Athletics News

David Terao finishes 4th in NCAA Division I Wrestling

Earns Standing Ovation at Madison Square Garden!

Posted on April 1, 2016 by Scot Allen


David Terao '11 finished fourth in the 2016 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. Terao, competing for American University, also achieved All-American status, which is awarded to the top eight finishers.

He had been seeded 15th at 125 pounds going into the tournament at Madison Square Garden. Terao's effort in the third-place match against top-seed Nathan Tomasello was so spectacular that the crowd gave the Owl/Eagle a standing ovation!

"I don't think there are words to describe (the crowd's reaction)," said Terao's coach Teague Moore. "How does a fourth-place finisher get the arena to give him a standing ovation? David wrestles with passion. He was able to show his passion through his third-place match, and this arena saw it. This arena felt it. After what I witnessed today, I'm the happiest coach on the planet!"

David was a two-time Hawaii State Champion.

"We are so excited for David and are extremely proud of all his success," Mid-Pacific Athletic Director Scott Wagner said. "David was a standout athlete in high school so it's no surprise that he is among the nation's best."

At American University, David won more matches than any other wrestler in the school's history, with 130 wins. He qualified for the NCAA tournament three times, twice missing All-American status by one match. His senior year, David actually missed out on qualifying outright for the National Tournament, but because of his recognized excellence, he received an at-large bid. He had a magical tournament, beating the number two seed in the nation in the second round, advancing to the quarterfinals where he pinned his opponent and advanced to the semifinals, assuring him All-American status. He rounded out his college career by placing fourth in the Nation at the 125 pound weight class--the first wrestling All-American from Hawaii at the NCAA's since Travis Lee (Cornell University), a graduate of Saint Louis School, in 2005.

Despite his spectacular high school career, David had not received any serious looks from colleges for wrestling, according to his high school coach Aaron Sekulich, PAC-5 Wrestling Head Coach. In the summer after his senior year of high school, he traveled with Team Hawaii to Fargo to compete in the Junior Division of the USAW National Freestyle Tournament. "David did moves no one had ever seen at that level," Sekulich said. "College coaches gathered around his mat every time he competed. He placed second in the nation and was offered a full-ride scholarship to American University following that tournament."

David Terao started wrestling for PAC-5 his freshman year. He had a lifetime of experience as a judoka, but no experience as a wrestler, noted Sekulich. "We knew right away he would be a standout wrestler--he picked up technique quickly, he showed tenacity and resilience, and his mental toughness matched his superb athletic skills."

David improved throughout the season, making it to the state finals, where he placed second. He placed fourth as a sophomore, He dominated his weight class during his junior and senior years, winning 11-0 and 15-4 in the state finals. "David was a Team Captain his junior and senior years due to his special leadership qualities," Sekulich said.

"David opened the eyes of college wrestling coaches about Hawaii wrestlers and opened doors for high school wrestlers from Hawaii who are thinking of wrestling at the next level once they graduate," Sekulich said. "David is a special man. I am very proud to have been a part of his early accomplishments in wrestling."