ANCHORAGE – Alaska Anchorage gymnastics coach Paul Stoklos announced Thursday that his program has its first pair of commitments for the 2017 season, receiving National Letters of Intent from Athena Cottrell and Sophia Hyderally.

“Both athletes are very expressive gymnasts and should be very exciting to watch in Green & Gold,” said Stoklos, whose team set 20 program records last season, including highest season average and single-meet scores.

Cottrell, from Greenwood, Ind., is a two-time Level 10 Region 5 Championships qualifier and two-time Level 9 Eastern Nationals qualifier, placing fifth in the all-around both times. Currently a senior at Center Grove High School, she competes for Wright’s Gymnastics Academy, helping her club team to a Level 9 state title.

“Athena is an exceptionally strong and powerful,” said Stoklos. “She should find herself as a top competitor on vault and bars for us.”

Hyderally, from Daphne, Ala., has competed for Planet Gymnastics at Level 10 since 2012, capping last season with floor and beam titles – and runner-up in the all-around – at the 2015 Alabama State Championships. Currently a senior at Bayside Academy, she was also the Region 8 beam champion and a JO Nationals qualifier in 2013.

“Sophia has a fantastic dance background,” said Stoklos. “We would expect her to excel on floor and balance beam, and to be to a solid all-around competitor for us.”

Both signees will have four years of eligibility, beginning with the 2016-17 academic season.