A Jaw-dropping 14-year-old Athlete
When I first received the information about 14-year-old Teshya Alo of Liliha, I was impressed. It’s always nice to hear about a local girl winning a national championship in her sport. But as I found out more about this freshman-to-be at Kamehameha, other words besides impressive came to mind – like amazing, fantastic, incredible and, frankly, jaw-dropping.
In a time span of just a couple of weeks this summer, Teshya won the girls wrestling national championships in North Dakota, beating many girls bigger and older and higher ranked than she in the process, including the defending national champion. Then, she went down to Texas and defended her own national age division championship in the sport of judo, and went on to win the next two larger division crowns above her at the Junior Olympics.
“They didn’t know I was only 14. They were shocked,” Teshya says.
Along the way, she was recognized by USA Wrestling as the Most Outstanding female wrestler in the nation in any group. And in judo, she finished undefeated in all three divisions and won the award for Best Technique.
“I love both sports. I don’t have a favorite,” she says. Her goal is simple – and she is very driven to attain it. “I want to be an Olympian in both sports.”
She will watch the 2012 games this month strongly believing that she will get her shot as early as four years from now. Based on what she’s accomplished already, with 41 national and international titles, it’s definitely possible. Her father, Leroy, a former wrestler at Kahuku High who also played some football at Kailua, saw her potential talent very early on.
“She and her sister (Teniya, now 12), wouldn’t play around like normal girls,” he says. “They would wrestle all the time and laugh. I just figured I would teach them some moves.”
Teshya started learning wrestling at age 6 and then judo at 7. At only 120 pounds, she now wrestles for Team Hawaii, as well as Kamehameha, where she won back-to-back ILH titles at the intermediate level the past two years. She has never lost a match in scholastic competition and looks forward to competing at the high school level this upcoming year.
In judo, she works out with her Pearl City Hongwanji Judo Club for sensei Chris Sokugawa.
“We practiced every day to get ready for the nationals,” she says. “I practice a lot.”
Over the past few years, she has competed locally, nationally and internationally in Korea, Panama and all over the U.S., including California, Washington, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Georgia, Utah, Idaho and other states. She wins everywhere – in both sports.
She has a secret to her winning ways.
“I train to be the best and I don’t give chances,” she says.
Not even to her younger sister? “No. She’s really good.”
In fact, both of Teshya’s younger siblings are very good. Teniya and 8-year-old brother Javen won their age groups in the Junior Olympics competition, too.
And in case you’re wondering if there is time for other things, well, Teshya and her brother and sister are also honor roll students.
“On the weekends, our family hangs out, we go to movies, the beach and go out with friends,” she says. “But only weekends.”
During the week, Teshya works hard. And she wins again and again and again. She is driven toward her amazing goal: “2016,” she says. “Nobody has ever done it in these two sports.”
Teshya Alo may be the first.