Winona-Jo Joyce: Our Hawkes Bay Squash Star
Winona-Jo Joyce is one of Hawkes Bay’s Sports Stars. At 18, she's already enjoying her third year in the New Zealand Junior Elite Squad. In 2018 she travelled to India with the squad for the World Junior Individual Squash Championships in Chennai.
In November and December this year she will be traveling to Canada and the USA for the Junior Opens. With a few brilliant international wins, Winona-Jo has good hopes to be selected for the adult squad as she turns 19 next March.
Like many athletes, Winona-Jo's passion began within her own family:
“My cousin is a really talented squash player. He inspired me to start during a family visit and, as an encouragement, shared some of his sponsored gear. I was 11 and liked it instantly. I feel very lucky to have received so much support.”
Winona-Jo joined the Havelock North Squash Club in 2012, when her family moved to the area. She achieved her A Grade status in 2016, ending a 20-year gap for Hawke’s Bay. This is where she met Gay Monteith and Colin Tutchen from Focus Health Physiotherapy.
“Focus Health have been very good to me. They have treated my injuries, educated me on injury prevention and have been generous with my fundraising efforts”.
So what does an already successful 18 year old dream of for the future?
“I’ve just finished High School and am looking at an Engineering Degree. There also may be an opportunity to study in the USA on a squash scholarship.” she says. “I’ve taken a gap year to give me time to think. All my friends have moved on to other places to study, but it's a good time to reflect. I’ll keep playing squash and see how far I can take it.”
Winona's fitness tip:
“Squash is a physical game so I need to be fit, flexible and strong.
I go for a longer run in the summer and focus on sharper, faster training in the winter. I also do a circuit of resistance training for strength and stretches for flexibility.”