Eye on the (Olympic) prize: Rogers’ Wallock qualifies for Team USA, dreams of Olympics

Alaina Wallock of Rogers will head to Ireland toward the end of August to compete in the World Championships on TeamUSA. (Photo by Jake Schroer)

By Jake Schroer

Crow River News Sports

When Team USA heads to Ireland for the World Championships in karate this August, the town of Rogers will be well represented.

In March, Alaina Wallock, a 16-year old martial artist, went and tried out for Team USA in Evansville, Indiana. In three tryout matches, only one person managed to score a point against her. The three victories meant she qualified for the team. Wallock admitted being incredibly nervous at the time.

“I was shaking throughout the entire time waiting to compete, and as soon as I stepped into the ring and I started fighting, all of the nerves just kind of went away because I felt relaxed,” she said.

It was no fluke; Wallock has spent the last two years as the top-ranked competitor in the North Central Karate Association (local) and currently ranks second in the North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA) after scoring a big win at the end of June. Wallock beat the top-ranked fighter in the world at the US Open ISKA World Martial Arts Championship and went on to win Grand Champion at the event, which was streamed live on ESPN3.

“She’s the only fighter from that school (National Karate in Crystal, Minnesota) who’s ever been live on TV,” Alaina’s mother, Nancy, said.

Alaina started in karate at the age of 8, following in the footsteps of her older brother after a short stint in gymnastics. When she did not improve much, she looked to her sibling.

“I thought, ‘Hey, that would be really fun to do, and then I get to be with my brother and we get to do all this stuff,’” she said. She has since gone on to earn two degrees in black belt and will aim for her third in mid-August before leaving for Ireland later in the month. The tests are at the Hopkins Community Center.

“All of the schools go to that place and then all of the people who are testing for their black belts test all at the same time,” Alaina said.

Climbing the ranks is not easy; the number of the degree is the number of years it takes to earn it, and you can earn as many as 10; a feat held by National Karate co-founder John Worley and his close friend Larry Carnahan as of 2014. When one reaches that point, they become known as a Grand Master.

Alaina credits her brother Brendon for influencing her in her karate growth over eight years, as well as her trainer, Ron Tobin of National Karate, who is a fifth-degree black belt.

“They’ve really been the ones that have pushed me and motivated me to do what I do, and I love it,” she said.

Both Alaina and her mother are very excited about the opportunity to travel to Ireland for the world championships.

“I get to go to another country representing my country doing the thing that I love. To me, I feel like that’s such an honor,” Alaina said.

“What an awesome place to go to, Ireland,” Mrs. Wallock said.

Alaina’s ultimate goal is to get noticed in order to try and take steps to make the 2020 Olympics team in Tokyo, Japan, which is adding karate to the slate of events for the first time.

Alaina will not be the only one to represent her school in Ireland.

“When I went down to Indiana to try out, I went with another teammate of mine, Colton Fair, and he also made the team. So, it’s going to be me, Colton, and Mr. Tobin who are all going to be going to Ireland,” she said.

The WKU World Championships run from August 27-September 1. Alaina’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with finances. You can help contribute at https://www.gofundme.com/help-team-usa-win-gold-in-ireland.