GPS Celebrates National Girls and Women in Sports Day

Debbie Bohner Young ’79, a member of the GPS Athletic Hall of Fame and an alumna, was the featured speaker.
Girls Preparatory School celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports Day by hosting a breakfast for all of its student-athletes on Wednesday, February 1. The event was designed to recognize the hard work and dedication that is given by the girls in the 16 varsity and 12 middle school sports offered by the school. Debbie Bohner Young ’79, a member of the GPS Athletic Hall of Fame and an alumna, was the featured speaker at the breakfast and shared stories of her own high school athletic career and the positive impact sports had on her.

Young said, “It's so exciting to see the success of sports at GPS. One of the things that means the world to me—and we saw it at the state soccer championship this year—is how far women's sports has come with participation and the support by guys. We used to play in front of no one because we didn't have the following you do now. We've come so far and it warms my heart.” She also added, “Just like learning, sports has given me a lifelong love that has given back to me. Without question I believe that being on a team gave me the motivation to work hard in the classroom because you couldn't play without good grades. So, I thank GPS for my work ethic and drive that I gained from playing sports and being a student here."

GPS Director of Athletics, Jay Watts, mimicked Young's sentiments adding, “GPS is the perfect place to celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Our students are twice as likely to play sports as other girls in Tennessee and three times more likely to play a sport in college.” Sponsored by the GPS athletic booster club, the Bruiser Club, the breakfast allowed each girl to bring another female athlete to campus such as a family member or coach who has inspired her to strive for greatness.

GPS has been a constant innovator of advancements of female sports in Hamilton County, starting with establishing the first girls’ basketball league in the city in 1909. That would begin a series of firsts for the school that would later include the first girls’ golf team in 1974, the first girls’ rowing team in 1994, and the first girls’ lacrosse team in 2005. This year, GPS continued to bring more athletic offerings to its campus. The school launched the first girls’ squash team in the state of Tennessee, which allowed girls to compete in a sport not previously offered.

GPS Athletics provides the whole girl advantage, which allows female athletes to be seen as more than just competitors. Development of players is individualized and intentional to consider their girls' physical, mental, and emotional needs. GPS student athletes participate in an athletic program that includes a mission of being team players, understanding the importance of mental toughness, accepting challenges enthusiastically, and finding value in strength, fitness, stamina, and mental toughness.

GPS has won 64 state titles, including its most recent soccer championship this fall. The Bruisers defeated Briarcrest Christian 4-1 at CHI Memorial Stadium as part of the TSSAA Division II AA State Championship. It was the third state title for the Bruisers in soccer in the last decade.