When you wear a famous last name, there is no telling when and where somebody is going to recognize it.
Such was the case Friday for rising Sandia senior Gabriella Domenici in the second day of the multi-events in the Great Southwest Track & Field Classic at the UNM Complex.
Charlie’s Sporting Goods was owned by her grandfather, the late Charlie Domenici, who also was kin to longtime New Mexico politician Pete Domenici.
“It’s definitely, I don’t know how to say, I feel kind of like a celebrity sometimes because people are always like, ‘Do you know Pete Domenici? Are you related to him? Do you know Charlie?’ ” Gabriella said. “So it’s definitely weird getting noticed by these random people in public.”
What she’d really like is to get noticed for her own prowess, especially when it comes to performing in the heptathlon.
Competing in seven events over two days can be exhausting, but also rewarding, Domenici said.
“I had a coach that suggested I do it because I’m decently good at a lot of things but not the best at anything and he told me if you can do it all, then you should try the multis,” she said. “I want to try it in college, possibly D-II or D-III.”
Domenici acknowledges that she has quite a ways to go after finishing 13th among 17 competitors in this year’s heptathlon, scoring 3,610 points. Fellow New Mexican Jada Lujan of St. Michael’s finished 12th with 3,639 points and Abigail Furlanetto of Santa Fe Prep was 17th with 1,821 points.
“I came into it knowing a lot of from regular-season high school,” Domenici said. “And then these last two or three weeks I concentrated on the sports that I’m not already knowledgeable about so a lot of 800(-meter) training and a lot of throwing. Over the summer, I’m going to continue to train and do a lot more lifting and just getting more knowledgeable about events that I don’t know a lot about.”
Valley rising junior Joel Rodriguez could use a little bit of inside knowledge himself as he began sprinting on the back turn on the third lap of the 1,500-meter run on Friday as the boys decathlon concluded.
Had the race been but three laps, he would have had a great shot an individual win. Unfortunately, however, the race is four laps. Bulling through on sheer athleticism, Rodriguez was still able to hold onto fifth place, and was 12th overall in the decathlon with 3,238 points.
“I screwed up and went full sprint on the third lap because I thought it was the last lap,” he said. “But this was a great experience. Great people, great athletes. Pretty fun. I’m going to do this again.”
While Rodriguez said he was disappointed with his overall performance, he has a plan to improve for next year.
“I’m going to go to our school every day and practice, practice, practice and work on getting better,” he said, with coach Aric Trujillo vowing to be there by his side throughout the process.
“It’s just great, it’s cool,” he said of the 10-event decathlon. “I just like doing new things.”
Decathlon winner Jordan Smith of Kansas City, Missouri, had no such issues as he’s a veteran of the multis despite being a rising junior.
“I started in the (pentathlon) a few years ago and I started out because I was good at multiple events and I was like, let’s keep it going,” he said.
Smith finished with 5,887 points, but found the elevation in Albuquerque a bit unnerving.
“Up here, it really doesn’t hurt you until you stop running,” he said. “I was fine during every event until I stopped, then it hit me. But it feels good.”
Zoey Bonds of Las Vegas, Nevada, followed in the footsteps of her athletic sisters by winning the heptathlon with 4,601 points. She was fine until the closing 800.
“It was terrible,” said Bonds, who has committed to BYU to run hurdles. “I knew it was going to be bad but it was even worse than I expected. I knew I had to come within a second of the second place and then a few seconds from third place so that was kind of the plan. Stay with them or beat them.”
• The meet concludes on Saturday with the main running, throwing and jumping events. Field events begin at 9 a.m.; most of the elite track athletes will be appearing in the second half of the program, starting at 5:10 p.m. with the 100-meter dashes. But the first running events start at 10:30 a.m.