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Local Sports Hero

05 September 2013 Written by  Michelle Lassie
Published in July 2013 Articles

As the oldest child in her family, Bailey Reading had the unique experience of trying everything first without any older sibling’s shadows to follow in.

When it came time to experiment with sports and extracurricular activities, around four or five years old, Bailey’s first trial run resulted in success.

“My mom decided to sign me up for soccer,” Bailey said. “It was the first sport I tried, and it just clicked.” Bailey tried other sports as she got older, like swimming and basketball, but nothing lived up to the experience on the soccer field. She continued playing for the local league, eventually progressing to the club level.

Once Bailey began attending NorthCreek Academy in Walnut Creek she jumped at the opportunity to play on the school’s athletic teams. Naturally she tried out for the soccer and basketball teams. However, instead of simply sticking to the sports she was familiar with, Bailey decided to try adding a third one to the list her 8th grade year. “This year when softball came around, I said, ‘What the heck. I’ll try it,’” Bailey said. The Athletic Director Courtney Wade threw Bailey in at 3rd base. She played there for a while and then switched to shortstop, also dabbling in outfield positions. “Softball might be boring to watch, but when you’re actually playing, it’s fun to try and quickly throw the ball to get someone out,” Bailey said.

While she enjoyed her experience on the softball field, it wasn’t enough to make Bailey want to forfeit her favorites. “In basketball I like anticipating what’s going to happen because it’s intense and quick paced,” Bailey said. Her position as post helped her NorthCreek team take second place overall in their league. As a defensive player on the soccer field, Bailey is trained to prevent goals. However, when her coach really wanted to gain points, she released Bailey as a secret weapon in the forward position. “When we wanted goals, my coach put me up top because I made a lot of header goals,” Bailey said. “I have the defensive mindset, so I know how to maneuver around the defense when I’m on offense. It definitely helps.” She enjoys being moved up in a game and having the chance to score goals for her team to lead them to victory. “It’s cool having the ball and knowing what to do with it.” Her expertise and skills helped lead her NorthCreek team to first place in their tournament and tie for first in the league. Bailey’s contribution to her teams awarded her Most Inspirational last year in 7th grade for both basketball and soccer.

Bailey also managed to maintain straight A’s in the classroom, earning her spot on the distinguished honor roll all throughout junior high. “My grades are good, but sports come way easier to me,” Bailey said. “I’m just a natural athlete.” The combination of outstanding academics and extraor­dinary athletics nominated Bailey for female Athlete of the Year. “Our Athlete of the Year must play three sports the year they are selected, must have played more than one year at the school, and must have above a 3.0 GPA,” said Athletic Director Courtney Wade. “Three girls qualified, and Bailey was chosen.” The honorable recognition is based on the student’s ability to make a difference on the playing field. “Bailey was a dominant force in basketball by defensively shutting players down and by adding an offensive threat under the basket,” Courtney said. “On the soccer field she led her defense to only allow four goals in 12 games and also added many goals in the air through set plays.” Bailey proved to be a key component for every team she played on, helping NorthCreek Academy achieve their greatest athletic year in program history.

Bailey thanks her coaches, Courtney Wade and Breanna Lisle, for helping her achieve Athlete of the Year. “There are girls that are better than me on the teams, but I think that when I have something that will benefit the team, I’m not afraid to say it,” Bailey said. “I’m not afraid of saying what I believe in.” Bailey is confident that her decision to take her team leadership role seriously helped her win the prestigious award. “I think because I wasn’t a team captain on the soccer team, I had to strive to act like one because there were still 6th graders that looked up to us,” Bailey said. “We have to be role models.”

Now that she has promoted from junior high to high school, Bailey will be leaving the private school system and venturing out into public school. She will be attending Clayton Valley Charter High School, going from a class of 40 to a school of 2,000 students. “I want to go to a bigger school,” Bailey said. “Because I’m coming from a Christian school and I am a Christian, I’m looking forward to professing God’s word to other people.” Although it is a little intimidating, attending a larger school is something Bailey is determined to try. “If it doesn’t work out, I’ll know that I at least tried.” She does plan on trying out for the high school’s basketball and soccer teams. Her softball career, however, will be one left at the junior high level.

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