World championship selection came a year earlier than expected but Hawke's Bay squash player Winona-Jo Joyce isn't complaining.
"Normally New Zealand doesn't send six female players when it's the men's teams year but this year we will. Hopefully I play well enough in India so I get selected for next year's world championships in Malaysia," Joyce said as she reflected on her selection for the July 18-23 world junior individual championships in Chennai, India.
The 17-year-old Havelock North club A2 grader is the fourth seeded Kiwi female and the top ranked of three development players.
"I have no idea of where I will be seeded when I get over there. This will be my first major tournament so it will be interesting. All I can do is play the best I can and see where I end up," Joyce said.
The New Zealand contingent departs on July 13 and the weekend before Joyce will compete in the North Island junior championships in Wellington. Last year Joyce won the North Island under-17 title as well as the South Island under-17 and under-19 titles and in Wellington she will tackle the under-19 age group.
"I won't get the chance to try and retain my South Island under-19 title because the South Island champs will be on when we are travelling to India," Joyce explained.
From June 15-17 tenacious left hander Joyce and her New Zealand teammates will play in the national senior championships at the Henderson club in Auckland.
"If I can make the top half of the open draw I'll be happy. That would be a good rehearsal for India," Joyce said.
The Tecnifibre-Focus Health Havelock North-sponsored Joyce had produced some admirable results at recent tournaments. She had a top eight finish at the Waikato Open, a fourth placing at the New Zealand Junior Open in Invercargill and a third placing at the Auckland Junior Open which was the last selection tournament for the New Zealand team.
Central Districts Kaitlyn Watts and Waikato's Anika Jackson, who are seeded one and two respectively in the New Zealand team, will also be eligible for the junior worlds next year. Watts recently reached the final of the women's PSA Classic in Auckland.
Joyce, who is coached by fellow leftie, Hawke's Bay A grader Cameron Jamieson, is no stranger to success on the international stage. In January she won the Oceania under-17 title in Brisbane.
In 2015 Joyce was unbeaten in singles and doubles play when representing the New Zealand Secondary Schools Junior team against their Australian counterparts in Sydney. It was after this event when the relation of former world No 1 Leilani Joyce realised selections like her latest one could become a reality if she did the necessary work.
Among her other highlights on the national scene are consecutive national champion of champions B grade title wins in 2015 and 2016 and helping the Hastings club's B grade women's side win their national teams tournament in 2016.
The Hastings Girls' High School year 13 student has yet to decide which part of the country she will move to for tertiary education next year.
"I'm too busy focusing on trying to fit my level three studies around all my squash commitments."
Last night she was conducting another one of her weekly coaching clinics at the Havelock North club.
"I've got some much out of the game through the club I like to give back to the club. I've got to thank all my clubmates as well as Mum and Dad for all the work they have put in to getting me this far," Joyce said.
The New Zealand team which will be coached by Bay of Plenty's Robbie Wyatt and Waikato's Phil Buscke is:
Kaitlyn Watts (Central Districts), Anika Jackson (Waikato), Courtney Trail (Central Districts), Winona-Jo Joyce (Development, Eastern), Annaliese Faint (Development, Central Districts), Georgia Robcke (Development, Waikato). Non travelling reserve: Diya Joukani (Auckland).