December 18, 2020 – By NJP

The Hudson Catholic Hawks were once again expected to be at the very top of Hudson County and a top ten team in NJ according to NJP’s pre-season rankings done this past summer. But with Colonia transfer Sophia Wintonick now coming to Bergen Avenue in Jersey City each day, the Hawks could be a top 3.

Sophia is (we will coin a new phrase here) a “dig artist”. She is double digits short of 1,000 digs through here first three seasons and put up over 400 last season for Colonia as a junior on a team that went 29-4. Sophia is light on her feet and moves across the court with speed and agility. Being a dig artist comes with some other adjectives that describe her efforts on the court… grace, passion, energy, and heart. All the characteristics of being an amazing leader as well.

Her sister, Angelina, was her back row partner last season and has gone on to play volleyball st St. Francis in Brooklyn. And Sophia has chosen to commit to Bloomfield College to play D2 volleyball for the Bears.

Despite a pandemic, a lockdown, virtual school, and many other challenges, Sophia is finding a way to bring light to herself and her family. At a time when our NJ High School seniors are normally enjoying their final year of high school and preparing for the best years of their lives, Sophia is keeping the hope and persevering through the uncertainty, like great leaders normally do…

Here is our interview with Ms. Wintonick…

Tell us a bit about yourself, Sophia?

My name is Sophia Wintonick. I am a Senior at Hudson Catholic Regional High School. I transferred from Colonia High School to Hudson Catholic for my Senior year. I am part of the graduating class of 2021. I live in Colonia, New Jersey. I am the youngest daughter of my parents, Chris and Laurie Wintonick. My older and only sister is Angelina Wintonick. Angelina attends St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York. I also have a very cute Yorkshire Terrier named Cami. I have played volleyball since I was in 2nd grade, and I absolutely fell in love with the sport.

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Tell us about your experience at SureShots?

My experience with SureShots has been extraordinary. SureShots is a family orientated club and is always willing to dedicate their time and energy to make volleyball fun and competitive. My first year of being at SureShots was about 2 years ago. The heart and passion on that team was exhilarating, and with that we ended up winning the NorthEast Qualifier, going undefeated 10-0. It was such an amazing feeling, and knowing we had worked so hard for it made it so much better. Sadly, last years season and this years season have been cut short, and I am sad that I did not get to finish out strong. I am hoping GEVA finds a way to let us play, especially since it is my last year.

Did this experience influence your decision to transfer to Hudson Catholic?

My experience with SureShots was a factor in my decision of transferring to Hudson Catholic. Knowing that the family oriented team and organization was also in Hudson, it helped a lot with transferring. My main reason for transferring to Hudson Catholic was because the school has an ACE program with Saint Peter’s University, which means I am able to take college classes my senior year. Having this was a huge deal for me because I wanted to get a head start on college and also to get a feel of what college classes are like.

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What were the influencing factors in you choosing Bloomfield College as your choice to continue your academic and athletic career?

The influencing factors in choosing Bloomfield College are pretty simple. I realized with Covid-19, I did not want to be far apart from my family. Being close to them was very important because I am far enough that I can have my own college experience, but close enough that if something were to happen I could be there in less then a hour. Another factor was the school overall, I felt as if I just belonged there and felt very comfortable with the surrounding area.

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What do you plan to study and what is your career goal?

I am planning on studying Psychology. My career goal is to hopefully become a Criminal Psychologist. I am also planning to be a Photographer for events, such as sporting events or weddings.

Tell us about your sister Angelina’s influence on your volleyball career. Did you consider joining her at St. Francis Brooklyn?

My sister and I started to play volleyball right around 2nd and 3rd grade. Ever since then she has been the person I look up to when on and off the court. We played on the same team in club for 3 years, and played 3 years in high school as well. There were times we did not get along, and others where all we could do was cry and hug each other. Angelina has continued to motivate me along the way, and has helped me continue to better myself as a person and as a player. I did consider at one point joining her in St. Francis College, but I decided we both needed to go our separate ways. We were always “The twins” (even though we are 18 months apart in age), and we both needed to become our own person in volleyball. I would love for one more chance to step on the court with her, but we both need to shine on our own.

You were dominant on the back row last year putting up over 400 digs as a junior. You must have been heavily recruited from many other schools. What was that experience like and what takeaways did you receive that can help current high school juniors and seniors considering playing in college?

To be completely honest, recruiting this year was the hardest thing anyone could’ve ever done. Because of Covid-19, the majority of my Club season was cut short, so it was hard sending out film. With the NCAA giving players the extra year of eligibility, most Coaches were answering me, letting me know they were not going to add onto their roster for this year. I wish things had been different, but I am very happy with where I ended up. One of my biggest takeaways with playing or just attending a college is making sure you get your GPA up. Getting into college is a great accomplishment, but the better your grades are the more you can get out of it.

Who is your support group?

My support group is definitely my family. They have been there for me the entire way, never once hesitating to help me out. My parents put their all into me and my sister, trying to give us what we need to succeed in our lives. Another huge supporter would have to be my boyfriend, Chris Waldron. No matter if I have a bad game, or I play amazing, he is always their to cheer me up and make me smile. Having my family and Chris in my life to support and guide me along the way has helped more then they will ever know.

Tell us about your Hawk teammates. How do you think the team will play this year?

I think this years team is going to be unstoppable. It is a pretty young team, we have 4 seniors, including myself, graduating this year. Over the summer we had been doing workouts, and the team chemistry and passion was so exciting to see. This year, we have a lot of players who can play different positions, switching from a Libero/Defensive Specialist to a Hitter, or a Hitter to a Setter. The teams versatility is a huge part of who we are, using our different skills and specialities to dominate. I think we can really do a lot of damage this year, and hopefully come out of this pandemic with a ring on our finger.

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