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Forsyth Central honors 4 senior signees
Forsyth Central had four seniors sign Wednesday to extend their athletic careers into college. From left, Emma Kiser [Eastern Florida State College, volleyball], Jillian Bretz [Columbus State, basketball], Ashlee Rice [Texas Woman's University, wrestling] and Sarah Pipping [West Georgia, volleyball]. Photo by Derrick Richemond for the Forsyth County News

By Derrick Richemond

For the Forsyth County News

Forsyth Central had four seniors sign their National  Letters of Intent to continue their athletic careers on Wednesday.

Jillian Bretz signed with Columbus State University for basketball, Sarah Pipping signed with the University of West Georgia for volleyball, Emma Kiser signed with Eastern Florida State College for volleyball, and Ashlee Rice signed with Texas Woman's University for wrestling.

“Coach [Antonio] Wade was sending me out to college camps in the summer,” Bretz said. “Columbus State stood out the most to me. They got so close to my family and grew a connection with me. The coaching staff really seemed like he cares about his players. When I went to one of their practices, the team was honestly outstanding and told me everything honestly upfront. I really love the coaching and team’s atmosphere."

Wade expressed Bretz's work ethic, noting that “from day one, Jillian has come in and worked her butt off. She works hard, puts in the extra work to get in there, and does everything I asked of her. I can just imagine how hard she worked prior to that.” 

Central's girls basketball teams starts their season Saturday at Rockdale County.

Kiser and Pipping were volleyball head coach Brian Welsch's first-ever players to receive all-state recognition from the Georgia Volleyball Coaches Association. Both players  will compete this Saturday in the senior all-star game. 

Kiser and Pipping are responsible for more than 3,700 points scored in their careers at Central. 

“The two of these girls being on varsity since their freshmen year had the ability to make a huge impact on this program,” Welsch said 

“I’ve been in contact with West Georgia for a year," Pipping said. "Me and the coach instantly got along, and I got along with the team. They’ve been looking for power hitters, so she knew I was the right fit for the team. I like the way she coaches. The way she coaches and the way I play mesh together very well.” 

Pipping finished her career with more than 1,000 kills, 460 digs and 145 aces for Central. 

“Sarah has thrived in all aspects of athletics: the weight room, film room, practice, and games. She knows how to grind, and it paid off for her," Welsch said.

The COVID-19 pandemic made the recruitment process hard for Kiser, but she found her place at Eastern Florida State College. 

“My [volleyball] club coach was my college coach's brother, so I was able to get that connection,” Kiser said “I went on a visit and I loved the school. He offered me there. From there on, it's been a breeze.”

Welsch describes Kiser as a “gym rat." She finished her career with 258 aces, 170 blocks, and more than 800 digs. When she switched over from predominantly setting to a hitter, she accomplished over 800 kills. Lastly, she was recognized this year as Region 6-7A Co-Player of the Year. 

Ashlee Rice will be one of many athletes to wrestle for Texas Woman's University, which is the school's first intercollegiate women's wrestling program. 

“Ashlee is a very hard worker,” wrestling coach Kyle Barr said “ She shows up every day, gives everything she has, never holds anything back, and pushes herself to the limit. That is one of the great attributes she has.” 

Rice placed in state two years ago, but an injury set her back. “She pushed herself through that to give everything she got,” Barr said.