teams were starting to express interest as well after Holcombe\u2019s AAU performances this summer.

\u201cI felt like Coach Madsen showed a lot of interest in me and recruited me hard,\u201d Holcombe said. \u201cI got a lot of positive feedback about him and UVU. I felt like it was the best place to continue my education and get better as a basketball player. I really like Coach Madsen\u2019s coaching experience and his playing experience in the Pac-12 and the NBA. He\u2019s a super positive coach and I really like that.\u201d

Holcombe could play any guard position at the next level and can guard 1 through 4. He was particularly adept at getting to the foul line. As a senior at Timpanogos, he led the state in free throws attempted (208) and made (158), shooting at a 75% clip from the line.

\u201cI feel like I\u2019m pretty versatile,\u201d Holcombe said. \u201cI\u2019ve pretty good handles at 6-6 and I can find my open teammates. I\u2019m very comfortable playing guard or wing.\u201d

Playing close to home was a big factor for him as well. The Holcombe family recently adopted a three-week old boy, Truman, and Jackson\u2019s younger brother, Lincoln, is going into eighth grade.

\u201cI\u2019m going to stay at home and do the MTC for six weeks, then head out to Sacramento in the beginning of September,\u201d Holcombe said.

In the UVU news release, Madsen said, \u201cJackson Holcombe is a force to be reckoned with on the court. As a first team all-state selection, his game exploded this past season. Jackson was No. 1 in the state of Utah in total made free throws and No. 24 in the nation in made free throws. I love players who attack the rim and draw fouls.

\u201cAt 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, he played point guard at Timpanogos High School while putting up excellent assist numbers under the mentorship of his high school coach Izzy Ingle. Jackson has the height and the vision to see over the top of defenses. He can knock down the three or dunk at the rim. Jackson Holcombe is the Swiss army knife of basketball. His versatility allows him to contribute to the team in a vast number of ways. I could not be more excited to welcome Jackson Holcombe and his family to UVU.\u201d

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If you leave it open even a crack, you never know what might happen. On the other side, if you are trailing, the mentality is always that it isn\u2019t over until it\u2019s over. 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If you are the golfer in the lead in match play, you always want to shut the door as soon as possible.

If you leave it open even a crack, you never know what might happen.

On the other side, if you are trailing, the mentality is always that it isn\u2019t over until it\u2019s over.

All four of the golfers with Utah Valley ties who won both of their matches at some point had to come from behind in the 2021 Utah State Amateur Championship at Alpine Country Club in Highland on Thursday.

The most stunning was the rally BYU golfer Brock Goyen pulled off in the round of 32 against Cameron Tucker.

Tucker had cruised through the first 13 holes, winning five of them and refusing to give any back to Goyen.

\u201cWhen I was five holes down with five left to play, I definitely didn\u2019t expect to come out on top,\u201d Goyen said.

But the match was about to change dramatically.

With nothing to lose, Goyen got more aggressive as he tallied a birdie on No. 14 and then blasted a great drive that helped him win with a par on No. 15.

\u201cI had a little momentum and I knew if I kept hitting good iron shots and kept putting well, I could come back,\u201d Goyen said. \u201cI think he got a little rattled, although it\u2019s hard to say. He definitely didn\u2019t hit as good a shots as he had all day coming down the stretch.\u201d

Goyen proceeded to win the next three holes, forcing a playoff the hole that looked all but impossible only an hour before. He then got one final birdie to cap off the improbable rally.

\u201cI don\u2019t know how I did it but I did,\u201d Goyen said. \u201cYou have nothing to lose so you might as well go for it. No. 15 isn\u2019t really a driver hole but I told myself I was going to hit driver on it and play it as it is. That gave me momentum and I was able to finish it out.\u201d

Goyen said he felt like some of that momentum from his big comeback helped him in his round of 16 match against Cougar teammate Max Brenchley.

\u201cMax is a great competitor and I love him to death,\u201d Goyen said. \u201cI was able to hit good shots today and didn\u2019t find myself in too much trouble. I was able to put some pressure on him and able to come away with the win.\u201d

Goyen advanced to the quarterfinals with a 4-and-3 win over Brenchley.

Two recent BYU grads also joined their former teammate in the quarterfinals, each having to put together a rally of their own.

After winning 3-and-2 in the morning, Spencer Dunaway found himself down by two holes to Ryan Brimley heading into the turn.

\u201cRyan is a great player and he was playing awesome on the front,\u201d Dunaway said. \u201cI think I shot even par and I was two down. To start the back-nine, I had to light a fire. I don\u2019t think I missed a shot on the back.\u201d

He won holes No. 10 and 11, then won four of the next five holes to pull away for the 4-and-2 victory.

\u201cI was a little nervous but when I got it back to all square, the nerves kind of went away,\u201d Dunaway said. \u201cTo see the ball starting on line time after time, I was like, this is pretty awesome. It just gave me more confidence and I was able to take more aggressive swings.\u201d

Hirsch went down early by two holes in his morning round and one hole in his afternoon round, but each time he got things together and took care of business, advancing with a 3-and-1 win over Justin Shluker and a 3-and-2 win over Leo Torres.

The other golfer with local ties to reach the quarterfinals was Lehi\u2019s Carl Jensen \u2014 who also needed to make a big comeback.

Jensen trailed former UVU golfer Jake Godfrey by two holes with three to play, but made some great shots down the stretch.

\u201cIt was shocking,\u201d Jensen said. \u201cHe (Godfrey) didn\u2019t make any mistakes. The only bogey he made was on the last hole, I think. It was just a lot of fun. To birdie No. 16 and No. 17, it was a lot of fun.\u201d

Jensen, like Goyen, said his mentality was to go for it because there wasn\u2019t much to lose.

\u201cI was going pin hunting,\u201d Jensen said. \u201cWith the spot I was in, I had to make birdies and I finally pulled off a golf shot.\u201d

His birdie on the par-3 16th hole kept him alive, then he was able to scramble his way to another birdie on No. 17 (a par-5).

His drive landed in a fairway bunker, his second shot landed in a green-side bunker and his third shot was still 20 or 25 feet from the hole. The putt, however, was perfect and Jensen showed his elation with a fist pump.

\u201cWe were begging for it to keep going,\u201d Jensen said.

He then was able to defeat Godfrey with a par on No. 18, securing his spot in the quarterfinals.

\u201cMy dad has been a member at Alpine Country Club since I was 9-years-old,\u201d Jensen said. \u201cWe\u2019ve played a lot of golf on this golf course. It was special.\u201d

In addition to Goyen, Dunaway, Hirsch, Jensen, Brenchley and Godfrey, three other golfers with local ties reached the round of 16 but weren\u2019t able to make the plays they needed down the stretch.

