PHOENIX — Xavier College Preparatory senior Marissa White is up before dawn on Thursday.
"I'm usually pretty tired when I get home," said White.
She's putting on her pads and lacing up her skates, ready to hit the ice at AZ Ice Arcadia by 6 a.m.
"I was a figure skater and my dad always wanted me to play hockey," said White.
She took the leap a year ago, trading in her figure skates for hockey skates.
Xavier, an all-girls Catholic high school didn't offer hockey. Brophy College Preparatory across the street, an all-boys school, did. She was invited to join their junior varsity team soon after expressing interest.
"It was a little intimidating at first. I was a little scared but once I got to know and meet the team, I fit right in," White said.
Her game has come a long way too. She was already a good skater but thanks to her coach and teammates, she has improved greatly in her puck handling, passing and knowledge of the rules.
"She's grown a lot, she's getting really good at scoring. In the last few games she's made good moves and got shots on the net," said teammate Cole Rassas.
But there's no mistaking her on the ice. White's teammates tower above her, something that doesn't go unnoticed by her biggest fan.
"I think that my mom worries about the hitting, getting hit a little bit, but she's warming up to it," said White with a laugh.
Marissa White's venture into the rink has sparked more interest from other girls at the school, something she says she'll always be proud of.
"We're excited for her to be a part of this team," said her coach, Ryan Ricci. "Growing the sport in general, not just with the boys but the girls has been a big priority for almost any hockey organization. Just try it. It's better to say you tried it rather than not, and the boys will be supportive and if they're not, that's their problem."