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BYU roundup: Cougar gymnast competes at nationals, hoops signs Atiki Ally Atiki

By Jared Lloyd daily Herald - | Apr 16, 2021

All-American Abbey Miner-Alder competed on Friday in the NCAA Championships as an individual competitor on floor, BYU’s first qualifier since 2018.

Ranked as No. 10 in the nation on floor, the senior sported an impressive NQS of 9.944 this season. Back in March, the WCGA celebrated the Utah native as a second-team All-American on the floor exercise.

Alder earned her spot at the NCAA Championships after competing at the NCAA Morgantown Regionals on April 2. The MRGC Floor Specialist of the Year achieved her highest score of the night on floor, notching a 9.900. This score, along with her NQS score, advanced her to the next round.

“I was super excited that Abbey, who ranked No. 10 in the country, could go through a pretty grueling qualifying process to make it here to nationals,” head coach Guard Young said. “It’s always a special thing for BYU to get an athlete to the final dance.”

In the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, Alder rotated with No. 8 University of Minnesota, who competed on floor in the final rotation. She achieved a score of 9.5875.

“It was very difficult for her to come in and not have her teammates with her,” Young said. “She warmed up and then sat for an hour. And then warmed up again and sat for another two hours. It’s very unique. She is used to competing on every event, so for her to sit, that was challenging.”

This is head coach Guard Young’s second BYU gymnast to both qualify for nationals and earn All-America honors. The last time was in 2018 when Shannon Evans was named to the second team for the uneven bars.

“Abbey’s our all-arounder and our ace in the hole. Overall, she handled it beautifully,” Young said. “She had a great warm-up and great preparation for the tournament. I think she just thought that she had to be too perfect. That does not take away from her All-American status and everything that she has accomplished during her career as a gymnast here at BYU.”

Cougar hoops signs Atiki Ally Atiki

BYU men’s basketball head coach Mark Pope announced today that Atiki Ally Atiki has signed a scholarship agreement to play for the Cougars.

“We are incredibly excited to announce Atiki as the newest member of the BYU basketball family,” Pope said. “Growing up in Tanzania, Atiki will bring to our team a fresh world view and added diversity in our continued pursuit of the best locker room in America. He is humble, hungry and has an overwhelmingly-special work ethic that Cougar Nation will fall in love with. He is a gifted athlete with length, athleticism and touch around the rim. He is sure to become a fan favorite and have a major impact on BYU basketball and our entire community for years to come.”

From Mwanza, Tanzania, growing up Atiki would have to travel 45 minutes to play basketball at the nearest court. He moved to Ontario, Canada in 2018 to finish high school and play basketball at the London Basketball Academy, where he was coached by Angelo Provanzano.

Atiki was ranked as the No. 5 college basketball prospect in Canada by Canada’s National Preparatory Association. He averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds in his junior season. His senior season was heavily impacted by COVID-19 as Canada had limited athletic events during the pandemic.

Atiki is a center who stands at 6-foot-11, with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, and weights in at 220 pounds.

BYU men’s tennis stays undefeated in WCC play

BYU men’s tennis swept San Francisco 4-0 at the Indoor Tennis Courts on Friday, improving to 6-0 in West Coast Conference play, and extending its win streak to six matches. It was the Cougars’ sixth sweep of the season.

“We’re thrilled to beat a good San Francisco team today, who last week beat both Portland and Gonzaga,” said BYU head coach Dave Porter. “We’re thrilled to be 6-0 in conference and heading to play Pepperdine and LMU next week. We’ve got a great in-state rivalry with Utah tomorrow. We hope fans will come out and watch and help us honor our seniors. We’ll give it our all.”

The Dons took the first match at No. 2 doubles, 6-0, but Jack Barnett and Ben Gajardo beat Paul Giraud and Ori Maior at No. 1 doubles, 6-2, to tie it up at 1-1 with the match at No. 3 doubles locked up a 4-4. Sean Hill and Sam Tullis prevailed in a tiebreaker, winning the match 7-6 (1) and clinching the doubles point for the Cougars.

In singles play, Hill quickly earned a 6-1, 6-2 victory at No. 1 singles over Nitzan Ricklis. Barnett then beat Giraud at the No. 2 spot, 6-3, 6-2. Tullis followed with a dominant 6-4, 6-1 win in the No. 4 spot over Ori Maior to clinch the sweep for BYU.

The Cougars will welcome in-state rival Utah for senior day at 2 p.m. Saturday. The match is scheduled to be played at the Outdoor Tennis Courts, but will be moved indoors if inclement weather persists. Live stats will be provided and a live stream will be available if the match is moved inside.

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