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Female wrestlers shine at Stevens

Paige Denke and Celeste Katcheak joined Raiders for senior year
Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 7:33 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A pair of standout female wrestlers joined the Stevens High School wrestling team for their senior season.

High School girls wrestling became a sanctioned sport in South Dakota this year. Paige Denke moved from Chadron to wrestle for Stevens. Celeste Katcheak joined the Raiders all the way from Alaska.

Katcheak and Denke have picked up more than their share of victories against the boys.

“The first time I beat a boy I was excited,” Denke said. “A little bit surprised honestly.

Denke eventually got used to squaring up against guys to the point she expected to beat them. Last year at the Nebraska Boys State Wrestling Tournament she went 1-2.

Paige Denke moved from Chadron to wrestle for Stevens.
Paige Denke moved from Chadron to wrestle for Stevens.(KOTA/KEVN)

Katcheak also felt surprised when she beat a boy.

“The first time I beat a boy I was surprised because he was a really good boy in my region and I didn’t expect it,” Katcheak said. “And then I started believing in myself more wrestling wise and it got easier for me as the tournaments came and came.”

Denke is headed down to Georgia to wrestle for Life University.

“They are amazing, they’ve taken me onto the team and already made me a part of the family. I’m looking to be a multiple-time All-American and national champ and also qualify for the world or Olympic team,” Denke said.

Katcheak will wrestle in college at Jamestown, North Dakota.

“You should keep going and never give up,” Katcheak said. “Always give your best, it’s going to get easier for both you and school. and I think trying your best will help not only with school and wrestling but it will help with life.”

The Raiders’ talented duo has had great experiences on the mat. They recommend younger girls who are interested in wrestling to pursue it.

“I would say if you are just starting, stick with it, Denke said. “My freshman year I went through it all. I wrestled boys who were three- and four-time state champs. Yeah, it was tough, you get beat up a lot. You get dropped on your head, but if you stick with it it can be really uplifting to just think about how far you’ve come.”

Celeste Katcheak joined the Raiders all the way from Alaska.
Celeste Katcheak joined the Raiders all the way from Alaska.(KOTA/KEVN)

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