The opportunity was there, so Taejah Ray Telles-Kuwahara decided to go full force.
The Radford junior was one of four members of the cheer squad who traveled to New Jersey in August for The College Combine hosted by Nfinity. Telles-Kuwahara, senior Jannealyn Aquino and freshman Saxoni Frank each ranked No. 1 in the nation in their respective grade levels. Makenna Ching placed second in her grade.
It wasn’t easy, but the drive in Telles-Kuwahara was simple and relentless. She and Ching trained for the combine together, preparing for the 50-yard dash, pushups and vertical leap, in addition to stunting and tumbling. Part of the training regimen included sprints while dragging a sled and running with a 20-pound vest.
The effort was well rewarded at the combine. College coaches from across the country were there, scouting and taking notes.
“Taejah is the most consistent athlete. Never has a bad day, always grinding. Unbelievable work ethic,” coach Bo Frank said. “She’s a vocal leader and teammate, counts for other athletes doing skills. Mat talks well.”
The Radford Rams went on to have a perfect season in Oahu Interscholastic Association and state tournament, winning four OIA competitions, including the league championship. Radford then won the Medium Division state title at Blaisdell Arena.
Frank teaches at Radford and has guided the Rams to 11 state titles. He was an advisor to nephew Ridge Frank for one season when Radford won another state championship.
“All of them do more than what is asked. I’m blessed that so many of my kids do. All three of them are on Island Elites (club) level five team. They take private lessons to hone in their already elite skills,” coach Frank said. “And on top of that training with their club, they train with their fathers to improve strength and conditioning!”
Taejah’s lockdown staples
Top 3 shows/movies
2. “Harry Potter”
3. “50 First Dates
Top 3 food/drink/snack
2. Highway Inn
3. Acapulco restaurant
Favorite class; Tumbling (with coach Bo Frank).
“I would want to travel to the old Hawaiian kingdom before the annexation and see what life was like.”
GPA: “My best GPA is 3.8.”
New life skill: Driving.
“”I just learned how to drive.”
“I can pick things up with my feet.”
“I want to give all the glory to God, first off. Shout out to coach Bo for coming back to restore the tradition of excellence at Radford. We could not have done this without you. Shout out to my best friend, Chingy, for pushing me to be my best every day. Shout out to my mom and dad for molding me with the mentality of a hard-working athlete and supporting my every goal and dream.”