Despite senior distance runner Danielle Domenichelli only standing at 5’4”, she has had an incredible college career. In 2008, Domenichelli finished All-American in the 5,000-meter and is currently ranked seventh in the nation in the 10,000-meter. And as this is her final year, Domenichelli looks to do even better.
“I want to make nationals and be in the top five,” she said.
“I was good at it in P.E., so I kept doing it,” Domenichelli said.
Her skills blossomed in high school while slowly switching from short distance to long distance. Then after a successful high school career, “Double-D,” as she is called on the team, elected to run for UCSB due to its good program and beautiful location.
“I knew I could develop into the runner that I wanted to be,” Double-D said.
In her first year, Domenichelli struggled with some injuries, but she had great success in her second campaign. In her sophomore year, she was an All-Big West Conference and an NCAA regional qualifier.
In her junior year she was the Big West Conference Champion in both the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter events, and was named All-American in the 5,000-meter.
She had to sit out the 2009 season due to a stress fracture on her foot, and after the long rest, she was ready to perform again.
This year she again won the Big West in the 10,000-meter. After being neck and neck for much of the race with another competitor, she finished with a time of 34:50.29 to win by nine seconds.
“When it comes to racing, she is confident and beastly,” sophomore middle distance runner Sarah Vitug said.
One of the things that separates Domenichelli from other athletes and makes her so beastly is her determination.
“She is very serious and dedicated to be as fast as possible,” senior distance runner Liza Hitchner said.
When she is not burning up the track, Domenichelli is often found cooking in her kitchen, which is one of her favorite hobbies and also a way she connects with her Italian heritage. Domenichelli often cooks Italian dishes such as lasagna and different types of pasta, which pleases both her roommates and friends.
“She’s amazingly good [at cooking],” Hitchner said. “I always volunteer to clean up so she will cook.”
Interestingly enough, Hitchner actually had to show Domenichelli how to cook pasta their sophomore year. Double-D then kept on cooking to improve her craft to the level it is today.
Although she is great at both running and cooking, Domenichelli is notoriously bad at making decisions.
“She is very indecisive,” senior distance runner Katie Voigtlander said. “Never ask her to choose a place to eat because it will take forever.”
Despite loving large quantities of Italian food, Double-D has a much lighter meal on race days. Her favorite pre-race is meal is a bagel with peanut butter and bananas, and it has seemed to work thus far.
Domenichelli credits much of her success to her family and teammates. Her parents attend every single ‘big’ race and are a constant source of strength. Her teammates also inspire her to run faster as to make them and the program proud.
“The support of my teammates always pushes me to go harder,” Domenichelli said.
While she is finishing up her career at UCSB, Double-D still plans to race and will always represent the Gaucho Gold and Pacific Blue well.
“Even though I cannot wear the jersey after June, I will always race as a Gaucho,” the senior said.