Odessa teen earns gold at American Grappling Federation World Championship

When it comes to marking the achievements of 13-year-old Alaina Gonzalez, it’s time to add “Gold Medal World Champion” to the list.

The Wilson and Young Middle School 7th grader earned gold June 17 at the American Grappling Federation World Championship in Fort Worth while competing in the Gray Jr. Lightweight II No-Gi competition against a global array of peers from Europe, Asia, Canada, Mexico and South America, according to a City of Odessa News Flash.

“I’m super proud,” the champion’s mom, Sandra Gonzalez, told the City. “It’s built her confidence. She now knows she’s capable of things she never knew she was capable of.”

Alaina’s reaction? “I was surprised,” she said.

Her win probably didn’t come as a surprise to anyone else in the know. Alaina worked hard to win her gold medal, reportedly practicing five to ten hours per week at Ruffhouse MMA on North Grant Avenue in Odessa.

Her mom told the City that the coaches there emphasize the power of positivity. “Once a week, they have to say something positive about themselves in the mirror. Negativity is not allowed.” Tryann Stevenson, a coach a Ruffhouse MMA, noted that some of the other kids there brought home silver and bronze medals as well.

The City of Odessa offered its congratulations to Alaina and her fellow winners from Ruffhouse MMA. “Congrats to all the winners! A reminder that hard work and dedication pay off.”