Aiea High Volleyball Standout Talks Sports, Music And More

Destyni Grace

Destyni Grace

As a freshman last fall, Destyni Grace was a newcomer to Aiea varsity volleyball, but not to the sport. That showed quickly, as Grace established herself as a key component of the high school’s breakthrough season.

Coached by Kory Toyozaki and Blythe Yamamoto, Na Ali’i finished 9-8 overall and returned to the Division I state tournament after a four-year hiatus. This week marks the official beginning of the 2014 season for OIA teams. Grace is hoping to make a few more state appearances with three full seasons of eligibility remaining.

“It was great going to the state tournament in my first experience (as a high school player),” said Grace, a setter. “I hope to get there again. We can learn from our mistakes and know what to expect when you go back there. It was exciting being the only freshman on the team.”

On the eve of the new prep volleyball season, Grace took some time out to visit with MidWeek‘s West Oahu Islander.

What is your earliest sports-related memory? Back when my brother (Derek) was playing baseball for Aiea. We used to go to the park every single day and come home late. Everyone knew me as the little girl running around the park causing trouble.

Who’s had the biggest impact on your life? My parents (Derek and Wanda). They always pushed me and really encouraged me to be a leader on the team.

I had to step up so I wouldn’t disappoint them.

What’s the best part about playing in the Aiea volleyball program? You get to see how it feels to play with and against older girls. In Club, you play with girls your own age. I was pretty nervous at first.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned through volleyball? That a good team has a good vibe. They know each other well and get along and can play as a team instead of as individuals.

Who is Aiea’s best “practice player” — the girl who puts out the best effort every day? (Senior setter/defensive specialist) Lole Kalani-Liulama. She always has a positive attitude and never gives up, and picks everyone up. She works hard, and she makes practice fun.

What is your least favorite household chore? I don’t like washing the dishes. Everyone piles up the dishes.

What movie could you watch over and over? After I watched Hansel and Gretel for the first time, I probably watched it two more times after that. It was pretty good.

Who are three of your favorite musical artists? I like Usher and Adam Levine (of Maroon 5), and I’d have to say Beyonce.

When you have free time, how do you like to spend it? I like to spend time with friends and family, although I sometimes have to stay in because I don’t have a car. Volleyball fills up my schedule.

You’re stuck on Kahoolawe and can have an endless supply of just one food. What would it be? Steak. I don’t think I could live without meat.