Photography by Danny Fulgencio
Kimball High School wrestling coach Devon Forsten has taken a female athlete to the state tournament every year since he started the girls’ program in 2000. That’s 20 all-state female wrestlers in 20 years. But only one has won first place. That’s Destiny Miles. Miles, who graduated from Kimball High School this year, is the first wrestler of any gender in Dallas Independent School District history to win two state championships. Forsten had seen Miles run track at T.W. Browne Middle School, and when she got to Kimball, he noticed her horsing around with boys in the hallways. She made it to the state tournament all four years of her high school career. Miles grew up with six siblings in a household where money was scarce, and she says she even shoplifted groceries to keep herself and her siblings fed. Wrestling requires extreme discipline with diet and workouts, plus the mental toughness of a soldier, Forsten says. Miles won a wrestling scholarship to Schreiner University in Kerrville, where she plans to major in criminal justice. When she’s not training or going to school, she works at Family Dollar.

On Misconceptions

Misconceptions about wrestling:

“People don’t understand that it’s a hard sport. You can’t go in thinking, “I can fight; you can’t lick me.” It’s a hard sport. You have to think, and you have to have technique.”

On Perseverance

The best advice she’s received:

“No matter how hard the sport gets, don’t quit. Sports got hard, and I wanted to quit, but I didn’t quit. If I didn’t keep going, I wouldn’t be here today. It helped me with a lot of opportunities.”

On Advice

Advice for her younger self:

“From me to me? Stop eating the junk food. That is a lot of losing weight that you’re going to have to do! I had to weigh 148 point zero [to make her weight class]. There’s no such thing as 148 point one. My freshman through junior years, I had to work out a lot because of all the food I was eating. My senior year, I didn’t do that because I changed my diet. I was always under weight or at weight, and I didn’t have to work out so hard to lose weight.”

On Mentorship

Advice she would give a younger wrestler:

“My younger sister wants to be a wrestler, so I told her I would help her. All I told her is, “Don’t get cocky.” Don’t let everybody call you Hollywood. Don’t let that stuff get to you. Do it for fun, and do it for you.”

On Balance

On balancing athletics with schoolwork:

“I was doing too much. My day started always at 4 o’clock, and it ended at 7 or 9 p.m. I had to get rid of my second sport [track], and I had to leave my job, but I told them the situation, and they said I could come back. Track practice started at 6 a.m. … and I had wrestling practice after school. Then I would work some days, and I had homework. I was going to the washateria every three days because I had school clothes and work clothes and track clothes and wrestling clothes. I had two lockers I had to get to. I had a lot of rushing, so something had to go.”

On Relaxation

How she relaxes:

“I’m an inside person. I’m not like, “Let’s go out and hang out with friends.” If the day is completely free, all I do is lay in front of my laptop and watch movies the whole day. That’s my free time. I love all movies. I’ll watch any genre.”

On Worries

What worries her:

“My biggest worry is getting hurt in college. Where I’m from, a lot of people don’t make it out, and my biggest fear is being able to make it out and then something bad happens, and I’m struggling and things get worse and worse. Let’s say I do break a bone, and my scholarship goes away. I just don’t want to fail myself and end up as a used-to-be or a “what happened?” I want to be able to still have my opportunity.”