Southwest Orange Observer: Sports Spotlight — Destinee Alford

Dr. Phillips High weightlifter Destinee Alford is hitting her mark in the 199-pound weight class.

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  • | 3:55 p.m. January 29, 2020
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A senior member of the weightlifting team at Dr. Phillips, Destinee Alford went from lifting just 95 pounds her freshman year to just under 180 this season. Her total lift of 335 pounds (170 bench, 165 clean and jerk) helped the Panthers go 10 for 10 in weight class victories at Metros Friday, Jan. 17. 


How did you first get into weightlifting?

I got into weightlifting my freshman year — a coach named Abby, he introduced me (to the sport). He was like, ‘You look pretty strong, so how about I take you to this practice to see if you like it and then you can join.’ I tried it out — when I first started I was lifting 95 (pounds) as a freshman, so that’s when I joined the team and I just kept going from there.


What has been your favorite part about weightlifting at Dr. Phillips?

Going to the competitions and meeting other girls, because everyone is always motivating you to do better and my teammates, they always say, ‘You can do it!’


Since your freshman year, what would you say has been the biggest change you’ve seen in yourself?

With the weights, I’ve improved a lot. And it also helped me with my attitude with school, because to be on the weightlifting team you also have to have higher than a 2.5 (GPA) I believe. It helps your body, mind and everything.


What would you say is the hardest part about weightlifting? Your favorite part?

The hardest part about weightlifting are the practices — they’re really hard. And my favorite part is going to competitions.


What is your favorite event?

My favorite event is clean and jerk, and I say that because you’re starting from the bottom and then you have to jerk it all the way to the top and you can’t put the weight down until the person says so. 


Coming into the season, did you have any goals in mind that you were hoping to achieve?

Coming into the season me and Coach Soko (Ben Sokolowsky) we talked over the summer and he was like, ‘This is what we are going to do.’ By Metros and districts I’ll be doing 180 and I’m almost there, so I’ve reached my goal pretty much. I came into the season lifting 135-145 and I’m about to end the season doing 190 by states.


What has been a highlight moment for you during your time at Dr. Phillips?

Getting first place at Metros. Last year I got third place, and this year I go first — not second, but first. That was a big highlight and accomplishment — I was overly excited. I pushed so hard to do it.


What happens after you graduate?

I’m going to be lifting outside of school, but most definitely I’m trying to go to Nova Southeastern University to become an orthodontist specialist. Getting a scholarship for weightlifting is hard — I looked into it, but there’s not a lot of programs for that. I’m still going to train with Soko.


After a weightlifting meet, what is your perfect meal?

Chipotle — the steak bowl. 


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