Three-time state champion wrestler Teshya Alo left Monday for Las Vegas for one of her biggest tests yet.
Alo will compete on Friday in the U.S. Senior Nationals and Trials Qualifier. If she places in the top six in the 58-kilogram (127.868 pounds) division there, she will compete in the Olympic Trials in April.
Her mother, Cherise Alo, gave Hawaii Prep World an update on Alo’s progress since we last checked in with them during judo season last spring.
Teshya had a chance to go to Colorado for high school and to train daily at the U.S. Olympic Training center. Instead, she decided to stay with family and at Kamehameha for her senior year. She will, however, miss the prestigious Officials meet at Leilehua this weekend.
She is the fourth-ranked U.S. wrestler at 58kg and has been training with coaches Charles Ariola, her dad Leroy Alo, Rob Hecia, and Warriors varsity head man Bill Vanenciano.
There are a lot of believers in Alo’s potential. She gained one more in August, when she attended her first camp at the Olympic Training Center. The new believer? Her mom.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. Cherise Alo has always believed in and backed her daughter, but even she wondered, “How realistic is this Olympic dream for 2016?” She was thinking her little girl, so to speak, would be more ready for that type of run in 2020.
Well, the 2016 Olympics are getting closer for the U.S.’s fourth-ranked wrestler at 58kg.
“One of her biggest competitors, 26-year-old Alli Ragan, used to dominate her,” Cherise said. “Now it’s back and forth. It’s whoever has the better day. Both have the potential to take first in the (Senior Nationals/U.S. Open).”
Ragan is the top-ranked USA wrestler in the 58kg division.
Alo has been facing and doing well against other top competitors, including Helen Maroulis, the U.S.’s top-ranked woman at 55kg (121.254 pounds), and she has been training in Hawaii with the third-ranked at 58kg, Kelsey Campbell.
Alo will attend another training camp January at the U.S. Training Center in January before returning to school for her final semester at Kamehameha. Then, Alo will go to Colorado and train full-time and, most likely, attend a nearby college, Cherise Alo said.
“They have everything there,” Cherise Alo said. “They have nutritionists, sports psychologists, a weight coach, people measuring your heartbeat. It’s a perfected science.
“Teshya is nowhere near as strong physically or mentally as most of the women she’s competing against. She is winning purely off of technique. The people who are at the training center have so many more resources. They travel somewhere else in the world every month, to places like Russia, China or Japan.”
Still, Cherise Alo feels the family made the right decision for Teshya to stay home for her senior year. The intense training can wait while she lives her relatively normal high school life.
“There is an Olympics every four years, so if she doesn’t make it for 2016, she’ll still have 2020 to work for,” the mom said.
Alo won the Cadet World Championships in the 56kg (123.25 pounds) division in Slovakia in July 2014.
In March, Alo won the 138-pound division for her third high school state championship and will be going for a fourth this spring.