Both former Salem Hills golfer Brock Nielson and BYU golfer David Timmins lost on the 19th hole after battling their opponents the entire match, while Cougar golfer and former Pleasant Grove star Keanu Akina had his match-tying birdie putt on No. 18 lip out.

Dunaway and Goyen will now face each other in the quarterfinals, while Jensen will play Utah golfer Blake Tomlinson and Hirsch will battle former Weber State golfer Luke Crapo. The other quarterfinal will pit former state amateur champ Dan Horner against Ute golfer Martin Leon.

The quarterfinal matches of the 2021 Utah State Amateur Championship will take place Friday morning, with the winners moving on to the semifinals on Friday afternoon.

All of the action will be at Alpine Country Club in Highland. For complete details and match brackets, go to http://UGA.org.

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Like pieces on a board during an aggressive game of chess, the Utah State Amateur Championship sees player after player get removed until only two remain.

Unfortunately for former BYU golfers Spencer Dunaway and Kelton Hirsch, BYU golfer Brock Goyen and Lehi\u2019s Carl Jensen, they weren\u2019t able to make it to the final pairing.

All four reached Friday morning\u2019s quarterfinals at Alpine Country Club but only Dunaway was able to survive to reach the afternoon semifinal match.

There he ran into a buzz saw as Utah golfer Martin Leon got hot and never let up.

\u201cRight off the bat, Martin started awesome,\u201d Dunaway said. \u201cHe birdied the first hole. I hit mine to eight feet and just missed it, while he hit his to three feet. I got a bogey on No. 3, so I was down two after three holes. I missed an easy up-and-down on No. 7 and that kind of gave him another hole. Unfortunately, but so he was three. Then he made a great hit on No. 8 to six feet and made that birdie. I think I made the turn at even-par and he made it at 4-under-par, so I was four down through nine holes.\u201d

That put Dunaway in a tough spot and he know he had to be more aggressive if he wanted to get back into the match. That hurt him on No. 10, as his first shot when just barely out of bounds and he ended up losing another hole.

His best hope to rally was after Leon hit a shot in the trees on No. 11 and Dunaway made a par to get one hole back \u2014 but he wasn\u2019t able to maintain the momentum.

A bogey on No. 12 and a great sand shot by Leon put the Ute golfer back on top and Dunaway couldn\u2019t get a tough chip to drop on No. 13, ending the match with the 6-and-5 loss.

\u201cHe put the pressure on me where I kind of had to change up my game plan a little bit,\u201d Dunaway said. \u201cI was trying to win the hole, trying to make something happen. I just couldn\u2019t do it.\u201d

Dunaway got his semifinal spot by building a lead on Goyen (his former BYU teammate) in his quarterfinal match and then holding on down the stretch.

\u201cBrock\u2019s a great player and he\u2019s been playing good all week,\u201d Dunaway said. \u201cI just played really solid and I kind of just put a lot of pressure on him. I hit almost every fairway and I hit a lot of greens.\u201d

Dunaway was three holes ahead with four to play when Goyens got rolling.

\u201cHe just turned it on,\u201d Dunaway said. \u201cHe made a 30-foot putt for birdie on No. 15, then on No. 17 he pounded a drive 380 yards and then hit the ball to a foot from the hole, getting the eagle. That meant we had to play No. 18.\u201d

Dunaway appeared to be in trouble as his first shot ended up with a bad lie in the left rough and his second found the sand trap guarding the green.

For Dunaway, though, that wasn\u2019t necessarily a bad thing.

\u201cI feel like a strength of my game is my bunker game for sure,\u201d Dunaway said. \u201cI\u2019m very comfortable in the sand. I was able to hit that bunker shot to two feet so I put a lot of pressure on him.\u201d

Goyens couldn\u2019t get his birdie putt to fall and that ended his run as Dunaway got the 2-up victory.

Hirsch was in a battle with former Weber State golfer Luke Crapo in the quarterfinals, a match that required 20 holes to get a winner.

Hirsch nearly canned chip shots on both No. 18 and on No. 1 that would\u2019ve given him the win, but they refused to drop.

Crapo made a nice birdie putt on No. 2 and Hirsch ended up just missing the putt to tie it, giving Crapo the victory.

Jensen had a strong start to his quarterfinal match against Utah golfer Blake Tomlinson and led by two holes at the turn.

Tomlinson flipped the script, however, winning holes No. 10, 11, 12 and 13 to take the lead. Jensen couldn\u2019t find a way to rally and Tomlinson got the 2-and-1 win.

Tomlinson then knocked off Crapo, 5-and-4, in the semifinal, setting up a match with his Ute teammate Leon in Saturday\u2019s championship.

Although Dunaway wasn\u2019t able to reach the finals, he said he\u2019s happy with how his golf game is going at this point as he prepares to turn pro.

\u201cMy game is pretty consistent right now,\u201d Dunaway said. \u201cI\u2019ve been playing great. I think my irons got a little shaky today, but they were actually more solid than my driver on the rest of the days. I fixed the driver today but the irons were off. It\u2019s one of those things but definitely I\u2019m playing some good golf.\u201d

He said it is weird to be thinking about transitioning from amateur golf but he hopes his timing is right.

\u201cThe next year, year-and-a-half, two years will be the most important years of golf in my life,\u201d Dunaway said. \u201cBecause everyone at this level is so good, it\u2019s all about timing. This is the time for me so I\u2019m excited to get it going for sure.\u201d

For complete details from the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, as well as live scoring from the 2021 Utah State Amateur Championship final round at Alpine Country Club, go to http://UGA.org.

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For BYU golfer (and former Pleasant Grove basketball star) Keanu Akina, staying alive at the 2021 Utah State Amateur Championship at Alpine Country Club in Highland on Wednesday came down to a pressure-packed two-foot putt on Hole No. 18.

Recent Skyridge grad Carter Frisby\u2019s putt was similar but longer \u2014 maybe seven feet out.

It was tougher for BYU golfer Brock Goyen, who had to rally from a disastrous showing on No. 18 to win a sudden-death playoff on Hole No. 1.

Then there was Cougar golfer Max Brenchley, who forced extra holes by winning the last two and found a way to survive on the 20th hole

Such is life in match-play golf.

Sixty-four golfers competed in 32 matches and while some were blowouts \u2014 former Lone Peak golfer Braxton Leetham and former UVU golfer Jake Godfrrey only needed 14 holes to get 5-and-4 victories \u2014 but most of the duels came down to the end.

The pressure of the moment resulted in a golfer angrily firing his ball into the trees, another tossing his club 20 feet into the air, others pounding clubs on the ground or venting frustration through colorful language.

