It hasn’t taken long for Brooklynn Crist to be at home on the ice.
A little over two years is all the Cloverleaf freshman needed to excel in the sport of sled hockey.
Crist was selected as a member of the U.S. Women’s Sled Hockey team, making her one of 15 players to make the cut from an August development camp held in Voorhees, N.J.
Not too shabby for one of the youngest players in a field that ranged from 14 to 65 years of age.
“It was intimidating, I’ll be honest,” Crist said. “It’s very intimidating to just look at how many girls have worked pretty much 12, 13 years, and I’m over here with two years. But that’s where my confidence kicks in. If you don’t have confidence, you’re not going anywhere in this world.”
That confidence not only helped Crist against the 35 other players at the camp, it also helped her overcome being born with a shortened femur in her left leg.
The setback has far from slowed the Lodi resident, as she’s had numerous athletic accomplishments, including winning the 100-meter seated event at the inaugural Ohio High School Athletic Association middle school state championship in May.
So when it came to getting through the five separate ice sessions — three drills and two scrimmages — Crist was ready.
“It means a lot,” Crist said of making the team. “It means that all of these woman have worked very hard to be here and without our home teams and anybody that’s helped us at the beginning of this, we wouldn’t be here.
“I had confidence. I knew I worked as hard as a I could to get to this point and I knew the other women did, too, But I had a lot of confidence in myself and I think that’s what it all comes down to.”
To advance, Crist, a forward who plays locally for the Wooster Wildcats, used the same thing that helped her take the state track title last spring.
“I’ve always been pretty fast, from Day 1, so I was confident in my speed,” she said. “It helps a lot. This is a fast-paced sport. So if you’re not fast, you’re all the way at the other goal and the puck is passing you back and forth, back and forth.”
Crist will get ready for a six-tournament schedule where she will be traveling across the country, starting with an event in Madison, Wis.
While the idea of playing at the sport’s highest level is challenging enough, the local also is learning how to juggle her life off the ice.
“The challenges would be just trying to balance more and to fit in,” Crist said. “I need to make sure I’m up with the team and keeping my grades up.
“In middle school it wasn’t too bad (to balance it all), but now that I’m in high school I think it will be a little harder. I think I’ll be able to do it, though.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.