“We hold this event today in front of all of you by design because these signings are a celebration for our entire school,” Watts said. “If you are a teacher or coach who taught one of these girls, you are part of their story. If you have been a teammate of one of these girls, you are part of their story. If you have been a friend to one of these girls or even their Rat as a sixth-grader, you are part of their story. The greatest strength of the GPS experience for all of our girls can be found in the relationships that support, challenge, and celebrate their many gifts and talents on a consistent basis.”
Watts went on to recognize the parents of our athletes for their loyalty to their daughters’ pursuits—driving to practices, funding their training, cheering from bleachers and sidelines.
“It is important for everyone here to know that these commitments today do not just signify that these two girls are great athletes. It is a tremendous stamp of approval on each of them as students and as people,” Watts said. “College coaches are graded annually on the academic progress of their student-athletes, so when coaches were looking at Ansley and Claire, they had to make sure that their success would extend into the classroom. These college coaches had to make sure these girls would represent their institutions with class on and off campus. They combed through everything from transcripts to TikTok to ensure they were bringing in the right people to their programs. Of course, we think they made great choices.”
Ansley Blevins | Softball | Middle Tennessee State University
Ansley has been a five-year varsity starter for the GPS softball team and a four-year varsity starter for the GPS volleyball team. She has been named All-State and All-Region in softball, and she was also All-Region in volleyball. She was the winner of the Laura Holt Outstanding Athlete Award as a junior.
"Ansley has been an outstanding player for GPS softball since sixth grade—she stepped onto campus as a leader,” said GPS Head Softball Coach Susan Crownover. “Her work ethic and love for the game of softball is second to none. I can’t count the number of lessons, travel tournaments, games, or practices she has attended or how many social events she has missed because of her commitment to improving on the softball field. She has a fight about her that makes her a winner, and she has a heart for the people around her. She has been a great ambassador for our program in our community and will continue that at MTSU. I count myself the lucky one to have gotten to coach Ansley these past seven years."
Claire Nicola | Volleyball | Webster University
Claire has been a member of the varsity volleyball program at GPS since her freshman year and was selected as the MVP this season for the Bruisers. She has been on the Head of School list for her strong work in the classroom, she has been awarded the GPS Fletcher Bright Arts Fellowship, and she is a member of the Health Club and Calliope, the GPS student creative magazine.
GPS Head Volleyball Coach Bailey Winel said, “Claire has contributed greatly to our offense as a setter and a right-side hitter. Defensively, she can make a statement with how big and strong her blocks are. This last season Claire was awarded our Most Valuable Player award. She is a quiet leader, and she loves this sport. We are thankful for her leadership as a respected captain."
Of the girls' commitments today, Watts said, “We are incredibly proud of what each of these girls has accomplished during their time here at GPS, and we cannot wait to watch them thrive over the next four years at their college destinations.”