Others, however, got to experience the elation and the relief of surviving to play another day.

Goyen, for example, endured some highs and lows at the end of his round against Zach Dallimore before being able to get the victory.

\u201cIt was just an up and down battle,\u201d Goyen said. \u201cIt was very close. He made putts on top of my thoughts and so it was really consistent all day long. It wasn\u2019t one person up by a lot. It was just consistent and it was a lot of fun.\u201d

With the match tied on Hole No. 17, Goyen hit a brilliant second shot, knocking it close to the flag and making the birdie putt to take the lead.

The next hole, however, was the complete opposite as his drive went in the bushes and he couldn\u2019t recover, sending the match to the playoff.

\u201cIf I did get angry today, I tried to bottle it up right there and then just let it go and continue on,\u201d Goyen said. \u201cThat\u2019s all match play is. It\u2019s hole by hole, so the next hole can be totally different. Coming to the playoff hole I was like, \u2018well, I\u2019m going to play my game and hopefully in the end I comes out on top.\u201d

He was able to get the par to defeat Dallimore and move on to the Round of 32.

Goyen\u2019s Cougar teammate, Brenchley, found himself in a hole against David Jennings and needing to make plays down the stretch.

\u201cIt\u2019s definitely not the spot you\u2019re looking to be in,\u201d Brenchley said. \u201cI felt like as long as I just kept fighting and made a couple of good shots down the stretch, make a birdie or two on 17 or 18, I would give myself a chance.\u201d

After making the rally, Brenchley still found himself watching Jennings hit a great putt that would\u2019ve won the match on Hole No. 1 (the 19th hole of the match) if it had gone in.

\u201cIf he would have asked me four feet out, I\u2019m saying that\u2019s dead center and taking my hat off to congratulate him on the match,\u201d Brenchley said. \u201cFortunately he just burned the edge and we got to go with one more hole. But yeah, it\u2019s nerve racking for sure.\u201d

Hole No. 2 is a par 5, which allowed Brenchley to take advantage of his ability to hit the ball a long ways. He was on the green in two, then two-putted for birdie. Jennings wasn\u2019t able to get his birdie putt to drop and Brenchley had the victory.

Those short putts with the match on the line may be makeable but Akina and Frisby agreed they aren\u2019t easy.

\u201cIt wasn\u2019t that far so I felt OK,\u201d Akina said. \u201cI just knew as long as I got a decent stroke on it, it should go in. There was a little ball mark right in front of my ball that I was trying to fix. I was really scared about it but luckily it didn\u2019t affect the shot.\u201d

Frisby \u2014 who made a clutch birdie putt on a playoff hole on Tuesday to reach match play \u2014 said he was apprehensive as he stood over his last putt.

\u201cI was nervous,\u201d Frisby said. \u201cIt was probably seven feet out and I had missed every single one of those during the match. I don\u2019t think I\u2019ve ever been that nervous over a putt, so it was a cool experience to be able to make that.\u201d

In addition to those four, other golfers with Utah Valley ties who made it to the Round of 32 were former BYU golfers Kelton Hirsch and Spencer Dunaway, BYU golfer David Timmons, former UVU golfer Jake Godfrey, Lone Peak golfers Cooper Jones and Evan Lawrence, former Lone Peak golfer Braxton Leetham, former Salem Hills golfer Brock Nielson, Provo\u2019s Darrin Overson and Alpine Country Club\u2019s Carl Jensen.

The second round of match play will take place on Thursday morning starting at 7:30 a.m., with the winners moving on to the Round of 16 on Thursday afternoon. All of the action will be at Alpine Country Club in Highland.

For complete details and match brackets, go to http://UGA.org.

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Recent Skyridge graduate Carter Frisby felt like he played pretty solidly in his second round of the 2021 Utah State Amateur Championship Tuesday morning, but didn\u2019t know if his two-round score of 148 (4-over-par) would be enough to make the match-play field of 64.

\u201cIt was solid,\u201d Frisby said. \u201cI missed a few pars here and there but it was solid. I honestly didn\u2019t think it was going to be enough, though, when I finished.\u201d

Since he started at 7:50 a.m., he chose to go back to his home in Lehi but didn\u2019t give up on the possibility that he would make the cut.

\u201cI just chilled but I was following the scores pretty closely,\u201d Frisby said.

As the day progressed and scores started rolling in, he realized he might still have a chance to play a little more golf.

He was confident enough that he headed to Alpine Country Club at 6 p.m. to start warming up for the potential playoff. At 7:30 p.m., he was on Hole No. 1, part of a group of 16 golfers playing for 11 spots.

As he stepped up in that pressure-packed moment, he elected to not be too aggressive since that had gotten him in trouble earlier in the tournament.

His choice paid big dividends this time.

\u201cYesterday when I played, I hit a 3-wood into that right bunker, so I just wanted to take that out of play. I went with my 3-iron. I\u2019ve been hitting my It really good all week. Luckily it put me at a perfect number, about 140 yards out. It was just a little half pitching wedge and I hit it perfect.\u201d

His second shot ended up less than 10 feet from the hole, giving him a chance at a birdie putt. In playoff golf, usually a par is enough to stay alive but he didn\u2019t want to leave anything to chance.

\u201cI wanted to make it,\u201d Frisby said. \u201cI wasn\u2019t thinking about anything else. I was just thinking, \u2018let\u2019s make this and go home.\u2019 Seeing it drop felt really good, especially because I missed a lot of those lengths today in my round. That felt really good.\u201d

Frisby knows that he\u2019ll be one of the lower seeds in Wednesday\u2019s first round of match play competition but said he relishes the challenge.

\u201cGetting in is what matters,\u201d Frisby said. \u201cSeeds matter \u2014 but also they don\u2019t. At the end of the day, we\u2019re all just playing against each other. I love it. Anybody can beat anybody on any given day, so I\u2019ve got to just go out and play well.\u201d

Frisby is preparing to serve a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and then figure out his plans \u2014 including golf \u2014 afterwards. That means he is just enjoying playing right now and is going to appreciate every opportunity.

It turned out that in addition to Frisby\u2019s birdie, 10 other golfers \u2014 including Utah Valley golfers Tyler Jones and Ron Davis \u2014 made pars. That meant there was only one extra hole of golf and the field of 64 was set.

Awaiting the golfers who survived the playoff are the golfers who played well in the two rounds of stroke play.

Leading the charge was former UVSC star and 2007 champion Nick Nelson, who fired a 138 (6-under-par) to take medalist honors and get the No. 1 seed.

It\u2019s been a long time since a No. 1 seed won the title, however, so other golfers near the top \u2014 including current and former BYU players Spencer Dunaway and Elijah Turner, who were part of a four-way tie for second at 139 (5-under-par) \u2014 will also be tough to beat.

