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"Not that I have to make everybody proud, but I want to :" Greensboro softball player becomes 1st NC native to play for Duke

Mariah Headen plays softball for Western Guilford High School. She's a pitcher.

GREENSBORO, Ala. — November 11, 2020 was a special day for Mariah Headen. The Western Guilford softball player signed to play for Duke softball. She is one of seven girls a part of the 2021 signing class. According to Extra Innings Softball, Duke is the fourth-ranked 2021 signing class in the country.

“At first, it didn’t feel real," said Mariah Headen, who signed to play softball for Duke. “It’s great. I want to set records."

She already set one. 

“I'm going to be the first person from North Carolina to wear a Duke jersey," said Mariah. "Not that I have to make everybody proud, but I want to.”

Mariah is a pitcher. She's been playing softball since she was 8-years-old. She went to camps at UNC where she met Coach Marissa Young. When Young got the job at Duke 5 years ago, Mariah follwoed.

“I instantly fell in love with Duke," said Mariah. "My family was die hard Carolina fans, so it was hard.”

Even though she will wear a different shade of blue, mom said the family will too. 

“Just really proud of her," said Hillary Headen, who is Mariah's mom. "Family means everything. We’ll support each other any way we can to be successful.”

“I want to make a name for not only myself, but for Greensboro, for North Carolina," said Mariah. 

Mariah plans to attend Duke in the fall of 2021. Along with playing softball, she plans to study to become a dermatologist.