Kaylee Eckelman – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- LRHS freshman Payton Jenkins has scored a spot on a nationally competing ice hockey team in the Tampa Bay Lightning Elite development program.

payton jenkins hockey
LRHS freshman Payton Jenkins hits the ice.

Jenkins recently tried out for the team that will compete at the Notre Dame University stadium in this week in Indiana.

“The tryouts were really hard and competitive,” Jenkins said. “They consisted of kids all from different kind of teams competing for a chance to be on the team. Only 12 made it.”

Though tryouts were difficult, Jenkins was able to seal a spot on the nationally competing team.

Getting a good chemistry between players can be essential for a team in any sport and can be the difference between a win and a loss.

“Some of the players will have chemistry because they have played with each other previously, though for the whole team, probably not too much,” Jenkins said. “Everybody’s a pretty good player so we will be able to eventually get a chemistry to start flowing.”

Jenkins is taking this competition as a learning opportunity for later games and tournaments.

“It’s going to be a good experience. It will definitely be good for learning since hockey is a little more elite up North. The people we are going to be playing with are higher, skill wise,” Jenkins said. “It will be good for when I come back here,  because I would have learned things that I hadn’t learned down here.”

Though a win is not guaranteed, Jenkins is happy to be able to compete and will use this opportunity as a learning experience to become a better hockey player.

“Win or lose, it will definitely benefit us as a team and as individual players.”

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