Hawaii’s Best Female Athlete?
Liliha’s amazing two-sport superstar keeps on getting better. I’ve written about Teshya Alo before, and it continues to amaze me just how good she is and just how far she is going with all of her talent. Get out the world atlas for this story.
In March, Alo placed first in the USA Judo Scholastic National Championship competition in Orlando, Fla., and thus became the youngest qualifier to earn a spot in the world tournament.
Then in May, the Kamehameha freshman won the national championship in wrestling’s extremely tough Cadet division (15-17 years old) at the Body Bar USA Women’s Wrestling Championships in Lakeland, Fla. After the meet, she was presented with the Most Outstanding Wrestler award by none other than Olympic medalist Clarrisa Chun.
The 15-year-old now holds 25 international or national championships, in addition to 21 national wrestling championship titles and two national championship titles in jiujitsu. With the wins this spring, she becomes the youngest female in history to qualify for two world teams in two different sports, and very likely the first to do it, too. She’s also the ILH and HHSAA state judo and wrestling champion in her weight class.
“We’re so proud of her,” say her parents Cherise and Leroy, who also are very proud of their other talented children. Teshya’s younger sister, 13-year-old Teniya, recently won her 20th national title in wrestling, and 9-year-old brother Javen is an upand-coming champion himself.
“They’re an amazing young family,” says good friend Judy Lind, who has set up a “Friends of Teshya” account at Bank of Hawaii to help the Alo family with all that travel. Teshya’s historic victories mean she will be going to world championships in two sports later this year in, of all places, Serbia and Slovenia. You’re probably saying to yourself: Could they be any farther away?
The wrestling cadet world championships are set for August in Zrenjanin, Serbia. That’s about 7,800 miles from Liliha. The judo junior world championships in October are in Ljublana, Slovenia. That’s a little bit closer, but not much, about 7,700 miles from Hawaii.
“I had to look on the map to see where they are,” Cherise says. (Eastern Europe is the easiest locater, in case you want to look up both locations on a world map.) “We figure it will cost more than $5,000 per trip (as both Teshya and Leroy, who serves as her coach, will have to go). We expect to refinance the mortgage again.”
The family says they’ve had so many people step up to help over the years. The list includes Pearl City Hongwonji Judo Club, Ku Lokahi Wrestling Club, Sports Medicine Hawaii, coach Dean Chung, Tactical Strength & Condition, and the 50th State Judo Association. “They’re all so important to keep her body at an optimum level,” Cherise says.
“I can’t imagine how any family can afford all of this, yet alone a family with three kids who are all champions and regularly going to Mainland competitions,” says Lind. “Imagine a poor kid from Hawaii becoming the first to represent the United State in two different sports?”
It is quite an amazing story, and no doubt the Alo family will work hard and continue to sacrifice and make it happen. Teshya and her dad will rack up some incredible mileage this year, and with the 2016 Olympics not too far off, there may be many more miles and many more championships to come. firstname.lastname@example.org