Alena Stern is a sophomore goalie on the women’s lacrosse team and an avid Jiu Jitsuka. Last season, the California native started 16 out of 20 games for the Tigers, and led the team in goals-against average and save percentage. The Tigers begin their 2019 campaign against Chapman University on March 8, and have their home opener on March 15 against Illinois Wesleyan University.
Ben Hall: Hi Alena, thank you for taking some time out to sit down and chat even though you’re sick.
Alena Stern: Gotta do it for the fans.
BH: What is the verb form of Jiu Jitsu?
AS: People usually call it rolling, like, “Do you wanna go roll?” but my parents call it Jiu Jitsing.
BH: How long have you been Jiu Jitsing?
AS: Four years. I don’t know, I train significantly less when I’m at school. When I’m at home, I train like six days a week usually, so I really like going home for that.
BH: How does one get into that world?
AS: A lot of guys that wrestle get into it, and people who listen to Joe Rogan. For me, the couple who lived next door would help drive us to school and stuff sometimes, and the husband was an MMA and Jiu jitsu fighter, and started teaching us.
BH: How long have you been laxing?
AS: I started freshman year of high school.
BH: You’re telling me that the first year you ever played lacrosse, you were the West Bay Athletic League Goalie of the Year?
AS: I attribute that to — I’m a goalie — you don’t know how bad it hurts yet when you get hit by a ball, so you’re fearless when you’re starting out.
BH: What are the transferable skills between Jiu Jitsu and being a lax goalie?
AS: There are absolutely none; maybe just overall fitness and cardio. I’d say in terms of goalies, I’m on the faster end. Maybe aggression, but I think that’s more innate.
BH: How long would it take you to tap me, and what would your go-to move be to immediately hurt me?
AS: Are we starting sitting or standing?
BH: Let’s say we’re sitting as we are now.
AS: Probably a minute or two? How mobile
are you feeling right now?
BH: I’m not feeling very mobile, I just got dry needled.
AS: I’d go rear naked choke. If you struggle I’d probably use your struggle against you, put you on the floor and arm bar. Probably two minutes, I’m not feeling very energetic. Side note, if we did that in the Mathias lobby, campo would probably write us up because they do not like fighting on campus.
BH: Tell me about the inflatable turkey you took to Alcatraz.
AS: My dad is a big proponent of waking my brothers and me up at 4 a.m. and taking us kayaking in San Francisco bay. He did that one year on Thanksgiving morning, and to brighten the mood he brought oatmeal and an inflatable turkey.
BH: You have quite a few Pinterest followers. What’s your secret to cultivating a solid board?
AS: Be yourself in seventh grade. Don’t do homework, look at really ugly outfits, repost them, and then forget you had a pinterest until someone who’s interviewing you asks about it.
BH: What meant more to you: Being named West Bay Athletic League Goalie of the Year as a freshman in high school, or the first time you choked out Jake Golbus?
AS: First time I choked out Jake Golbus.
BH: Why is that?
AS: He needed to be choked out.