GPS's Haley Smith Signs With Tennessee Tech

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - by special report
Haley Smith
Haley Smith
Haley Smith is accustomed to hitting home runs. In fact, at last year’s state tournament, she hit three for the Bruisers to tie the state home run record. Her skills with the bat definitely got her noticed, and now she’s celebrating her accomplishments by signing to play for Tennessee Tech (Cookeville, Tennessee) next fall—achieving the ultimate home run she set her mind to years ago, to play NCAA Division I softball.
"We are incredibly proud of Haley for all the time and effort she has invested to play softball at the college level,” says Jay Watts, GPS Athletic Director.
“I know that our coaches at GPS have prepared her well for this next step in her career. I look forward to seeing her shine on the softball diamond for us this spring."
Head Varsity Softball Coach Susan Crownover has seen Haley develop from a middle school hustler to a leader on the team. “Haley has been a starter on the varsity softball team since eighth grade,” Crownover says. “She is an outstanding softball player who can play several different positions, which is invaluable to every team she is on. Most recently, at GPS, Haley has been playing catcher, doing an outstanding job with our pitchers and running our infield.”  
As a utility player, Smith plays any position on the field except pitcher. Given a choice, she prefers the outfield. “But the main reason I was recruited was for my hitting,” she says.  
She credits her success to her GPS coaches, Crownover and Ginger Sillery. “Coach Crownover has always mirrored the style of a college coach,” Smith says. “She pushes me beyond what most coaches do and continues to help me improve.” Sillery works with Smith on her hitting. “Coach Sillery helps me train to the level I will in college,” Smith adds. “She knows what I’m capable of.”

Smith plans to study physical therapy or nursing in college. “Mrs. (Erin Davis) Sizemore is one of my favorite teachers,” Smith says. “I’ve had her for three years, and she’s influenced me a lot. She makes the subjects she teaches very interesting.” Sizemore is a science teacher at GPS and dean of the senior class.
Smith is eager to become a Golden Eagle and play for an NCAA Division I university. “I looked at other schools, but really liked Tennessee Tech,” she says. “It’s a big school but not huge.”

But before she heads off to college, she has one more goal in sight: Winning state this year with her Bruiser teammates after finishing second place last year. “I really think we’ll win,” she adds.
“Ever since Haley arrived at GPS in middle school, she has worked to realize her dream of earning a college scholarship to a Division I school,” Crownover says. “She has shown great heart, desire, and commitment in order to achieve her goal, and it’s great to see her sign with Tennessee Tech.”

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