Destinee Barrette started her track career at Pilgrim High School as a sprinter. When her coach told her he wanted to try her as a thrower, she was game.
“I knew I had something special because everything I said, she absorbed like a sponge,” head coach Tom Dolce said.
It turned out to be a good move.
Barrette became a state meet regular in the indoor and outdoor track seasons over the next three years and she took it to a new level this spring when she qualified for outdoor states in all four throwing events – hammer, shot put, discus and javelin. She was the only girl in the state to do all four events and she placed in two of them, taking third in the hammer and fifth in the discus.
It was a busy day – and an impressive one.
“She’s probably the best all-around thrower I’ve ever coached,” Dolce said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone entered in all four events. At divisions, she actually scored in all four. It was remarkable.”
Barrette never expected to have a day like that when she first started track. She wanted to try a little bit of everything so she was excited about the move to the throwing team, but she didn’t take to it right away.
“I didn’t like it at all,” she said. “It was frustrating. I would never PR. Coach always said you can’t hit a home run every time, but I really wanted to.”
By her junior season, she was taking that message to heart – and understanding it is what ultimately helped the home runs to come.
“When I stopped putting so much pressure on myself, I think I really started to get it,” she said.
That attitude combined with a strong work ethic set Barrette on the path to big success. She took home two medals at indoor states then turned her attention to outdoor, where her four-event prowess was a big reason why Pilgrim emerged as one of the best teams in the state. The Pats finished in a tie for third at states.
Barrette would have liked to come home with four medals, but two was pretty good and she tied the school’s hammer record in the process.
“Being realistic, it was a great day,” she said.
Barrette will now head to Rhode Island College, and she plans to throw for the Anchormen.
“I think when she gets into a weight lifting program, she’ll be even better,” Dolce said. “She’s going to have a very good career there.”