Six San Jose State University judo athletes have qualifed to represent the USA at the 2017 World University Games in August! SJSU is one of the four Olympic training centers in the United States. SJSU has a strong lineage of Olympians including; Mike Swain, Kevin Asano, Bob Berland, Gerardo Padilla, Marti Malloy, and Colton Brown. Last but not least, the coach behind the powerhouse program is Mr. Yosh Uchida. Mr. Uchida has not only paved the way for the success at SJSU but also for all of the United States.
The World University Games is the second largest multi-sports event behind the Olympics. This year the event will be hosted in Taipei, Taiwan with the judo competition starting August 20-24. Even with being such a prestigious event it is self-funded trip for the athletes. It is estimated for the trip to be around $3,500 per athlete to compete in Taipei. With six athletes being from SJSU this is a costly affair for athletes, parents, and the SJSU judo program. All donations will go to airfare, hotel, and food.
48 kg: Destinee Nagtalon
52 kg: Elaine Ramos-Tandjung
63 kg: Alisha Galles
70 kg: April Fehr
100 kg: L.A. Smith
+100 kg: Arash Soofiani
My name is Destinee Nagtalon, and I am currently a -48kg player for San Jose State University. I am a senior at SJSU studying Kinesiology with dreams to continue to physical therapy school after I graduate. I have been doing judo now for 15 years with San Jose Buddhist Judo Club. I love giving back to the judo community, whether it be through volunteering at various judo events, or help teach and coach young students. Watching the kids that I help succeed, is simply one of the best feelings in the world. I knew once I transferred to San Jose State from a community college, I wanted to compete internationally again. I had previously competed in Hungary and El Salvador when I was in high school, and was probably one of the best experiences that I’ve had competing in Judo. I am incredibly blessed to return to the international stage alongside my teammates from SJSU.
Whenever I am not on the mat, you can find me trying new foods and cuisines around the Bay Area, or playing video games! I enjoy dressing up at various conventions such as Anime-Expo and Fanime Convention. A few cosplays that I have done are Lucina from Fire Emblem Awakening, Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Spider-Gwen from the Spider Verse. Currently, I am working on costumes from Star Wars Rebels series.
Please join me and my teammates on this journey to Taiwan!
Youth & Scholastics Champion 2014
NCJA Collegiate Nationals Silver 2015
UC Davis Western Conference Champion 2015
Senior National Championships 5th 2015, 2016
San Jose Buddhist Memorial Champion 2016
NCJA Collegiate Champion 2016
My name is Elaine Ramos-Tandjung and I am a -52 kilogram judoka at San Jose State University. I am currently in my fifth year of college with a major in Kinesiology and an emphasis in Movement Science. I also have a minor in Nutrition and Food Science. I plan on graduating the end of this spring semester, 2017. After college I would like to become a nutritionist or a dietician in order to help future athletes in weight-class based sports, such as judo and wrestling, in cutting weight. A lot of athletes struggle with this so I would like to be able to write out meal plans that will help guide athletes to make the process easier.
Prior to coming to SJSU I had been doing judo since I was a little girl with my dad being my coach. I have been able to learn about respect, honor, and many more things from my dad, from being on the SJSU team, and from the sport itself through out all these years. Also, because of this sport I have been able to travel to different parts of the U.S. and to many countries, such as El Salvador and Korea. Due to my travels, I have met all kinds of people and have made many friends along the way. Now, my judo career is slowly coming to an end with the end of the semester and this upcoming World University Games. This tournament will be my last judo tournament of my career and I hope to end it with a blast. I do not want to end my career with any regrets; therefore, I will compete there representing not only SJSU but my country as well. And I will compete with all my might.
Youth & Scholastics Championships Silver 2013
NCJA Collegiate Nationals B
San Jose Buddhist Memorial Silver 2014
Junior Pan American Championships Bronze 2014
World University Games Team 2015
NCJA Collegiate Champion 2014, 2015, 2016
My name is Alisha "Lee" Galles and I fight 63 kgs. I am currently a senior at SJSU studying psychology and a minor in chemistry. I will graduate this spring and plan to pursue medical school along with Olympic hopes. In 2015 I was not able to go to the World University Games due to an injury. It feels great to have my chance again and represent the USA and SJSU at such a prestigious event. Thank you for all the support!
