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Destini Thao


"It’s not about being the best, it’s about being better than you were yesterday."

I was born and raised in Fresno, California. I began my volleyball journey there in the 6th grade and spent the next few years competing in school volleyball and JO’s. I spent the first two years of high school as a right side hitter on the JV team for Central High School in Fresno (2012-2014). My junior year of High School (2014-2015), I attended Coon Rapids High School and played as a right side hitter on JV where I received an award for Best Offensive Player. As for my senior year (2015-2016), I attended North St. Paul High School and played as a right side defensive specialist for the varsity team. To continue my love for the game after the season during my senior year, I was offered a coaching position for North Juniors Volleyball Club as an assistant coach for 12-1’s JO season. 


After high school, I chose to pursue a pre-med degree at the University of Minnesota Rochester, where our total attendance size is about 400. Since that number is so low, the campus does not have any divisional competitive sports teams; intramural co-ed volleyball is the only option offered. I have participated in three seasons and have taken first place 1x, second place 2x. During my time in Rochester, I have also been given the opportunity to work alongside day programs for adults with mental and physical disabilities—I was in charge of the volleyball program we had for these adults. Teaching them the sport and watching them fall in love with it as much as I did has been the most rewarding thing I have experienced thus far. 


As of now, I participate in outdoor recreational volleyball within my Hmong community and often play in tournaments throughout the summer. I find this to be a great way to not only stay connected to the sport but to my community as well. In continuing my coaching journey, I hope the reflection of my passion for volleyball can inspire young athletes to work hard in becoming the best versions of themselves. 

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