GPS Signs Eight More to Play College Athletics

Classmates join three signees from fall to continue their athletic careers.
Seven of our varsity student-athletes participated in spring Signing Day and one committed after the school year ended. In a schoolwide assembly in April, seven seniors signed National Letters of Intent while their coaches, classmates, teachers, and friends and family members celebrated their success.

As part of the nearly 8 million students who participate in high school athletics, our students became a part of a much smaller subset of that group. Nationally only around seven percent of high school athletes go on to compete in college. This school year, a total of 11 GPS student-athletes have committed to continue their sports in college, accounting for 13 percent of the senior class.

“Reaching this level of athletic success is not only indicative of what these girls have done in their individual sports, but who they are as people,” says Jay Watts, GPS Athletic Director. “Colleges do not recruit just athletes. They recruit student-athletes. They want girls who can succeed on the field and in the classroom. They also want individuals with character and integrity. Our girls being recognized today have passed all of these criteria.”

Jillian Cantrell | Swimming | Washington and Lee University
Jillian is a four-year varsity swim team member, a four-time qualifier for the state meet, and led the Bruisers in the pool this year as captain. She has been selected to the TISCA All-State team three times and qualified for the NCSA Junior Nationals, where she competed against top swimmers from around the country. Last year her teammates voted her as Most Dedicated Team Member.

As an athlete who also lives out her faith, Jillian is a WyldLife Leader and a member of Christian Forum. She is a member of the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, and the Beta Club. She also serves as a GPS Ambassador. Next year she will swim for the Generals of Washington and Lee University.

“Jillian has done a fantastic job continuing to work and progress during her seven years at GPS,” says Roger Dahlke, GPS Head Swimming and Diving Coach. “She has improved each year and contributed to the team with her leadership as team captain, her example of consistently working hard, and her great swims.  Jillian will be a great asset to Washington & Lee University.”
“Jillian is a versatile recruit for us who has definitely shown huge improvements in the 100-Fly this year,” says Kami Gardner, Head Swimming Coach, Washington & Lee University. “We are excited for her to join us next year as we believe she still has a lot of room to grow as a swimmer and a lot to contribute to our program as a teammate.”

Kendall Crum | Volleyball | Allegheny College
Kendall first started playing volleyball nine years ago and has been a member of the GPS Varsity Volleyball team for four years. In addition to playing a key role in the Bruisers’ success in the region this year, she also played in a number of club tournaments and won championships in Virginia and Missouri.

At GPS, Kendall is president of the Health Club and a member of Beta Club, National Spanish Honor Society, and GPS Singers. She serves on the Senior May Day Committee and won the Delta Sigma Theta Legacy Award Scholarship that she will apply toward her college expenses. Kendall will play volleyball for Allegheny College next fall.

“Kendall was a leader who helped build the team’s momentum on the court,” says Jasmine Brown, GPS Head Varsity Volleyball Coach. “As a member of an exceptional senior class, she definitely has a heart for volleyball and people, and I am glad that is something GPS got to experience. We will miss her lightheartedness and her passion for the game. I am confident she will contribute to Allegheny for the next four years on the court as a major player, and off the court as a friend to many.”

“We are extremely excited to have Kendall be a part of our Gator family in the fall!” says Kelly Barzak, Head Volleyball Coach, Allegheny College. “On her campus visit, she immediately fit in with the team, and they were pumped to hear about her commitment. I have no doubt she is going to flourish at Allegheny both in the classroom and on the court. Kendall’s athleticism, strong attack, and passion for the sport is going to take her far.”

Rebecca Guhde | Rowing | Marietta College
As co-captain of this year’s team, Rebecca helped lead the Bruisers to a recent 10-year straight victory over Baylor at the annual Carney Cup. She has been a part of many significant placings this year: the Scholastic Championships Regatta (3rd place) and the Head of the Hooch (4th places in Varsity 4 and Lightweight 4). She was also on the select team that competed at the Head of the Charles in October 2018.

