USA Wrestling Junior National Memo...

Junior National Memories: Teshya Alo wins Cadet Worlds and Fargo Junior title five days apart

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | July 23, 2020, 5:26 p.m. (ET)

Teshya Alo of the USA beats Tatjana Rizhko of Ukraine at the 2014 Cadet Worlds, just a few days before winning her second career Junior Nationals title. Photo by Martin Gabor, United World Wrestling.

One of the most miraculous weeks in Junior Nationals history happened in 2014, when Hawaiian legend Teshya Alo won the 2014 Cadet World Championships in Snina, Slovakia, quickly flew to Fargo, N.D., then won the Junior Nationals, in less than a week.

Alo had a great season in 2013, winning her first Junior Nationals title after her freshman year, and also winning a bronze medal at the Cadet World Championships. In the summer after her sophomore year, Alo earned a spot a return trip to the Cadet Worlds by winning the UWW Cadet Nationals. Her 56 kg weight class at the Cadet Worlds was set to finish on July 17 in Slovakia. The Junior Nationals, one of her favorite events, was set for July 21-22 in North Dakota. Alo and her family decided that she could do both events back-to-back.

In Snina, Alo won five straight matches to capture the gold, some by a razor-thin margin. She had two victories were by one point. In the quarterfinals, she Tatjana Rizhko of Ukraine, 9-8. Her semifinal victory was over Kumi Irie of Japan 4-3. In the finals, Alo led Russian opponent Ksenia Nezgovorova, 3-2 at the break, then opened up her offense for a 9-2 victory and the Cadet World title.

Alo had to fly right back to the USA, head to Fargo, and make weight at 130 pounds, switching from a Team USA uniform to a singlet for Team Hawaii. Her road to victory in Fargo was much less stressful. In her first four matches, she won three by technical fall and one by pin. She drew 2012 Cadet World silver medalist Kayla Miracle of Indiana in the finals, a talented star who had already qualified for the 2014 Junior World Team. Alo rolled to a 10-0 technical fall over Miracle, and was named Outstanding Wrestler.

“Kayla’s really aggressive,” Alo said. “She’s very tough. I’m very glad I got a chance to wrestle her. She’s really good. I came here to have fun and I did. I want to win the Olympics in wrestling.”

All four years that Alo won the Junior Nationals, she was dominant in the finals. As a freshman, she pinned Gabrielle Weyhrich of Nebraska in 1:50. Her next three finals were all technical fall wins. After beating Miracle as a sophomore, she stopped Hannah Jewell of Michigan 10-0 in the finals her junior year. Her senior season ended with a technical fall over Ashlynn Ortega of Colorado, 12-0. Add in two Cadet National titles, and Alo was a six-time Fargo champion, one of the greatest stars in the history of the combined tournament.

At Snina, Slovakia, July 17

56 kg/123.25 lbs. – Teshya Alo, Honolulu, Hawaii, Gold medal
WIN Simona Zamocnikova (Slovakia), 10-0
WIN Aurora Campagna (Italy), 10-0
WIN Tatjana Rizhko (Ukraine), 9-8
WIN Kumi Irie (Japan), 4-3
WIN Ksenia Nezgovorova (Russia), 9-2

At Fargo, N.D., July 21-22

130 lbs. – Teshya Alo (Hawaii), champion
WIN Tatiana Vasquez (Texas), tech. fall 14-1
WIN Cassandra Olive (California), tech fall 11-1
WIN Chloe Spencer (Washington), pin 1:47
WIN Jasmine Bailey (Iowa), tech. fall 13-2
WIN Kayla Miracle (Indiana), tech. fall, 10-0

Teshya Alo of Hawaii (Junior National finals)

2013 – 125 lbs. – Gabrielle Weyhrich (NE), pin 1:50
2014 – 130 lbs. – Kayla Miracle (IN), tech. fall 10-0
2015 – 139 lbs. – Hannah Jewell (MI), tech. fall 10-0
2016 – 139 lbs. – Ashlynn Ortega (CO), tech. fall 12-0

Since USA Wrestling created a girls division at the Junior Nationals in 2002, there have been four amazing athletes who have gone four-for-four in the Junior National finals, winning the most Junior girls titles possible.

In the order of their achievements, the four four-timers are Nicole Woody of Maryland (2004-2007), Tatiana Suarez Padilla of California (2005-2008), Alo (2013-2106) and Emily Shilson of Minnesota (2016-2019).

Of the four girls to win four Junior National titles, Tatiana Padilla of California has gone on to have the most successful Senior career so far, winning two World bronze medals. She is now one of the top women competitors in Mixed Martial Arts, competing with the UFC (using the name Tatiana Suarez). When she was in high school, she was already a top Senior-level competitor. As a freshman, Padilla beat a returning Junior Nationals champion, Nicole Darrow of New York. She won a Junior World bronze medal and a Junior World silver medal her last two years of high school.

Shilson is the most recent four-time Junior National champion, and like Alo, she won both of her Cadet National tournaments to finish out as a six-time Fargo champion. Shilson and Alo are the only six-time Fargo National champions among women. During this streak of age-group excellence, Shilson also won Cadet World gold and silver medals and became the first U.S. wrestling athlete to win a gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games while in high school. Last year, she won two national tournaments as a freshman at Augsburg University.

Nicole Woody of Maryland was the first Junior four-timer, competing in the light weights. Woody beat Amy Whitbeck of New York in two of her four finals, beating her as a sophomore and a senior. A 2006 Junior World champion, in her junior season, she beat somebody who would win two Junior World titles, Victoria Anthony of California. Woody was a WCWA champion at Oklahoma City University, and under her married named Nicole Tyson, now serves as OCU’s head women’s wrestling coach.

Nicole Woody of Maryland (Junior National finals opponents)
2004 – 95 lbs. – Norine Cruz (CA)
2005 – 95 lbs. – Amy Whitbeck (NY)
2006 – 102 lbs. – Victoria Anthony (CA)
2007 – 102 lbs. – Amy Whitbeck (NY)

Tatiana Suarez Padilla of California (Junior National finals opponents)
2005 – 119 lbs. – Nicole Darrow (NY)
2006 – 128 lbs. – Cheyenne Stokes (OK)
2007 – 132 lbs. – Samantha Phillips (CA)
2008 – 132 lbs. – Shelby Shirley (OH)

Emily Shilson of Minnesota (Junior National finals opponents)
2016 – 97 lbs. – Naomi Chavez (MN)
2017 – 100 lbs. - Genae Sampract (IL)
2018 – 100 lbs. – Sage Mortimer (UT)
2019 – 106 lbs. – Faith Cole (MO)