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Softball - Mon. Jan. 07, 2013

MONTGOMERY, Ala. ---- The Auburn Montgomery softball program and Head Coach Chris Steiner-Wilcoxson are pleased to announce the signings of Claire Wilson and Reese Byrnes for the 2014 season.

Wilson comes to AUM from Towns County High School in Hiawassee, Georgia. She is the first player in Towns County history to sign a softball scholarship.

A four-year player for the Indians, Wilson finished last season with a .465 batting average, .535 on-base percentage, a school-record five home runs, 22 RBI, 30 runs scored and a .767 slugging percentage. She was a three-time First-Team All-Region performer, and received the Wendy's High School Heisman award in 2012. Her eight career home runs are also a school record.

"As soon as I stepped foot on the AUM softball field I felt the ‘this is the place for me' feeling," Wilson said. "The girls I met were great and the coaching staff is amazing. I feel that AUM is the place where I can enhance my softball skills the most and get the best college softball experience."

Wilson also excelled academically at Towns County. She has made the honor roll all four years, was a 2011 CNN Leadership Unplugged Scholar and a 2012 University of Georgia Merit Scholar. She had the third-highest grade-point average in her class in 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12. The daughter of Brad and Aundrea Wilson, she plans to major in communications with a journalism focus at AUM.

Byrnes currently attends Manatee High School in Bradenton, Florida. She hit .406 for the Hurricanes last year, stealing 23 bases on 24 attempts. Byrnes added five doubles and two triples to go along with a .447 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage. She was named the school's Outstanding Player of the Year in 2012, and was also given the same award as a freshman in 2010.

The Sarasota Herald Tribune and Bradenton Herald both named Byrnes to their 2012 All-Area First Teams. She also lettered in weightlifting last season. Academically, she received the President's Education Award in 2009 for outstanding academic achievement. The daughter of James and Margaret Byrnes, she plans to major in communications at AUM.

"I chose AUM because I loved the atmosphere and the city of Montgomery," Byrnes said.

The Warhawks, ranked eighth nationally in the NAIA Preseason Top 25 poll, begin the 2013 season on February 17 with a home doubleheader against Thomas University.