Rebecca is a member of the GPS Honor Council and the Beta Club while also serving as secretary of the National Honor Society and the leader of the Environmental Club. As a McCoy Scholar, she will attend and row at Marietta College on a full academic scholarship.

“Rebecca has been in the varsity boat since her sophomore year at GPS, and her drive to win has kept her in the top boat since,” says David Hall, GPS Head Varsity Rowing Coach. “Her leadership as one of our team captains has allowed her to gain a deeper understanding of the sport, and she's found a new excitement with her training that will be a great asset as she heads off to Marietta next year. I look forward to watching her continue to grow as an athlete and a person as we finish our season here at GPS and into next year at the collegiate level.”

“Rebecca will be a great addition to women’s rowing at Marietta College,” says Abby Klicker, Head Women’s Rowing Coach, Marietta College. “I know she will have a positive impact on the team from the moment she steps foot in the boathouse.”

Lane Lawrence | Soccer | Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
As team captain, Lane was a key leader on the 2018 TSSAA Division II-AA State Championship Soccer team this year at GPS and was selected as Tennessee All-State, Best of Preps, and All-Region for her last three years of high school competition. She was the GPS Offensive MVP in 2015, 2016, and 2017 and Rookie of the Year her freshman season. While playing for Chattanooga FC, she was on the Tennessee D1 State Championship team in 2018—the first girls team from Chattanooga to win a Division I Championship in 18 years. Lane has also been a part of the Georgia and Tennessee Olympic Development Programs.

Lane is a member of the National Honor Society and the Beta Club. She has also been involved with FCA, SWENext, and Amnesty International and founded the GPS Cinema Critique Club. At the beginning of the school year, she was recognized as a Commended National Merit Scholar. Lane will be a part of the soccer program at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology next fall.

“Rose-Hulman is getting a special player in Lane,” says Patrick Winecoff, GPS Head Soccer Coach. “She is a fierce competitor who can always be counted on to give her best effort. In big moments, Lane has the innate ability to rise to the occasion and solve the problem on the field—most recently, in the last four minutes of the State Championship game. Although we will miss her, we are excited to see what is in store for her next year.”

“I am absolutely thrilled Lane has chosen to further her studies and continue her soccer career at Rose-Hulman,” says Amy Helliwell, Head Women’s Soccer Coach, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. “She will be an outstanding addition to the institution, not only on the field but in the classroom as well! Lane will be a phenomenal ambassador for Rose. I look forward to coaching her over the next four years.”

Reagan Long | Rowing | University of Tennesee Knoxville
Reagan began rowing as a senior after playing her last season on the GPS varsity volleyball team, but wasn't able to commit to full training until early 2019 after an injury healed adequately. Since then she has been training hard to be in the top boat. 

"She's a spectacular athlete and I knew she would have a great impact on our team as a whole, bringing a fresh perspective to her work every day," Coach Hall says. "She was always so excited to train and learn more about rowing and simply get faster."

Hall says he enjoys coaching new rowers because they improve so quickly from the first day, especially when they are already fit athletes. 

"Reagan was a strong contributor to the GPS volleyball team, and I was happy to welcome her to the rowing team to try something new for the last six months of her high school career," he adds. "She finished the season in the top eight, earning a seat in the SRAA National Championship crew, which finished sixth overall in the Girls Varsity Eight event over Memorial Day weekend."

Reagan is also a member of the coveted GPS Rowing Golden Hammer Club for completing 2000m on the rowing machine with a time under 7:30. "I'm excited to watch her continue to grow as she heads up river to Knoxville to row for Coach Glenn and the Lady Vols," Hall says.

Caitlin O’Brien | Lacrosse | University of Detroit Mercy
Team captain Caitlin O’Brien has been a part of the varsity lacrosse program at GPS for four years and has been a leader on the team in scoring and draw controls this spring. Her club team in Nashville was undefeated at the IWLCA Presidents Cup in 2017. She also played varsity soccer for three years at GPS.

