Juniors Grove, Stoughton use hockey to enhance Lacrosse, Figure Skating skills

Abby Miller | Staff Writer

Despite the physical nature of Ice Hockey, Juniors Mikal Stoughton and Sara Grove still choose to play because of the valuable skills that hockey has to offer.

Multi-sport athletes are fairly common at Mason High School. It’s not all that uncommon to see football players also suit up for the baseball team or girls soccer players hit the basketball court when winter sports season rolls around. 

However, there are two athletes who are taking a unique route to being multi sport athletes. 

Juniors Mikal Southgton and Sara Grove are playing the rough male dominated sport of ice hockey in hopes that they skills they acquire on the ice will help improve in their primary sport. 

Stoughton has figure skated since she was little, but was approached to try hockey last year. Stoughton said she was a little nervous to try out the new sport, but her background in skating helped make the transition smooth and allowed her to fully enjoy all that hockey has to offer. 

“You can’t get the puck in hockey unless you know how to skate and that was the majority of what I knew,” Stoughton said. “Everything in figure skating was basically footwork so I had the footwork to be able to go get the puck because of skating.” 

For Stoughton, team camaraderie is clear for her to see through the accepting atmosphere and team culture, but also through the competitive nature and natural bonding of a team sport. Stoughton said she appreciates the toughness in hockey and the opportunities to play hard with her teammates. 

“I love that hockey is a team sport, I’ve never been able to be on a team with anybody,” Stoughton said. “I did do synchronized skating when I was younger, but it was nothing similar to hockey – for hockey there’s a game plan. It’s so different because it’s so physical. It’s nice to be able to take the puck and run with the sport.”

Stoughton isn’t alone in using hockey to build her skills for her favorite sport. Grove is a goalie for the women’s lacrosse team, as well as a member of the hockey team this year. 

Grove was approached by a teammate to play hockey this year, and said she had always wanted to try hockey out, and this was the perfect opportunity to give it a shot. 

Grove said the connection between hockey and lacrosse was obvious for her, and she can see how hockey aided her through multiple aspects within lacrosse.

“Hockey helps a lot with reaction time because the puck moves a little bit faster than the ball does in lacrosse, and it’s a little bit harder to see with everyone’s skates and sticks so it helps me focus on the puck, which teaches me and helps me focus on the lacrosse ball,” Grove said. “I’m a goalie for lacrosse so it helps me with focus and reaction time as well. And in conditioning, it helps me get my speed up, especially with the colder air in hockey, I feel like I can last a lot longer doing sprints for lacrosse.”

Joining a completely new sport after little previous experience isn’t easy for any athlete, 

but Grove said that because of the nature of the hockey team and the connections with her teammates, the transition was an easy one. Grove said that she wouldn’t change her decision to play hockey for anything, and it’s the perfect way for her to enhance her lacrosse skills, while also having fun and being part of a team on the ice. 

“For me, as a new player coming in, the team has been really supportive and accepting,” Grove said. “I had wanted to play hockey since I was really little, but knowing that it helps me with lacrosse too, it really gives me the best of both worlds.” 

Photo by Mia Sweitzer.