World Champs still major focus

Whangarei's Jacinta Matson has not only high school exams to focus on, but also holding her spot in the New Zealand junior squash squad ahead of team selection next year.

Matson, 17, admits selection will be hard because the squad of 10 will be trimmed to four in May before the team head to the world junior championships in Poland

"There's like three people at the top who are quite a way ahead but everyone else is so close. It's going to be tough to get in."

However, Matson believes the challenge has been a positive influence on her squash and as a result, has been putting in the extra yards to get ahead of the other girls.

"It gives me something to train for. If I didn't get this opportunity I wouldn't have stayed in squash and since they named me in the squad at the end of last year I've been going really hard."

On top of compulsory training camps set by Squash New Zealand, Matson undertakes three conditioning sessions a week and two gym sessions

The Whangarei Girls' High School student has had a successful year on the court after winning the Northland and New Zealand Secondary School B grade divisions, with the latter earning Matson a spot in the New Zealand Secondary School Tournament Team which competed against Australian state secondary school teams.

Before the world junior team is named, Matson must first defend her fifth place under 17 national junior ranking at the Wellington, Waikato and New Zealand junior opens in the coming months.