Caitlin was on the Honors List in 10th and 12th grades at GPS and serves as president of the GyPsieS this year. Elected by her peers to the May Court, she is also a student council representative and a member of Beta Club. She will attend the University of Detroit Mercy and play lacrosse next spring.

“Caitlin is a leader on our team in every sense of the word,” says Jay Watts, GPS Head Varsity Lacrosse Coach. “She is passionate about lacrosse and has worked tirelessly to reach the highest level of play. She has gone above and beyond in her preparation for her senior year at GPS, with countless hours in the weight room added to her schedule for improving her stickwork. She can contribute in just about every position on the field, and I look forward to seeing how she will add to the program at Detroit-Mercy.”

"Caitlin is a very versatile player that will bring success on both ends of the ball to our program,” says Meg Callahan, Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach, University of Detroit-Mercy. “Her strong work ethic on and off the field have helped her become the student-athlete she is today, and we are very excited to have her continue to be successful in a Titan uniform."

Megan Pfaffle | Soccer | Huntingdon College
Megan played a key role in the 2018 TSSAA Division II-AA State Championship journey this year and has been praised by her coaches for her outstanding effort and dedication. A club soccer player since the age of five, she continued playing club for 11 years. As a member of the varsity soccer program at GPS for three years, Megan was a starter on the record-setting Bruisers’ defensive back line, allowing fewest goals ever in regular season play. The highlight of her senior year was scoring a goal on senior night and winning the team’s Senior Soccer Award.

She has been a member of the GPS Health Club for three years and a member of Christian Forum and GyPSies. Megan will attend Huntingdon College and play soccer for the Hawks next fall.

“Megan is a very special, well-rounded player,” says Patrick Winecoff, GPS Head Varsity Soccer Coach. “She brought a consistent, quality effort each and every time she stepped onto the pitch for the Bruisers. We will miss her next season, but we know she will do great things at Huntingdon.”

“Megan embodies what Huntingdon College women’s soccer is about culturally, and that is contributing as a teammate and family member both on the field and off the field,” says Cliff Jordan, Head Women’s Soccer Coach, Huntingdon College. “Her character and drive are going to be a great resource for our soccer family here.”

Lizzy Walley | Rowing | Jacksonville University
Lizzy started her GPS rowing career as a freshman rower and, in the middle of her sophomore year, switched seats in the boat to become a coxswain. As coxswain of the GPS Lightweight 4+, Varsity 4+, and Varsity 8+, she has played an integral part of the team’s success over Baylor in the annual Carney Cup and the Scholastic Rowing Association of America National Championship Regatta as well as their showings in the Head of the Charles, the Head of the Hooch, and the John Hunter Regatta. In addition to rowing, Lizzy has played golf and run track for GPS. Next month she plans to compete in a Half IRONMAN.

At GPS, she is a member of the Beta Club, Kaleidoscope, and the Health Club and was a member of FCA and Christian Forum. She will compete next year for Jacksonville University in Florida.

“I'm proud to have coached Lizzy the past few years,” says David Hall, GPS Head Varsity Rowing Coach. “She began as a rower and then moved to the coxswain seat, where she quickly took her leadership role to the next level. Having a rowing background made her understanding of the mechanics of the stroke that much greater, and she’s become an excellent coxswain. I look forward to having her lead our crew for the remainder of our season, and we'll be cheering Lizzy on at the next level.”

“We are very excited to have Lizzy join our team next year!” says Maggie Dwyer, Associate Head Coach, Jacksonville University Women’s Rowing. “She is a very talented coxswain who I have no doubt will make an immediate impact when she arrives here at JU. Lizzy has a great personality and immediately clicked with everyone on our team when she came to visit campus. She will be someone who not only contributes to the speed of our boats, but also one who helps perpetuate a great team culture. We are very lucky to have her!”