Continental Open Uruguay Bronze 2013
Junior World Championship Teams 2013, 2014
Senior National Championships Silver 2014
NCJA Collegiate National Champion 2014, 2016
Senior National Champion 2016
Continental Open El Salvador Silver 2016
My name is April Fehr and I am currently a second year majoring in kinesiology with plans to continue on to medical school. I first started judo when I was 5 in my hometown of Milwaukee Wisconsin, and I
haven’t looked back since. In my free time I like finding new places to eat, catching up on sleep, and spending time with friends
Youth & Scholastics Champion 2014
Junior World Championship Teams 2015
Senior National Championships 5th 2016
NCJA Collegiate National Champion 2016
Hello! My name is L.A. Smith and I am a 4th year at San Jose State University and team Captain of the judo team. I am currently majoring in Kinesiology and I hope to graduate in the Spring of next year. I came into Judo a little late (13 years old) but ever since then I have fallen in love with the sport. Being able to train Judo at a high level while working towards getting my degree is something that I am thankful for here at SJSU. The long lineage of Olympic Judo athletes/coaches, along with the education, is something that separates us from any other program in the country. Being able to represent the United States of America is something that every athlete dreams of and it makes it that much better to be able to carry that SJSU name along with that. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated and we will carry that support with us when we fight in Taiwan. Thank you!
Pan American Junior Championship Team 2013, 2014
Junior World Championship Teams 2011, 2013, 2014
World University Games Team 2015
Senior National Champion 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
National Collegiate Judo Champion 2014, 2015, 2016
2X Senior World Cup 7th Place, 1X Senior World Cup 5th Place
My name is Arash Soofiani and I am the +100kg category judo player for San Jose State University. I will graduate in June 2017 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Studies, with a concentration in Energy Policy and Conservation. Born and raised in Venice Beach, I have adopted the San Francisco Bay Area as my new home. I transferred to San Jose State University from West Los Angeles Community College in 2014. I’ve been wrestling, doing judo or sambo, and grappling since I was 11 years old. I started judo at Dynamo Sports Club, a community sports program that helped me grow daily after my wrestling practices. Raised by various LA-based dojos such as Dynamo Sports Club, Tenri Dojo, and Hayastan MMA, I have come to SJSU Judo to become a stronger judoka and person. SJSU Judo’s storied Olympian alumni attracted me to the program; three of them, (Colton Brown, Marti Malloy, Mike Swain) are still active at SJSU Judo as active competitors, invigorating coaches, and wise mentors. I am thankful for being surrounded by hard working teammates as well. With the help of the SJSU Judo program, I’ve been able to win the National Collegiate Championships in 2016 and qualify for this World University Games. Our SJSU judo winning tradition is sure to invade the World University Games and take gold across the board.
In my spare time, I like to spend time in the serenity of the giant redwood and oak woodlands of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Meditation, breathing, and stretching are big parts of my day, intermittently visited even when I’m finishing work for my various gigs and internships. I am also a heavyweight hip hop head, digging through the proverbial crates for legendary emcees like KRS-1, Rakim, and the WuTang Clan. But nothing beats eating and drinking well in the company of good friends. Cheers
Pan American Cup Costa Rica Bronze 2013
Central American Cup Costa Rica Bronze 2013
World University Games Team 2013
Senior National Championships Silver 2015
Pan American Senior Championship Team 2016
NCA Collegiate National Champion 2016
Competing in the World University Games is a major achievement for an athlete who has been able to succeed not only in college but also in sport. SJSU athletes will be training up till the day of the fight and will not disappoint! SJSU athletes plan to keep the winning tradition very much alive and come home with the gold. Thank you so much for all the help and support!