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Zeeland East player makes school history as first female kicker

This 15-year-old sophomore is the first girl to ever play for the Chix football team.

ZEELAND, Mich. — Paige Westra has never been afraid to try new things. When she was ten, she kicked a football for the first time, and from that moment, she knew exactly what she wanted to do.

“I’ve known I wanted to play for a while,” said Westra. “It sounded like a fun idea.”

Fun but still dangerous. Her mom wasn’t all that excited about her joining a team and playing with all boys. Eventually, the 15-year-old Zeeland East sophomore wore her mother down.

“I just kept bugging her and bugging her,” she admitted. “I told her I asked the coach, so she was like, ‘Oh fine!’

Paige knew what she getting into. Her older brothers both played for Zeeland East, so the idea of being alongside a team of guys did not phase her.

“They’re kind of like all brothers to me,” she explained. “It was kind of a cool atmosphere.”

Paige admits, it was kind of awkward when she first joined the Chix. However when she started knocking down field goals, everything changed.

"She is a competitor and she has a tough exterior,” said Zeeland East head coach Derek Pennington. “Ultimately, she is a good kicker and that’s what is important. It’s not important that she is a girl."

Maybe, but it is still worth mentioning Paige is the only girl to ever play for the Zeeland East football team. She hopes now other girls will follow her lead.

“You can try whatever you put your mind to,” she says. “It doesn’t matter who you are.”

Spoken like a true winner, who is just as good at knocking down barriers as she is knocking down field goals.


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