Both Dunaway and Turner had chances to at least tie for medalist honors but said that wasn\u2019t their biggest goal.

\u201cIt\u2019s always a good thing and I feel like my games trending well,\u201d Dunaway said. \u201cI like the way I\u2019m swinging it. But there\u2019s a ton of good players and I wasn\u2019t really too worried about being medalist because honestly it means nothing really. It\u2019s going to be a long week hopefully and I don\u2019t know how many times the No. 1 seed has actually won the tournament.\u201d

Turner had a birdie putt on Hole No. 18 come up a couple of inches short but said that missing it wasn\u2019t a big deal.

\u201cI\u2019m not mad about it,\u201d Turner said. \u201cAs long as I make match play, it\u2019s fine. This is my home course so my whole mentality is just play like I normally do, I didn\u2019t try and do anything different.\u201d

The 64 players who made it to match play will compete in the first round at Alpine Country Club on Wednesday.

For the full bracket and other details, go to http://UGA.org.

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That wasn\u2019t the case, however. \u201cI think we played maybe two or three rounds together,\u201d Hirsch said Monday. \u201cObviously there\u2019s a comfort level because we\u2019ve hung out doing a bunch of stuff together and so it feels comfortable It\u2019s nice to be playing in a big tournament with a comfortable pairing and fun to watch him put up a low number.\u201d","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"c377c728-ab1d-5a11-b1c2-7102693f1e68","description":"Former BYU golfer Kelton Hirsch (right) and current Cougar Max Brenchley walk off the No. 9 green during the first round of the 2021 Utah State Amateur Championship golf tournament at Thanksgiving Point golf course on Monday, July 12, 2021.","byline":"Jared Lloyd, Daily 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Since both Kelton Hirsch and Max Brenchley were part of the BYU men\u2019s golf team for the past year, it would be natural to think they had played a lot of competitive golf together.

That wasn\u2019t the case, however.

\u201cI think we played maybe two or three rounds together,\u201d Hirsch said Monday. \u201cObviously there\u2019s a comfort level because we\u2019ve hung out doing a bunch of stuff together and so it feels comfortable It\u2019s nice to be playing in a big tournament with a comfortable pairing and fun to watch him put up a low number.\u201d

The two ended up in the same threesome for the first two rounds of the 2021 Utah State Amateur Championship, which is being played at Thanksgiving Point golf course and Alpine Country Club.

In many ways, however, Brenchley and Hirsch are at different places.

The most obvious is where they are on the leaderboard after the first day.

Brenchley carded a 66 (6-under-par), which was enough to put him in a tie for first place with former UVU golfer Nick Nelson, one stroke ahead of former Cougar teammate Spencer Dunaway.

\u201cI feel like my game has been going in a good direction recently,\u201d Brenchley said. \u201cI\u2019ve been working really hard on my game and so I just felt like I was applying what I\u2019ve been working. on and I felt like that was a great what happened today. I was able to get the putter rolling today and had a couple putts and a couple of drives where I needed them.\u201d

Hirsch, on the other hand, ended up with a 74 (2-over-par) and is in a 24-way tie for 65th, which means he will be in a battle to get into the match-play field of 64.

\u201cI didn\u2019t play great today,\u201d Hirsch said. \u201cI hit a lot of good shots then got rewarded with some mud balls and tough stuff like that. Everybody has to play the same course and that\u2019s just how it goes. Then I didn\u2019t capitalize on a few opportunities that I had.\u201d

They are also at different points in their lives.

Hirsch just graduated from BYU and is considering turning pro. He also is preparing to begin a family as he and his wife Carly have a new baby due in a couple of months.

\u201cIt\u2019s kind of fun,\u201d Hirsch said with a smile.. \u201cIt\u2019s fun to not have the same pressure to play well this summer so I\u2019m ready to go in the fall because there\u2019s nothing coming up in the fall. It\u2019s a lot of fun just to come out of here and continue to compete. Maybe I\u2019m not as sharp as I usually am at this time of year but it\u2019s fun.

\u201cGoing forward, I\u2019m really not sure what\u2019s up next. I probably am going to turn pro and play in the Utah Open. But eventually I\u2019ll probably just be going to work and enjoying time with the new baby on the way.\u201d

Brenchley, on the other hand, is officially a BYU freshman and has only been back for a year from his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Florida.

Brenchley feels like has gained a lot from being around Hirsch, even if they were rarely paired together.

\u201cI feel like Kelton\u2019s always just super-positive out on the golf course,\u201d Brenchley said. \u201cI feel like no matter what\u2019s going wrong, he\u2019ll be like, \u2018let\u2019s go make four birdies in a row.\u2019 He has that kind of attitude and outlook on the game. I really appreciate that attitude and his positivity.\u201d

While Brenchley is virtually guaranteed a match-play spot and Hirsch heads into the second round of stroke play needing to battle, both players said their mindset has to be the same on Day 2.

\u201cI think you\u2019ve got to just play,\u201d Hirsch said. \u201cYou can\u2019t worry about where the line is or what\u2019s going on. You\u2019ve just got to go out and do your best and shoot as low as you can because seeding does help. When you\u2019re on that cut line, you\u2019ve got to just keep trying to go lower and get back into a good position where you can make a run during match play.\u201d

Brenchley said: \u201cI just have got to hit the shots right and make the putts. It\u2019s really just about getting to match play. You could be a No. 64 seed or a No. 1 seed and it doesn\u2019t matter at that point. It\u2019s just you versus the next guy. I want to go out there and keep the momentum that I have going.\u201d

Brenchley, Hirsch and all the other golfers who played the first round at Thanksgiving Point will play their second round at Alpine Country Club.

Nelson and BYU golfer Brock Goyen (68, 4-under-par, tied for fourth) will go the other direction, playing their second rounds at Thanksgiving Point.

The second round of the 2021 Utah State Amateur Championship is scheduled to begin Tuesday at 7:30 a.m.

For complete details, including tee times and live scoring, go to http://UGA.org.

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Since 2009, five BYU golfers and one Lone Peak golfer have emerged victorious at the annual Utah State Amateur Championship golf tournament.

Here\u2019s the list of who has accomplished the feat:

Recently, however, Utah Valley golfers have found themselves in a bit of a drought.

For three straight years, golfers from outside the area have been the ones hoisting the first-place trophy.

The 123rd edition of the event brings new hope for local golfers, since it is being hosted in their backyard.

This week the 288 best amateur golfers in Utah descend on northern Utah County, starting on Monday.

They will test themselves against the Alpine Country Club and Thanksgiving Point golf courses in the two-round stroke play portion of the event, followed by six rounds of match play at Alpine Country Club.

