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GPS seniors, from left, Emma Scruggs, Liz Warwick, Katie Nash, Meg Priest and Ariana Whatley became NCAA Division I signees Wednesday. / GPS Photo

Girls Preparatory School held a ceremony and a reception Wednesday afternoon for five seniors who signed and submitted national letters of intent for NCAA Division I athletic programs.

Katie Nash is headed to Duke for rowing, Meg Priest to Samford for soccer, Emma Scruggs to Georgia Southern for swimming, Liz Warwick to Southern Illinois for softball and Ariana Whatley to Howard University for softball.

"Kathryn is a combination of positive energy and athletic talent," Duke associate head coach Chase Graham said of Nash in a GPS release. "She is smart, persistent and passionate about rowing."

Said Bruisers coach David Hall: "Katie has been a valuable member of our team since she joined her junior year. From Head of the Charles to the SRAA National Championship, she has been a boat mover for GPS Rowing. Her speed, leadership and personality will be missed."

GPS soccer coach Patrick Winecoff said of Priest, who's been instrumental in a five-year record of 60-16-8, "Samford University is getting a special player in Meg. She is a fierce competitor who can always be counted on to give her best effort. ... She has started as a forward, defender and center midfielder and has always worked hard."

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Samford assistant coach Josie Rix, a GPS graduate, said, "I find it pretty special to (have) another GPS student-athlete join our program at the next level. ... Her strength on the ball, high work rate and leadership of those around her are only a few of the impactful characteristics she will bring to this program."

Bruisers swimming coach Roger Dahlke noted Scruggs' 10 years in the McCallie/GPS club program and said the four-time GPS most valuable team member "has shown persistence, dedication, consistency and a great deal of hard work over the years."

Said Georgia Southern coach Amanda Caldwell: "Emma will step in and have an immediate impact in the pool for us in her backstroke events. Additionally ... we know she is a good fit for the culture we are building here at Georgia Southern."

Southern Illinois softball coach Kerri Blaylock said Warwick "has a sweet swing from the left side of the plate" and "is a fearless outfielder who will sacrifice her body to make a catch and embodies the type of player we love at SIU. She is hard-working, selfless and a great teammate."

GPS coach Susan Crownover said Warwick, who has a career batting average of .511 with 78 RBIs and 87 stolen bases in 87 tries, "She can track a softball and go get it as well as any player I have ever coached. She has great instincts and an accurate arm as well. At the plate, Liz can drive it in the gaps, hit for average and use her speed to beat out a bunt."

Of Whatley, president of the GPS Ambassadors, Crownover said, "Ari has been a force in our lineup since sixth grade. She has always been a power hitter, able to hit a ball out to all fields, and has been an RBI leader each year. Her ability to welcome new, young players to our program has been a great asset each season."

Said Howard coach Tori Tyson: "I am thrilled to have Ariana sign to our 2020 class. Beyond her athleticism, she is the epitome of the excellence it means to be a Bison."

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