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Standout Streetsboro teenager joins Duquesne University

by Frank Aceto Associate Sports Editor Published: July 9, 2014 12:00 AM
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Destiny King always had a knack for standing out from the rest of the crowd.

On at least one of those occasions, that made things a bit awkward.

"There was this one meet and it was pretty crowded," longtime Streetsboro head track and field coach Tom Fesemyer said. "She said to me, 'Hey dad, can you give me 5$?' We look alike.' She thought it was the funniest thing."

Since King is African-American and Fesemyer is white, it may have caused some confusion.

"We got a lot of strange looks from surrounding people," Fesemyer said. "It turned some heads."

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King, a 2014 Streetsboro graduate, certainly "turned some heads" throughout her illustrious career with the Rockets.

King, a three-time state qualifier in the 100-meter hurdles and a two-time state qualifier in the long jump, recently signed a national letter of intent to continue her academic and track and field careers at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. She plans to major in sports marketing.

King also considered Robert Morris (Pittsburgh) and Xavier (Cincinnati) before choosing Duquesne. Oddly enough, Duquesne appeared to be out of the mix after her first visit to the school.

"When I visited Duquesne last year, I hated it," King said. "Xavier was actually my top choice because my best friend [Streetsboro 2011 graduate] Mercedes Oliver went there."

Eventually, Duquesne got back into the picture. A certain city that is surrounded by three rivers helped change her mind.

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"I really love Pittsburgh," King said. "When I went to Duquesne the first time, I was on spring break and I think they [the Duquesne students] also were on spring break. It was kind of a dead campus.

"I went to an indoor meet there and I got to know the coaching staff. At that point, I fell in love with the campus and downtown Pittsburgh. They have so many sports teams and there's just so much more to do."

Duquesne finished second at the Atlantic 10 Championships during the spring. King said she may run the 400-meter hurdles on the collegiate level.

One way or another, the talented teenager will be a welcome addition.

"If I had to start a team, my first pick would be Destiny," Fesemyer said. "She's full of life and is just an awesome athlete. She's an even better person. She brings out the best in everyone."

Fesemyer first discovered King when she was in seventh grade. Because King was so tiny, it was easy to notice her when she jumped over the hurdles.

"In seventh grade, she was just learning how to run the hurdles," Fesemyer said. "She was just as tall as the hurdles. You could see that she had an incredible speed."

Although King finished her career at the Division II state meet, her senior year was very frustrating because of shin issues.

"I had a stress fracture in my left shin and severe tendonitis in my right shin," King said. "My left was worse than my right and I do everything with my left. My left leg is my take-off leg in the hurdles and the long jump. I watched the team practice and then I ran in the meets. It was pretty rough."

King hopes to recover from her injuries and get ready for the upcoming season. She feels confident that she can do even better after meeting Duquesne assistant coach Mihaela Tripon.

"She is someone I really needed," King said. "I never really had a coach who specified in hurdles or long jump. I had my dad help me and I coached myself and my teammates. It's exciting to have someone who really knows what she's doing."

Tripon and the other Duquesne coaches can definitely help King master her craft. Fortunately, she won't have to start from scratch, thanks to the tutelage she received from her coaches at Streetsboro.

"Fes [Fesemyer] and I have a really close relationship," King said. "I took all of his classes and I always looked to him for everything.

"This year, we had a new girls coach in coach [Lauren] Macer. She is such a great coach and I love her."

Fesemyer is quite fond of his former star too. An athlete like King doesn't come around too often.

"We've had a great relationship for four years," Fesemyer said. "She has meant an awful lot to the program and to Streetsboro schools. Her parents did a phenomenal job of raising her. I'm going to miss her dearly."

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