The GPS/McCallie Blue Crew continues to be the heart of spirit for GPS and McCallie teams. This fall, the Coed Varsity Blue Crew cheered on the McCallie football team all the way to the semifinals. The three senior girls—Megan Burnette, Taylor Kuebler, and Emily Morrison—were honored during halftime on senior night, which happened to also be the biggest game of the season—the McCallie vs. Baylor football game. McCallie won and the cheer squad put on one amazing halftime performance!
Cross country experienced a growth spurt in 2018, with 19 runners on the JV and varsity teams. Among their notable finishes were a first at the Heritage 5-Star Stride, a fourth in Nashville for the TN Classic, and a fourth at the Front Runner Championships. The team placed fifth overall at the TSSAA State Championship in early November in Nashville, where Jane Eiselstein ’21 and Myra Brock ’19 finished fifth and 10th respectively and earned all-state designations. Almost all of the girls ran 5K personal records this season, according to Head Coach Katie Outlaw.
"My main goals this season were to grow our team, get girls hooked on running, and make the season as fun as possible while building fitness,” says Outlaw. “We had a really young team with a lot of freshmen and sophomores, and I wanted them to bond as a team and get excited about coming to practice every day. I feel like we definitely achieved these goals. With Briana House ’19 as team captain, the team began to feel like a second family.”
Coach Rob Riddle had a young team, with only one junior, Gracie Spence, who lettered the year before. According to Riddle, the youth improved during the season but will need to work hard in preparing for next year. “The young ladies—sophomore Holland Collett and freshmen Hannah Kate Newman, Ava Scotchie, and Olivia Scotchie—worked very hard” and were a dream to coach.
“They always competed and never quit, and I could not have asked for a better group of young people to be around,” Riddle says. “I expect us to be a little stronger and wiser next year as each class of golfers moves up.”
The GPS rowing team competed across Tennessee and on their own local course this season with regattas in Nashville, Oak Ridge, and Chattanooga for the Head of the Hooch. The Bruisers also took a crew to the 54th Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Massachusetts. “This team raced hard and competed well against some of the best scholastic and club teams from this region and across the country,” says Coach David Hall. Some of the highlight finishes from this season include first place in the Women's Youth Pair at the Music City Head Race, second place in the Women's Junior Novice Eight at the Secret City Head Race, and fourth place of 91 crews in the Women's Youth Four at the Head of the Hooch Regatta.
Hall is optimistic about the coming months of training and the depth displayed by the underclassmen. "These girls continue to impress me every day with their work ethic and dedication to success,” he says. “As we head in to the winter training season, I'm truly excited to see what they are capable of accomplishing. With the right commitment and focus, these athletes will reach their goals and hopefully end the spring season with a final stop at the SRAA National Championship Regatta."
With the hire of Lauchlan Davis ’14 this season, Hall added more depth to his coaching staff of Kipton Tugman ’92 and Maegan Collett ’08. Davis was a coxswain at GPS and rowed at the University of Virginia, giving additional focus to GPS’s coxswain development program.
GPS Volleyball began the season not knowing what to expect after losing some dominant players from last year’s team and a well-respected head coach. With persistence, however, they achieved an 11-2 regular season record and a 4-0 region record within the first few weeks of the season. “With consistent and dominant all-around performances from Preslee Brooksbank ’20, offensive fortitude from Reagan Long ’19 and Kendall Crum ’19, and solid defense and leadership from Karly Benefield ’19 Charlotte Vance ’19, and Kylie Barry ’21, we proved to the region and the city of Chattanooga that we were a force to be reckoned with,” said Head Coach Jasmine Brown ’09.
“Young players like Chapel Cunningham ’21 and Ansley Blevins ’22 had to step into demanding roles when injuries happened to starters, but they were up for the challenge and were game-changers for us in key moments,” Brown says. “Setter and first-time varsity starter Faith Copeland ’20 continued to improve as the season progressed. We also saw defensive specialist Kat Berce ’19 step into a new role as a silent but solid leader and a dominant server.”
With the graduation of six seniors, Brown says the responsibility for continuing to build a championship culture will fall to the younger girls. “I am excited for the potential and untapped talent I see, and I cannot wait to get into the gym to reveal that! Training hard and smart in the off-season and the summer will be key to our success next fall.”