TWO talented teenagers are swapping Preston Lodge High School for sporting scholarships on the other side of the world.
Carys Grieve and Imogen Woods will leave the Prestonpans secondary school this summer to follow their football and rugby dreams.
The scholarships will see the 17-year-olds combine their academic studies while playing the sport that they love.
Carys, who has played for Longniddry Villa and Musselburgh Windsor Girls, will be swapping Spartans for a move to Kansas and Garden City College.
The teenager will be studying nursing alongside her football career and was looking forward to the trip.
She said: “I have always wanted to go to the US for a scholarship but had never told my mum about it.
“It’s been on my bucket list and then one day randomly my mum sent me an advertisement about doing trials for Global Sports Recruitment.
“I decided to give it a go and see how it went. They are an agency that help you get scouted and get different scholarships.
“I went to Dublin to play football and do showcase events where the Americans come over here but, because of Covid, they have not been able to do it as much.”
However, Carys, who lives in Prestonpans, caught the eye of scouts and was offered the chance to head to Garden City, which is about 300 miles west of Kansas’ state capital Topeka.
The scholarship represents the latest step in a love of football.
She said: “My brother Ellis and my dad Graeme are really into their football.
“For as long as I can remember I have played football.
“I cannot remember a time where I did not play football – so all credit to my brother!”
Imogen, meanwhile, has been playing rugby since she was in primary six, even training with boys due to a lack sometimes of other girls playing the sport.
The prop will head to St Louis in Missouri in August, where she will attend Lindenwood University.
She said: “I’m nervous and excited. I’m going where I don’t know anybody and going over and sharing rooms with people and meeting new people.”
The S6 pupil, whose dad Roger and brothers Connor and Charlie have represented Preston Lodge High School on the rugby pitch, came across the potential scholarship after spotting a promotion online.
Imogen said: “A girl I trained with with Scotland came up on an Instagram story that I was looking at.
“I thought ‘I know her’ and recognised her and added her on social media.
“I asked what she was doing and she told me she was joining on a rugby scholarship soon.”
Imogen, who is studying biology, English, RE and for a youth achievement award at school, followed in her footsteps and looked into the chance to take up a scholarship.
Now, she is getting ready to head to Missouri for the first time, with coronavirus restrictions making it impossible for her to visit the university campus ahead of the summer.
Instead, she has had to be content with virtual tours of the university, where she will study criminology and criminal justice.
Staff at Preston Lodge High School were quick to offer their congratulations to the duo.
Gavin Clark, headteacher at Preston Lodge High School, said: “Imogen and Carys are great representatives of everything that PL stands for, not just in their sporting excellence but also in their positivity, determination and willingness to support others to improve.
“It is great that their efforts have resulted in such exciting pathways beyond school and we are all really delighted for them.
“We can’t wait to hear how they get on!”
Graeme Bennion, Active Schools co-ordinator, said: “Carys and Imogen have been young ambassadors at PL for three years.
“In doing this, they have not only promoted their sports but also helped other pupils in primary and secondary enjoy sports after school and by going to help at the cluster schools sports days.
“Both are elite sportswomen and going to America is the start of an exciting path for them outwith school. We are very proud of both and will follow their progress Stateside.”
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