Pitcher plans to continue playing at St. Norbert

By Jason Arndt
Staff Writer

Christina Paleka

Christina Paleka, of Catholic Central High School, was one of the top pitchers in the Metro Classic Conference last season and earned first team All-Conference.

Paleka fanned 117 hitters to finish third overall among MCC pitchers, according to WisSports.net, and was recently named a Division 4/5 Senior All-Star by the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association alongside Hilltoppers teammate Izzy Phillips.

While she is grateful for the recognition, Paleka said there are many more team highlights, including a non-conference meeting against Division 1 Kenosha Tremper as a sophomore.

“The biggest team highlight would have to be when we defeated Tremper my sophomore year because it showed that we were good enough to compete against high level competition despite coming from a small school,” she said. “It was awesome to prove our strength and share that moment with my teammates.”

Paleka said team chemistry was a key strength for the Hilltoppers during her high school career.

“What I love most about my team at Catholic Central was our chemistry. We never had any animosity towards one another,” she said. “We always had each other’s back, which was refreshing and helped us succeed in many of our games.”

Looking back
Paleka will miss many people in the Catholic Central softball program, including connections with coaches and teammates.

“Growing up, I took pitching lessons from both Ted Shellberg and Bill Greskiw who previously coached the team my freshman and sophomore year,” she said. “I’ve know them for so long that they are practically family to me. By the time I got into high school, I was ecstatic to finally be part of the team.”

The two coaches, she said, offered unconditional support and the tradition was later passed onto current head coach Steve Kirst and assistant coach Carol Robers.

“They have supported me through thick and thin and I don’t know where I would be without them. Coach Carol has been my number one supporter since the first day I met her. I can always share a laugh with her and come to her when I’m feeling down,” she said. “She cares about each and every girl and pours her heart into making the team the best it can be.”

Paleka, meanwhile, credits Kirst for entrusting her as a team leader and giving her opportunities to succeed as a player.

“He always allowed me opportunities to get in extra work during the offseason and has put his full trust in me as a player, which is crucial when taking on a leading position as an upperclassman and captain. I am so thankful for the effort he has put into our team,” she said.

Program gratitude
Paleka found spring as her favorite season because it allowed her to play with her friends and teammates.

“High school softball season was my favorite part of each year. Although I will miss getting to play my favorite sports with my best friends, I am grateful for all the times we spent with one another,” she said.

Paleka, who has played softball for about 12 years, will continue her career at St. Norbert College.

She remains undecided on a major, but is “excited for what will come in the future.”