It\u2019s never easy and this year will be no exception.

Three champions from the last decade will be in the field, including both Hirsch and Ogden (the other is Jon Wright, who won the title in 2014).

BYU will also have six other golfers in the event: Keanu Akina, Max Brenchley, Spencer Dunaway, Brock Goyen, David Timmins and Elijah Turner.

Brenchley and Turner both played their high school golf at Lone Peak and thus have played a lot of rounds at Alpine Country Club. That might prove to be an advantage, one that could make a difference in both the stroke play and match play competitions.

Don\u2019t count out current Knight golfers Cooper Jones and Evan Lawrence, or former Lone Peak star Tyler Jones. All three have the ability to make a deep run and put themselves in position to emerge victorious.

Other notable local golfers in the field include UVU\u2019s Ryan Seamons and Tanner Johnson, Skyridge\u2019s Carter Frisby and 1998 champ Darrin Overson of Provo.

There are also external factors that could come into play, since the temperatures are supposed to be in the upper 90s and low 100s this week.

When Fishburn won in 2016, he defeated former UVSC golfer Aaron Smith in the finals. Smith collapsed midway through his semifinal match and had to be taken to the hospital because of heat stroke.

The first round of the 2021 Utah State Amateur Championships is scheduled to tee off Monday at 7:30 a.m. at both Alpine Country Club and Thanksgiving Point golf course.

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Utah Valley\u2019s Mark Madsen is much like every other college basketball coach during this summer of change. Rosters are in a constant state of flux due to the transfer portal and the NCAA\u2019s gift to players of another year of eligibility due to the pandemic. Activities both on and off the court are moving slowly back to normal.

Madsen and his wife, Hannah, are expecting a girl in late July, adding to the current family roster of two boys ages 3 \u00bd and 1 \u00bd.

Madsen and his wife are considering their inevitable switch from man-to-man to zone in their household. On the basketball court, Madsen is hoping to continue the upward trend in his program. Now in his third season as head coach, Madsen went 11-19 in 2019-20 and 11-11 in 2020-21.

\u201cLast season was a very unique time,\u201d Madsen said. \u201cThere was such a high level of unpredictability. We had seven separate COVID shutdowns and 10-12 positive tests in our program. I thought the players handled it extremely well. It was a good year despite the issues.\u201d

One key moment this spring was when Madsen and his staff got back out on the road with recruiting.

\u201cIt was awesome,\u201d Madsen said. \u201cI was in Arizona the first week and in Texas the second week. The gyms were packed and guys were playing basketball in front of coaches there to check out the talent. There is a lot of comradery among the coaches.\u201d

Madsen said his roster is pretty set for next season but that he always looking to improve it through the transfer portal, the junior college route and with talented high school players.

\u201cWe\u2019re always evaluating talent,\u201d he said. \u201cOur main thing is preparation. We want to be prepared for the scenario that there is no one in the portal that will fit and we want to be prepared if someone in the portal does fit our program.\u201d

Madsen referred to his college days in Stanford. After finishing a successful freshman year in Palo Alto, head coach Mike Montgomery introduced Madsen to some new recruits who played his position: Future NBA pros Jarron and Jason Collins.

\u201cThat\u2019s the coaches job to bring in the best players every single year,\u201d Madsen said. \u201cAs it turned out, there were five or six players on that Stanford roster that played pro ball. You always find a way to make it work. We\u2019re always looking for the best possible players and the cream will rise to the top.

\u201cThe minute you get content in any role in sports, that\u2019s a problem. You lose your competitive edge and drive. We try to compete with the most competitive players and athletes who can be effective for us.\u201d

Much of the success of the 2021-22 season will depend on big man Fardaws Aimaq, who entered the NBA Draft but decided he is coming back to Orem for another year before pursuing his professional dreams. Aimaq was the leading rebounder in the country (15 rebounds per game) in his sophomore season.

Guard Jamison Overton (15.6 points per game) transferred to Weber State and there are four new faces on the UVU roster, including former BYU guard Connor Harding. After the 2020-21 season, Harding entered the transfer portal and moved his game a few miles down the road to Orem.

\u201cConnor has made a huge impact here at UVU,\u201d Madsen said. \u201cHe can shoot the ball from deep. He can shoot it off the catch and the dribble. He\u2019s a phenomenal defender and he\u2019s extremely bright. He was fantastic from the first day he set foot on campus. He\u2019s just a winner.\u201d

Other newcomers include Coastal Carolina forward Tim Ceaser, junior college transfer guard Justin Harmon and guard Jordan Battle from Hargrave Military Academy.

Guard Trey Woodbury averaged 15.6 points per game in 2020-21 and more experience returns with Le\u2019Tre Darthard, Blaze Nield, Jaden McClanahan and Tim Fuller.

The Wolverines are in the middle of summer workouts, which includes four hours on the court, four hours in the weight room and two hours watching video during the week.

\u201cI feel like we\u2019ve covered some good material,\u201d Madsen said. \u201cThey minute you\u2019re happy as a player or coach, that\u2019s not good. You never want to feel content, but I\u2019m very pleased with the players, I can tell you that. I expect really good things from these young men and this team.\u201d

"}, {"id":"23b86ae7-ff06-51ed-b3c0-b45d435c2aaa","type":"article","starttime":"1625701920","starttime_iso8601":"2021-07-07T17:52:00-06:00","priority":50,"sections":[{"uvu":"sports/college/uvu"}],"application":"editorial","title":"WAC commissioner Jeff Hurd to step down at end of 2021","url":"http://www.heraldextra.com/sports/college/uvu/article_23b86ae7-ff06-51ed-b3c0-b45d435c2aaa.html","permalink":"https://www.heraldextra.com/sports/college/uvu/wac-commissioner-jeff-hurd-to-step-down-at-end-of-2021/article_23b86ae7-ff06-51ed-b3c0-b45d435c2aaa.html","canonical":"https://www.heraldextra.com/sports/college/uvu/wac-commissioner-jeff-hurd-to-step-down-at-end-of-2021/article_23b86ae7-ff06-51ed-b3c0-b45d435c2aaa.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Jared Lloyd\nDaily Herald","prologue":"Western Athletic Conference Commissioner Jeff Hurd announced today he will step down from his position at the end of December. He will be concluding 10 years as Commissioner and 37 years overall with the WAC within a 50-year professional career. \u201cJeff Hurd has done a remarkable job in leading the WAC to its current status. We are grateful to him for putting the WAC in the position of a very promising future as a conference,\u201d said outgoing Chair of the WAC Board of Directors, Fr. Stephen Sundborg, S.J. \u201cThe debt of gratitude to him of our thirteen member schools is immense. As we look to his successor as Commissioner, we will build on the legacy of what he has dedicated himself to over many years. His service to this conference is unparalleled.\u201d","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["jeff hurd","university","education","chairman","wac board of directors","career","office","director","karl benson"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"f1462675-01dd-517c-a888-338210df2dc2","description":"WAC commissioner Jeff Hurd announced on Wednesday, July 7, 2021, he will step down at end of 2021.","byline":"Courtesy photo","hireswidth":2269,"hiresheight":1566,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/14/f1462675-01dd-517c-a888-338210df2dc2/60e63f8b6915e.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1733","height":"1196","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/14/f1462675-01dd-517c-a888-338210df2dc2/60e63f8b105b5.image.jpg?resize=1733%2C1196"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"69","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/14/f1462675-01dd-517c-a888-338210df2dc2/60e63f8b105b5.image.jpg?resize=100%2C69"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"207","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/14/f1462675-01dd-517c-a888-338210df2dc2/60e63f8b105b5.image.jpg?resize=300%2C207"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"707","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/14/f1462675-01dd-517c-a888-338210df2dc2/60e63f8b105b5.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C707"}}}],"revision":5,"commentID":"23b86ae7-ff06-51ed-b3c0-b45d435c2aaa","body":"

