Seven GPS Students Commit to Continuing Their Athletic Careers at the Collegiate Level

Five sports represented across six university programs
On Wednesday, November 9, as part of National Signing Day, seven GPS student-athletes were recognized for their commitment to play collegiate athletics in a special assembly at the school. Seniors Kennedy Ball, McKamey Bratcher, Margaret Cover, Sophie Cover, Isabella Jenkins, Emma McDonald, and Reagan Ziegler were honored during Chapel in front of the GPS student body, teachers, coaches, staff, and invited guests.

Across the country, about 8 million students participate in high school athletics. Of that group, only about 6% will ever compete in college. At GPS, our student-athletes commit to playing a college sport at a rate that is roughly three times the national average, a testament to the abilities of our coaches, our staff, and our programming.

Jay Watts, GPS Director of Athletics, said, “It is important for everyone to recognize that these commitments today do not only signify that these seven girls are great athletes. It is a tremendous stamp of approval on each of them as students and as people. It is also an endorsement of our program at GPS and the full experience they receive here as student-athletes.”

Kennedy Ball | University of Arkansas | Soccer
Kennedy has played varsity soccer at GPS since the eighth grade. She earned Best of Preps three times, All-Region three times, and All-State awards twice, in addition to leading her team to two state titles and multiple top 10 national rankings. As a junior, she won the Laura Holt Outstanding Athlete Award. The same year, she was named United Soccer Coaches All South Region. She has also earned the TSSAA Multi-Sport Athlete Award for her participation in soccer, basketball, and track and field.

Colby Hale, Head Soccer Coach at the University of Arkansas, said, “We are excited about the addition of Kennedy to our team. She is a big talent and a high-character person. She has the athleticism, technical ability, and vision to be a top-level attacking player. She is a winner and wants to be great!” 

McKamey Bratcher | University of Alabama in Huntsville | Softball
McKamey was an integral part of the GPS softball program during her time as a Bruiser. She was selected All-East Region in 2021 and 2022. In 2021, she was also All-East Region in basketball. She has been a member of the National Honor Society, the Head of School list, and was also a Commended National Merit Scholar. She has earned the TSSAA Multi-Sport Athlete Award for her participation in volleyball, basketball, and softball. At GPS, she won the Battle Award as a junior and the Elizabeth Collier Farmer Award as a sophomore.

Les Stuedeman, Head Softball Coach at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said, “We are thrilled to welcome McKamey into our Charger Softball program. Her excellence on the field and in the classroom, combined with her desire to pursue aerospace engineering, made her a perfect match for the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She’s a great softball player, but what stood out more than her ability on the field is the esteem with which her coaches and teammates held for her in every environment. It is clear that McKamey possesses high character, values being a great friend, and will be an awesome teammate, and we can’t wait for her to be a Charger!” 

Margaret Cover | Washington & Lee University | Field Hockey
Margaret played two years of varsity field hockey at her previous high school, Tower Hill, and was the leading scorer on the varsity team, earning 1st Team All-Conference recognition. She has continued her playing career with the Atlanta Hockey Club. She was also an integral part of the Bruisers’ state semifinal run in lacrosse last spring as a midfielder. While at Tower Hill, she was a scholar with honors and a member of the Honor Board. At GPS, she has been a member of the French Honor Society, National Honor Society, and co-editor of Spectrum. 

Coaches Elizabeth Hitti and Charlotte Duff of the Atlanta Field Hockey Club said, “Margaret is the fastest player on our team. She uses her explosive speed to take on players on attack and to recover on defense. She is an asset getting the ball into the attacking circle and is a great finisher. She is always in the right spots to receive, rarely loses the ball, and has great passing vision. She is a great athlete, and we are so excited to see her compete at the next level!” 

Sophie Cover | Washington & Lee University | Field Hockey
Sophie was a two-year varsity player on the Tower Hill field hockey team. She continued her playing career as a center defender on the Atlanta Field Hockey Club team, finishing at the top of the roster with defensive saves. She was also a member of the varsity lacrosse team at GPS that reached the state semifinals last spring. Sophie was a Scholar with Honors during the ninth and 10th grades. At GPS, she was a distinguished scholar as a junior. She is a member of National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society and is co-editor of Spectrum.

Coaches Elizabeth Hitti and Charlotte Duff of the Atlanta Field Hockey Club said, “Sophie has very strong defensive tackling skills and instincts. She anticipates defense, moves accordingly, and tackles with patience and instinctive timing all over the field. She has multiple defensive saves every tournament, often making her the difference-maker for us between winning and losing. We’ve loved seeing her grow as a vocal leader for the defense this past season, and we can’t wait to watch her compete at the next level!”

Isabella Jenkins | Tennessee Wesleyan University | Softball
With a powerful start to her softball career—she hit a home run at her first at-bat as an eighth-grader—Isabella has only continued to improve. She was part of four teams at GPS that reached the TSSAA state championship game and was ranked as one of the top 150 Pitchers in the United States by Extra Innings Softball. Additionally, she was chosen as a Scenic City All-Star and played at the Scenic City Showcase. She has also been a standout member of our varsity volleyball program as a powerful presence at the net.

Toby Brooks, Head Softball Coach at Tennessee Wesleyan University, said, “We are excited to have Isabella joining us next season. We are graduating one of our top pitchers and feel Isabella has the ability to step in and contribute immediately as a freshman, not only on the mound but at the plate as well. Getting to know Isabella through the recruiting process, we were able to see what a great person, competitor, and teammate she is and feel she will continue to grow at the next level. TWU softball is a close-knit, family-type group, and all the players thought she would be a great fit into the program. I am looking forward to seeing what Isabella accomplishes in her college career.” 

Emma McDonald | University of Kansas | Rowing
Emma had a top five All-Region finish in the fall of 2022 and was part of an impressive quad at the Head of the Hooch that was the first scholastic boat to cross the finish line. Her summer 2022 2K time made the list of the top 20 in GPS history. This year she also has a top 10-finish in the youth pairs category, and last year, as a novice, her boat earned a first-place finish at the Secret City Regatta. Prior to dominating in her current sport, she was a part of the varsity softball and swimming programs. 

Guillermo Lemus, Associate Head Rowing Coach at the University of Kansas, said, “We are super excited to have Emma join our team for the 2023 season. Emma loves racing, and that is something that we admired when we got to know her. Her competitive nature is addictive and will motivate anyone to train harder to race better. With her multi-sport background, she will bring a lot of maturity and attention to detail to our team. During Emma’s official visit, we noticed her leadership and what type of team member she is and will be in the future. Emma is going to be a great addition to our team and university.” 

Reagan Ziegler | Georgetown University | Lacrosse
Since joining the varsity lacrosse team at GPS as an eighth-grader, Reagan has been a dominant force on both ends of the field. She has been named All-Region, All-State, and USA Lacrosse All-American. She has scored 238 career goals and assisted on another 40. She also has won 299 draw controls and led the Bruisers to school records in wins and goals scored. A gifted natural athlete, Reagan was also a member of the varsity volleyball program. 

Ricky Fried, Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at Georgetown University, said, “Reagan is an extremely hard-working middie who brings passion and a competitive drive whenever she is on the field. We are very excited to have the opportunity to coach her at the next level.” 

Of the girls' commitments, 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.”