From the corner

Bailey Whitehead-Price attempts a corner kick against Ashe County at the start of the season.

BOONE — Bailey Whitehead-Price is an artist, be it with watercolors or on the soccer field.

While Whitehead-Price works with drawings or paintings in the classroom, her canvas is the pitch, where she plays forward on the right side of the field. Her brush or her drawing pencils is the soccer ball.

Whitehead-Price, who will play collegiately at Mars Hill next year, has scored two goals in three games this season. It is unclear when she’ll get back to the field since the COVID-19 outbreak caused the NCHSAA to suspend all prep events until April 6.

Whitehead-Price chose Mars Hill during the early signing period during the fall. She plans to study early education and will likely play right forward.

“I always liked the idea of a small school,” Whitehead-Price said. “I liked the community there and also their team was really welcoming. I like the coach there and it’s close to home. It’s a nice distance and it’s close to Asheville, so it was just a perfect fit.”

Mars Hill is struggling this season with a 2-13-1 record, but Whitehead-Price has faith that coach Jamey Newsome is bringing in enough talented players to turn the Lions’ fortunes around.

“This coach is doing a really good job of bringing in good players and starting a really good program,” Whitehead-Price said. “It’s definitely growing a lot and we will do a lot better soon.”

Watauga faces a similar situation. The Pioneers return several veteran players offensively, but is breaking in several younger players on defense. Watauga dominated Ashe County 9-0 in the first game of the season as the Pioneers’ offense controlled possession most of the game.

But Watauga has struggled against solid teams lately, falling 4-0 to West Forsyth and 7-1 to Reagan. It’s a new defense to get used to, but Whitehead-Price likes what she’s seen so far.

“It’s a lot different from last season,” Whitehead-Price said. “It’s the same group of girls since I came in as a freshman, so that’s a lot different. But, there is a lot of potential with our new defenders and they’re doing really well already. I think it’s especially good for them to be working with us with the transitioning, so I’m really excited and they have a lot of potential.”

Watauga’s offense includes teammates Shaelyn Sheaff, Andie Waugh, Emma Schneider and sophomore Lily Brown. Waugh, Schneider and Whitehead-Price are seniors, while Sheaff is a junior.

It’s that experience that Whitehead-Price said will carry the Pioneers — should they get to play again.

“We’ve played together since we were really little,” Whitehead-Price said. “Me, Andie and Emma have played together since we started playing club soccer when we were 11. We all work together and I think it’s how we play together year-round. There are a lot of talented girls on our team, so that works really well.”

Soccer is the only sport Whitehead-Price has played. She plays the sport all year, saying that the competitive nature of the sport keeps her going back to the pitch.

“I love the competition,” she said. “I’ve always loved the competition, and I love being with the team and being with the group that we are in. Working together is really fun and I love working towards a goal and sharing it with the team.”

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