Western Athletic Conference Commissioner Jeff Hurd announced today he will step down from his position at the end of December. He will be concluding 10 years as Commissioner and 37 years overall with the WAC within a 50-year professional career.

\u201cJeff Hurd has done a remarkable job in leading the WAC to its current status. We are grateful to him for putting the WAC in the position of a very promising future as a conference,\u201d said outgoing Chair of the WAC Board of Directors, Fr. Stephen Sundborg, S.J. \u201cThe debt of gratitude to him of our thirteen member schools is immense. As we look to his successor as Commissioner, we will build on the legacy of what he has dedicated himself to over many years. His service to this conference is unparalleled.\u201d

Hurd has been associated with the WAC for well more than half of its existence. He originally joined the staff in August of 1985 as the Director of Conference Relations and served in several capacities before he replaced former Commissioner Karl Benson on an interim basis in March 2012. A little more than one year later, Hurd was named Benson\u2019s full-time replacement.

\u201cThe clich\u00e9 is all good things come to an end,\u201d said Hurd, \u201cand this is no exception. I remember my first day in the office literally like it was yesterday and cannot fathom it was closer to four decades ago.\u201d

\u201cCommissioner Joe Kearney gave me the opportunity to come to the WAC, and I can\u2019t begin to name all of those who have positively influenced me throughout my career. Success in anything also does not occur without the assistance of many others. I have been extremely fortunate to have had outstanding mentors, business counterparts, office staff and friends along with great support from my wife Cheri and our family.\u201d

\u201cI am extremely proud of what has been accomplished during my tenure, and the WAC always will be a part of me. I know the Conference is very well positioned to move forward.\u201d

There have been several membership initiatives during Hurd\u2019s tenure. Of the WAC\u2019s 13 members in 2021-22, 11 have entered the conference under his leadership. Included are the addition of four institutions for 2021-22 (Abilene Christian University, Lamar University, Sam Houston State University and Stephen F. Austin State University) and a fifth (Southern Utah University) beginning in 2022-23. They join California Baptist University, Chicago State University, Dixie State University, Grand Canyon University, Tarleton State University, Utah Valley University and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley as institutions that came into the WAC during his tenure. Only New Mexico State University and Seattle University did not.

Hurd currently is the Chair of the NCAA\u2019s Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP). He also completed a four-year term on the NCAA Division I Competition Oversight Committee at the conclusion of the 2020-21 season, and he previously was a member and then chairman of the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee. Hurd served as the chair of two Collegiate Commissioners\u2019 Association subgroups, and he is on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.

Hurd is a native of Minot, N.D., and graduated from the University of Missouri\u2019s School of Journalism. He began his professional career as the Sports Editor of the Hannibal (Missouri) Courier-Post and also worked for the Tulsa Tribune. He was the Sports Information Director at the University of Tulsa and the Director of Public Relations for the Missouri Valley Conference prior to joining the WAC.

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Utah Valley men’s basketball player Fardaws Aimaq has officially withdrawn his name from the upcoming NBA Draft and will continue his education at Utah Valley University and play for the Wolverines this upcoming season. Aimaq announced his decision on a live stream with Sean Paul (writer/podcaster for MakingTheMadness.com) on Wednesday.

\u201cTo put it simple man, I\u2019m coming back,\u201d said Aimaq on the Sean Paul live stream. \u201cI\u2019m coming back to school! I\u2019m ready to get to work. The feedback and everything I got was amazing. I killed every workout that I did. I impressed a lot of teams. I did a lot of little things that led to the success in the workouts. I got the feedback that I needed. I\u2019m coming back for my junior year and I\u2019m ready to dominate this conference and am ready to be one of the best players in the country.\u201d

Aimaq impressed NBA scouts at numerous workouts and at the NBA Pro Day in Chicago this past month. He also had personal workouts with the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors.

\u201cThe biggest thing I learned from the (NBA Draft) process was how to be a pro,\u201d said Aimaq. \u201cThere is a lot more that goes into it than just the basketball side of things. There is a lot of off-the-court stuff. Understanding all that early on was big for myself. Simple little things like what you eat, what you watch, what you look at. All those things add up to how you do on the court. I didn\u2019t ever really understand that. You go from city to city and workout to workout and I\u2019ve learned that you have to keep your mind and body right. To be a pro, you really have to do all the little things.\u201d

Aimaq made the most of his first year in the WAC, earning WAC Men\u2019s Basketball Player of the Year and WAC Men\u2019s Basketball Defensive Player of the Year honors after helping lead Utah Valley to a share of the WAC regular-season title. The native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada was named Riley Wallace Player of the Year as the top transfer after beginning his collegiate career at Mercer University in Georgia.

He also recently earned the WAC\u2019s top honor, taking the league\u2019s Joe Kearney Award, which is given to the top male and female student-athlete in the WAC.

Standing 6-foot-11, Aimaq led the nation in rebounding at 15.0 boards per game, becoming the first player in 40 years to average 15 or more rebounds per game. He also averaged 13.9 points per game while shooting .485 from the field. In addition to being named First Team All-WAC, he was named to the WAC All-Defensive Team, WAC All-Newcomwer Team, NACBA All-District Team and Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America Team.

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New Utah Valley University baseball coach Eddie Smith has announced his coaching staff for the 2022 season. Nate Rasmussen, Grant Kukuk and Kade Kryzsko will all be assistant coaches for Wolverine baseball.

