Four GPS Athletes Sign National Letters of Intent for College Athletics

Spring National Signing Day sees commitments for lacrosse, rowing, swimming, and volleyball
Across the nation, high school student-athletes put pen to paper today to show their pursuit of their athletic endeavors at the next level. At GPS, four from the Class of 2024 committed to continue their sports in college: Caroline Barnes for rowing, Sofia Bean for lacrosse, Scout Chapin for swimming, and Brooklynn Smith for volleyball.

Classmates, friends, and family gathered in the Frierson Theatre this afternoon for a special Signing Day assembly, emceed by GPS Director of Athletics Jay Watts. Jay welcomed the crowd before saying, “The heart of any strong athletic program is its people—the athletes and the coaches—who put forth a tremendous amount of time and energy to make it successful. So much of what you see when you go to any of our athletic competitions is like an iceberg. You see the final product that is visible above the surface, but you do not see the tremendous amount of personal sacrifice and dedication under the surface that brought that performance into view.”

He spoke of great memories from the year, including the obvious exciting victories and championships, but also some of the smaller moments saying, “I think of the sound of shoes squeaking on the basketball court when I arrived at school at 7:15 AM, only to find Sylia Hicks doing sprints in the dark to get ready for basketball season. I think of the multiple stories I have heard from coaches like Coach Winecoff and Coach Barlett who seem to spend almost every free weekend driving out of town to watch their athletes compete. I think of Gracie Pritchett taking a huge fall in the Ravenwood game 12 days ago with what could have been a season-ending injury, only to find out the next day that she was back on the field playing because she knew her team needed her.” He continued, “These and countless stories like them show the commitment that our athletes and coaches make on a regular basis to help our teams be at their best.”

Before announcing the athletes signing letters of intent today, Jay recognized a few other athletes. Farah House ’26 was surprised to hear she had received a National Federation of State High School Associations Award of Excellence for Sportsmanship, Ethics & Integrity. He also recognized multi-sport senior athletes by asking them to join him on stage for a round of applause. Those athletes included Holly Beale (cross country, swimming, and track), Arysa Kayasit (rowing and a climbing), Scarlett Kelch (volleyball, bowling, and track), Kaitlyn Melda (cheerleading and lacrosse), and Autumn Woodard (soccer, squash, and tennis).

From there, it was time to invite the college commits to sign their official letters of intent with their family and coaches in tow. After thanking each parent for their investment in and support of their daughters saying, “Today is also an achievement for you as the foundation for their academic ability, athletic prowess, and personal character,” Jay invited students to the stage in the following order:

Caroline Barnes | Rowing | University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Caroline’s high school rowing career took off quickly as she was named “Novice of the Year” for the 2022-23 season. Her boat was second in the women’s doubles at the Secret City regatta as well as the women’s quad at the Head of the Hooch Regatta. That finish at the Head of the Hooch is the best for a GPS boat in program history. She also plans to compete in the Women’s Varsity Quad at Scholastic Nationals this May. An outstanding student in the classroom, Caroline is a part of Cum Laude and on the Head of School’s list.
Sofia Bean | Lacrosse | Sewanee: The University of the South
Sofia is a midfielder who has been a part of the GPS lacrosse program for seven years. During her high school career, she has helped lead the team to two state semifinal appearances, and this year, she has been one the leading scorers on a team that is still undefeated in region play. She was named All-Region last year. She has been involved with G-Force and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Scout Chapin | Swimming | Georgia Southern University
Scout was a member of our 2024 TISCA State Championship Swimming and Diving team this winter, capping off a remarkable four-year career on the North Shore. She is a two-time All-American as a part of the Bruisers’ 200 Yard Medley and 400 Yard Freestyle Relays in 2022. Through her club swimming, she has been a multiple qualifier for the MCSA Junior National and USA Futures Championship. Also an excellent student and musician, she has been a part of the National Honor Society, the National Spanish Honor Society, and Honors Orchestra.
Brooklynn Smith | Volleyball | Trevecca Nazarene University
Brooklynn was named MVP of her Bruisers squad this year, helping GPS to a 16-win season that included victories over Notre Dame, CCS, and state quarterfinalist Knox Catholic. Her high school career for the Bruisers included 452 kills and 151 blocks. She was also named to this fall’s Division II AA All-East Region team. While she has been a standout member of the volleyball program during her time with the Bruisers, Brooklynn has also been a part of the varsity basketball program, assisted with various sports camps at GPS, and been a leader in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is also an active member of the school spirit club, the G-Force.

The program concluded with a reception in the Athletic Commons for friends and family.