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ABC 27's Scholar Athlete of the Week: Chiles' Jackson Sytsma

Posted at 11:26 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 23:26:04-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — For Chiles senior Jackson Sytsma, playing lacrosse was never in his plans.

"Thursday math class, there was a tournament on the weekend," he reflected. "I just went down to Orlando, watched videos on how to play the game. I couldn't pick up the ball so I just kicked it around."

One tournament on a whim became a sport he fell in love with.

"24/7 energy. Running around whacking each other with sticks," he laughed. "I love it."

It's turned into a college scholarship. Sytsma will play for Florida Tech next season.

"It's not a quick sport to take up at all," said assistant coach Chris Anders. "You really have to put in a lot of extra work on your own outside of practice which is something we harp on all the time is practice outside of practice. He took that to heart."

Hard work that he also puts in in the classroom. Sytsma has a 4.1 GPA.

"It just shows how much he works and proves to everybody else that you really have enough time in a day to practice sports, to be great at school, to do all these things you want to be able to do to get to where you want to go," said Anders.

"Grinding I love it. I love it so much," says Sytsma of his work ethic. "Coming out here, grinding for three hours, going home and grinding my homework, my school work and just repeat."

A grind he's embraced, and one he'll miss at Chiles High School.

"They'll probably remember me for being super hard on them," he said of his teammates. "I wanted this team to go super far. I was always up their necks 24/7. I couldn't be more grateful for them."

Grateful for Chiles, and a math class, that's shaped his future. Sytsma said he plans on majoring in Construction Management.