Rasmussen has been hired as the program\u2019s recruiting coordinator, while Kukuk will be the team\u2019s pitching coach, and Kryzsko will be the squad\u2019s first base coach.

\u201cWe are thrilled to complete our staff here at Utah Valley,\u201d Smith said. \u201cEach one of these coaches were the first guy targeted for their position and they bring a great combination of experience, energy and knowledge to the program.\u201d

Rasmussen comes to UVU from the Minnesota Twins organization where he was most recently served as a hitting coach for the Twins Advanced Single-A club. Kukuk makes his was to Orem from Cal State East Bay where he was the program\u2019s pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. And Kryzsko comes to Utah Valley after spending time in the professional ranks in Germany as a pitcher and assistant coach with the Berlin Flamingos.

Rasmussen is a Utah native as he grew up in Sandy and played his high school ball at Bingham High School. He then went on to play collegiately at Pacific University in Oregon where he was a three-time all-conference performer for the Boxers. He began his coaching career as the hitting coach at the University of Puget Sound from 2012-14 and then moved back to his alma mater as he served as Pacific University\u2019s associate head coach from 2014-16. Rasmussen then moved into the Division I ranks at fellow WAC foe Northern Colorado where he served as the program\u2019s recruiting coordinator from 2017-19. He then most recently worked as a hitting coach in the Minnesota Twins organization from 2019-21 and spent time with the Gulf Coast League Twins as well as the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels.

Rassmussen earned a bachelor\u2019s degree from Pacific University in business marketing in 2012.

\u201cNate is a Utah native with an extensive resume. He has recruited the Western United States in his time as a recruiting coordinator at Pacific University and in the WAC at Northern Colorado,\u201d said Smith. \u201cGrowing up in Utah, Coach Rasmussen will be able to help us establish our program as a destination in the state. He comes to us from coaching in the Minnesota Twins organization where his experience will bring great insight to our player development.\u201d

Kukuk has spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach at Cal State East Bay in Hayward, Calif., where he served as the program\u2019s pitching coach and recruiting coordinator (2018-21). Prior to that, he was an assistant coach at the College of Southern Idaho for two years from 2016-18. He has also spent time coaching during the summers as an assistant coach for the Yakima Valley Pippins of the West Coast League and the Neptune Beach Pearl of the California Collegiate Summer League. During his playing days, Kukuk pitched two seasons for the CSI Golden Eagles where he earned all-conference accolades and then went on to pitch his final two years at fellow WAC foe Sacramento State.

Kukuk grew up in Reno, Nev., and holds a bachelor\u2019s degree in communications from Sacramento State (2016) and a master\u2019s degree in human resource development from Idaho State (2018).

\u201cGrant is one of the bright young pitching coaches in baseball. I was impressed with him from the moment we connected on the phone,\u201d Smith said. \u201cHe brings a perfect blend of traditional philosophy meshed with modern training techniques that will help develop our pitchers at an elite level.\u201d

Kryzsko played for Smith at Lower Columbia College and excelled on the diamond as he earned All-American honors as a pitcher and infielder. He then went on to finish his collegiate playing career at Indiana University of the Big Ten Conference from 2016-18. Kryzsko then spent two years of playing and coaching professionally in Germany as he pitched and also spent time as an assistant coach for the Berlin Flamingos from 2018-20. He also served as a personal instructor for D-Bat from 2018-21 in the state of Washington.

Kryzsko hails from Covington, Wash., and earned his bachelor\u2019s degree from Indiana University in 2018 in liberal studies (with a minor in sociology).

\u201cKade is going to bring great perspective to our program with some unique experiences. It was a great pleasure to coach Kade Kryzsko in his first two years of playing college baseball where his work ethic and killer instinct earned him junior college All-American honors,\u201d Smith said. \u201cHe then transferred to Indiana University where he was coached by 2021 National Championship winner, Coach Chris Lemonis, before finishing his career playing professionally in Europe. These experiences will be great for our program and his work ethic will be respected immediately by our players.\u201d

Rasmussen, Kukuk and Kryzsko complete Smith\u2019s coaching staff for the 2022 season. Smith was recently hired as Utah Valley\u2019s head baseball coach in early June.

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Fardaws Aimaq has about a week to make the toughest decision of his life.

The 6-foot-11 center from Utah Valley University declared for the NBA Draft in April and has seen his stock rise with each workout. On July 7, he\u2019ll have to decide whether to keep his name in the draft or come back to Orem for another year.

\u201cThe experience has been great so far,\u201d Aimaq said. \u201cIt\u2019s been everything I could have asked for and more. I\u2019m definitely very grateful for everything I\u2019ve gone through so far. I think it\u2019s been a real eye-opener for me. Things have been very positive the last couple of days. It\u2019s making my decision a lot tougher.\u201d

Aimaq worked out for the New York Knicks earlier this month and last week sources indicated he made a strong showing at the pro day in Chicago. UVU coach Mark Madsen said he received a call from an NBA general manager during Aimaq\u2019s pro day workout.

\u201cThings have heated up for him in the last couple of days,\u201d Madsen said. \u201cWe\u2019re letting him very clearly know we support him 100 percent. We know it would be great for out team for him to come back. He\u2019s getting good feedback from a lot of people. It\u2019s really a testament to Fardaws and his work ethic.\u201d

That work ethic showed on the court in 2020-21, when Aimaq led the country in rebounding (15 per game) while averaging 13.9 points and 1.9 blocks per game.

He took that work ethic to another level this summer by changing his training regiment and dropping 25 pounds.

\u201cI\u2019m definitely in the best shape of my life,\u201d Aimaq said. \u201cThe biggest step was improving my diet. It\u2019s 100 percent plant based. I cut out sugar drinks and junk food. I feel like I\u2019m flying up and down the floor and flying through the air. I\u2019m much stronger as well and I recover from workouts so much faster.\u201d

Aimaq said he went from 265 pounds to 240 and dropped his body fat from 18 percent at the end of the regular season to 7.5 percent.

\u201cWith the physical stuff, I feel like a different monster on the court,\u201d he said. \u201cI still have a long way to go but I\u2019m working on it. It\u2019s been a great journey so far.\u201d

Pro scouts and general managers have encouraged Aimaq to improve his free throw percentage (62 percent last year) and his assist to turnover ratio (35 assists to a team-high 73 turnovers).

\u201cThey said they really like my style of play,\u201d Aimaq said. \u201cI\u2019m a skilled big that can move and pass the ball. I can shoot it and I can get it on the block. They are very intrigued with the different things I can do on the court for a 6-11 kid. It\u2019s really exciting to hear GM\u2019s and coaches speaking so highly of me.\u201d

Aimaq said the feedback he\u2019s getting is that he could be a late second-rounder or a highly sought-after free agent when the NBA Draft convenes on July 29. He\u2019s also hearing that if he comes back to Utah Valley and has a strong senior year he could move into the late first round in 2022.

