Though some may not have previously known her name, Stacey Destin is sure to have changed that after Wednesday's Palm Beach County Central Qualifier. The Santaluces Community High School junior sailed over a monsterous six-foot bar in what was the third best high jump all-time in Florida. With plenty of season left to go (and a senior year ahead), Destin joins Holly Kelly (6-1.25) and Viktoria Andonova (6-1.5) as the only Florida high school girls to have ever gone higher.
On the night, Destin added another two first place finishes in the 100 Hurdles (14.87) and 300 Hurdles (45.84) and a second place finish in the long jump (16-2).
To be clear, the age group star is anything but new to the sport. She has been lighting up the scene for the past nine years for Fast Lane Track Club. Her accolades include going 5-5 as an eighth-grader and an AAU Junior Olympics championship in 2012 with a 5-8 clearance as a freshman. She has a closet full of USATF and AAU medals. Destin also set national 11-12 age group national records in the high jump (5-6.5) and pentathlon (3412 points) from 2008. That year USATF Florida named her the female athlete of the year. At age 12, she set a world record for that age bracket, getting over a 5-9 bar way back in 2009.
So why hasn't she yet made a huge splash in the high school scene? This reporter wondered the same thing! Santaluces High--nor her former school, Boynton Beach--rarely travels much beyond the local track scene. So there haven't been many opportunities to see Destin in high school uniform outside of Palm Beach County. One exception came last weekend at the Disney Open where the 16-year-old showed her versitility by winning the high jump by four inches (5-6), winning the triple jump (37-7.5), and finishing second in both the 100 Hurdles (14.85) and the long jump (18-3.5). Can you say well-rounded athlete?!
Beyond the lack of regular season out-of-county appearances, where has Destin been at the state meet? By now one would expect to see some state medals around her neck!
Despite qualifying for the state finals every year so far in her high school career, she has yet to clear a height in Jacksonville. Representing Boynton Beach High School, she entered the 2012 state meet as a freshman at the number two seed (5-6). Due to disciplinary reasons though, she was denied the right to travel in what she since calls an important lesson learned.
Then as a sophomore, she qualified in both the long jump and the high jump. There she was greeted at UNF with the storm-filled conditions that we all remember like a bad dream from last season. Perhaps thrown off by the delays and rain-soaked runways, Destin was only able to get one succesful jump in the long jump--a 16-10 on her final jump--finishing in 12th place there. In her premier event, the high jump, she could not gain her composure and failed to even clear 5-2 that day and ended with a no-height.
But so far in 2014, she is on point: going faster than ever, higher than ever, jumping longer than ever! Attending a new school, competing for the Santaluces Chiefs this spring, things seem to be firing on all cylinders for the young track star. Perhaps a 6-2 clearance, state record, and that ellusive state championship is finally within her grasp!
More on Stacey Destin
- Stacey's Athlete Profile
- Palm Beach Post: Boynton Beach 8th Grader Leaps and Bounds Ahead (2011)
- Palm Beach Post: Boynton Beach's Stacey Destin Wins Two Golds at Warrior Invitaitonal (2013)
- Sun-Sentinel: Destin Shines for Boynton track team (2013)
- Atheltes Only: Destin Sets National High Jump Record on Day 3 of Junior Olympics (2008)