The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California

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Athlete of the Month: Joy Dong

Ashley Anderson, Editor-In-Chief

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Perhaps you have seen Joy Dong shooting goals for the Wilcox girls’ soccer team during the winter months. Maybe you have seen her jogging around Santa Clara during the cross country season, or running in long-distance track events in the spring. You might have even seen her training during her off season to stay fit, constantly pushing herself to be the best athlete she can be. Joy Dong, a senior, is known for her athletic talent and unwavering determination in the Wilcox community.

Joy began playing soccer when she was in second grade, and she later found a passion for volleyball and running as well. Not only does she love the competition and excitement of sports, but she also appreciates the skills she has developed over the years. She commented, “It has taught me so many lessons that I can’t possibly experience in the classroom. For example, soccer is a sport that requires you to communicate and essentially yell on the field, and I think playing all these years of soccer has made me more confident and open.”

Joy has also taken on leadership positions in her sports teams. She was the JV captain of the soccer team her sophomore year and cross country co-captain her senior year. She is currently also co-captain for the track & field team. Joy has utilized her position as captain to create a positive, encouraging environment for her teammates. “Your actions carry much more weight when you are captain, as with any leadership position, but that also means that what you do has that much more meaning. I tried taking advantage of this by reaching out to those I didn’t know as well and helping them feel welcome,” she said.

Mina Cvjetinovic, who also plays for the soccer team and runs for the cross country and track teams at Wilcox, enjoys being Joy’s teammate and friend. She is inspired by Joy’s determination, leadership, and friendliness. When asked about her fellow athlete, Mina said, “Whether running cross country or track or fighting for the ball in soccer, Joy is passionate and always lightens the mood. She is quick to encourage and laugh. She may be quiet at times but she always has something positive to say—to everyone.”

Joy’s proudest athletic moment took place her junior year at the end of the cross country season. The girls’ varsity team trained hard with the goal of qualifying for CCS, and at the final league meet, that goal was achieved. Not only did Joy qualify individually, but she also qualified with her team. “The first year was extremely memorable because everyone on the team trained super hard that year… I had a really good race at league finals, running a PR. I knew that I had already qualified for CCS as an individual but really hoped that we had qualified as a team. When Coach told me that we were 5 whole minutes under the cut, I remember looking at a fellow teammate from across the tarp and jumping and screaming with so much pure happiness,” she said.

However, Joy has not achieved her athletic accomplishments without some injuries and health issues. For example, she sprained her ankle in seventh grade, and after making the mistake of trying to play again after a week of recovery, it became a fracture. This taught Joy the valuable lesson of patience when it comes to sports injuries. “[A sports injury] teaches you to be patient because sometimes, things are out of your control, and to change what you can and accept what you can’t is the best you can do for yourself,” she said.

In school, Joy’s favorite subject is math. She is also on Senior Council, and she is an officer for Interact, Red Cross, and Active Teens Against Cancer. Joy plans to continue playing sports after high school, in college and beyond.

Joy advises student athletes work hard and stay determined. “The first day you’ll be super sore, but if you wake up, push through, and do it again for a second day, that’s what makes you stronger. Before you know it you’ll be running every day!” She advises. Joy serves as a model athlete, student, and person overall for the Wilcox community.

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The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California
Athlete of the Month: Joy Dong