A Summer Look At Amazing Athletes

Wrestler Teshya Alo in her judo gi. Making Waves Films LLC photo

Wrestler Teshya Alo in her judo gi. Making Waves Films LLC photo

It’s always fun each summer to follow up on how some of our previously featured athletes are doing. Many athletes head off to tournaments and championships on the Mainland or around the world.

Case in point, the amazing Teshya Alo of Liliha, whom we have showcased several times in this column (2012 and 2013) as she’s continued to grow and succeed. The 16-year-old wrestling sensation, who is already a two-time state high school champion from Kamehameha, did it again this summer. She won her third straight national title at the ASICS/Vaughn Junior & Cadet National Championships this past week in Fargo, N.D. Alo also was named the Outstanding Wrestler of an event that bills itself as the largest wrestling tournament in the world. She also earned a spot on the ASICS Girls High School All-American Wrestling First Team for the second year in a row.

If that’s not enough, earlier in the month, Alo won a world championship title halfway around the world — in Spina, Slovakia — thus becoming the first wrestler from Hawaii to win a Cadet world championship, as well as the first wrestler from the United States to win in the 56 kilogram weight bracket. The U.S national coach, Erin Tomeo, was very impressed, as Alo finished undefeated in a bracket that is noted for being the largest — and arguably the toughest — field in the tournament.

“We are all proud and very excited for our world champion, Teshya Alo. She showed a lot of heart and determination,” the coach says.

Alo will be a junior at Kamehameha in the fall and previously has stated her goal of eventually becoming an Olympic athlete. She appears well on her way. And, as mentioned in an earlier column, Alo is also the subject of a feature documentary film done by Honolulu filmmaker Kimberlee Bassford, titled A Winning Girl, that is expected to premiere this fall at Hawaii International Film Festival.

This column also has featured the boxers of Waianae Boxing Club, including their head coach Freddy “Papa” Pereira (2009). Pereira took several boxers to the 2014 Desert Showdown National Boxing Tournament in Coachella, Calif., in mid-July, and a half dozen of them came away with championship belts.

The six included young boxers Asa Stevens and Jai Hale, as well as Men’s Open winners Dalis Kaleiopu, Eric Martinez and Garen Rabelliza. Also coming home with another championship belt is someone we’ve also heard about here in MidWeek (2013) — Honolulu dentist Alan Nomura, who won a title in the Master’s division. According to Ring Magazine, Nomura is the first-ever Master’s division boxing champion from Hawaii. The easygoing dentist, with a reputation as somewhat of a bookworm, says he was practically “adopted” by Papa Fred and his young boxers when he first started working out with them a couple of years ago.

Papa Fred has become a legendary figure on the Westside. He started the Waianae Boxing Club nearly a half-century ago in his garage as a way of keeping a few kids off the streets. That was back in the 1960s! Now 79 years old, he has touched so many lives in a positive way — coaching more young champions and belt winners than anyone in recent Hawaii history.

The successes of Alo, Nomura and Pereira prove that it’s truly been a great summer for Hawaii athletes and coaches of all ages.