\u201cThe biggest thing is figuring out what\u2019s right for me right now,\u201d Aimaq said.

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Herald","hireswidth":2500,"hiresheight":1689,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/5b/95bf6ee9-e57b-530d-b96e-6e1c5ff0f363/5cb4dd2e52926.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1751","height":"1182","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/5b/95bf6ee9-e57b-530d-b96e-6e1c5ff0f363/5f45bc4969dce.image.jpg?resize=1751%2C1182"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"68","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/5b/95bf6ee9-e57b-530d-b96e-6e1c5ff0f363/5f45bc4969dce.image.jpg?resize=100%2C68"},"300": 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DENVER \u2013 At its annual June meeting, the Western Athletic Conference Board of Directors determined its 2021-22 Executive Committee and approved several items for the upcoming academic year and beyond.

\u201cIt was wonderful to bring our new Board of Directors together as one group moving towards one common goal,\u201d said WAC Commissioner Jeff Hurd. \u201cSince we began our expansion conversations last year, everyone involved has wanted to work towards making the WAC one of the premier mid-major conferences in the country and we are certainly headed in the right direction.\u201d

The current board welcomed the four newest members in Abilene Christian University, Lamar University, Sam Houston State University and Stephen F. Austin State University as well as Southern Utah University, who will join on July 1, 2022.

New Mexico State University President John Floros was elected Chair, while Utah Valley University President Astrid S. Tuminez was elected as Vice Chair. The third member of the Executive Committee is Tarleton State University President James Hurley, who will take the spot of retiring Seattle University President Stephen Sundborg as Past Chair.

The Board approved scheduling formats for the 2021-22 seasons which will feature division-only play for baseball, women\u2019s soccer, softball and women\u2019s tennis. Men\u2019s and women\u2019s basketball will not be divided into divisions and all teams will play an 18-game league schedule. Volleyball will play double-round robin within division with a week of crossover play halfway through the league schedule. Men\u2019s soccer and men\u2019s tennis will not be divided into divisions due to the number of full members sponsoring the sports.

Also approved was a championship site rotation that will provide geographic distribution between each division. For the 2021-22 seasons, the championships for men\u2019s and women\u2019s cross country, volleyball, men\u2019s golf, outdoor track & field and baseball will be in the West footprint and women\u2019s soccer, indoor track & field, women\u2019s golf, men\u2019s and women\u2019s tennis and softball will be in the Southwest footprint. The men\u2019s and women\u2019s basketball tournament will remain at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Due to a high number of affiliate members, men\u2019s soccer and men\u2019s and women\u2019s swimming & diving are not included in the geographic rotation.

Following the lead of the WAC Council in May, the Board eliminated the Intra-Conference Transfer Rule. The Board also discussed several NCAA Issues, including Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) developments, passed the conference budget for 2021-22 and provided its endorsement of the WAC Alliance on Community, Social Justice and Multicultural Education.

The sites and bracket formats for the 2021-22 WAC Championships will be announced when finalized.

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UVU director of athletics Jared Sumsion may have gotten the best guy to take over as the new Wolverine baseball coach \u2014 but he doesn\u2019t have him quite yet.

The university announced Thursday that Eddie Smith has been hired to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of long-time coach Eric Madsen. Before Smith can dive into the job, however, he has some unfinished business to take care of.

He is currently the hitting coach at LSU and the Tigers are currently competing in the NCAA Regionals in Eugene, Oregon.

\u201cI am going to continue with LSU here, hopefully for about four more weeks, and make a great run with the Tigers,\u201d Smith said in a media teleconference on Thursday. \u201cThen I\u2019ll turn the page to total focus on Utah Valley.\u201d

Although the Wolverines got permission to make Thursday\u2019s announcement about Smith\u2019s next stop, they also emphasized that they respect that he has another job to complete first.

\u201cWe want the LSU baseball community to know that we want to be really respectful of the LSU program,\u201d Sumsion said. \u201cCoach Smith is solely focused right now on LSU baseball and his Tiger players. LSU has been so great working with us through this process. We want everyone to know Coach Smith\u2019s focus right now is on the LSU Tigers.\u201d

While that means UVU has to be patient, the Wolverines emphasized that they are excited about adding Smith to the athletic department.

\u201cIt\u2019s an exciting day for Utah Valley University baseball,\u201d Sumsion said. \u201cWe are ecstatic to introduce Eddie. This has been an interesting time in Utah Valley baseball history and we know Coach Smith is going to take us where we want to be. We are so excited to have a coach of Eddie\u2019s caliber who wants to be with us and knows where he can take this program.\u201d

Sumsion said the school has good athletes who need someone who has got \u201cgrit and toughness.\u201d

\u201cThat\u2019s what we were looking for in this search,\u201d Sumsion said. \u201cWe had over 75 applicants from all across the country but Coach Smith stood out. When he was on campus visiting, he didn\u2019t just sell us on the process but he sold us on who he is and how he believes in our student-athletes. That was the defining characteristic on why Coach Smith was selected to be our coach because he loves the student-athlete. He believes in them both on and off the field. He is a coach who epitomizes everything we were looking for.\u201d

Smith called it an \u201chonor\u201d to be the baseball coach at UVU.

\u201cThis is a day that I have thought of a lot throughout my professional career, getting to be a Division I head baseball coach,\u201d Smith said. \u201cI couldn\u2019t imagine a place that has more in place to go have success right now. The facility is just beautiful. There is potential for getting very good baseball players onto that campus because of that facility. It has everything we need to develop there as ball players.\u201d

Smith was obviously enamored with being able to sell players on the possibilities in Orem because he feels the tools are there to get guys to be their best.

\u201cThey can be pushed to their maximum potential and as a coach that\u2019s my goal for them,\u201d Smith said. \u201cI think that\u2019s one thing that really stood out. I also saw a school and administration that\u2019s committed to the student-athlete, to building the person as a whole. That aligns a lot with what is important to me.\u201d

Smith did take time to have a virtual meeting with the current Wolverine players on Thursday immediately after the official announcement and introduce himself.

\u201cI spent about 15 minutes with them sharing the vision and hopefully it was clear how excited I am about this,\u201d Smith said. \u201cI see this as a piece of clay that is just ready to be molded. The foundation is there. The play is quality quality play and I shared that with the players. I look forward to working with them, setting the standard, understanding what the expectations are talking about some traits that we want to be identified by and some of the steps as we go forward here.\u201d

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