Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the Nov. 19 issue of North Salem News.
NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – Stella DiDomenico is a senior captain on the North Salem field hockey team. She received All-League honors her sophomore and junior seasons. She also played lacrosse from eighth to 10th grade, but switched to spring track as a junior. DiDomenico plans to add a third season to her resume this year, joining the indoor track team in the winter.
How old were you when you started playing field hockey? Do you have any early memories of when you started?
I started playing in eighth grade after I moved to North Salem at the end of seventh grade. I had previously played soccer at my old school, which didn’t have field hockey, so I thought it’d be cool to try something new! I remember Coach Watson during one of the spring clinics commenting on my stick work, although it was my first time touching a stick and ball.
Who has had the biggest impact on your career so far? What did this person do to influence you?
I think, and in no way do I mean this selfishly, that I have been my biggest supporter. It’s definitely important to be your biggest fan and that mentality has helped me reach where I am. Other than myself, though, my aunt has taught me the importance of balance in life which has helped in all things, especially field hockey.
What is your favorite memory of playing field hockey for North Salem?
Most of my teammates from the 2018 season will tell you beating Bronxville for the first time in 15 years after regulation, 2 OTs, and 1.5 cycles of shootouts; and I agree. That moment has and will remain a pinnacle of not only field hockey, but also my life. However, our last game of the season last year (win) against Carmel was a great opening to sectionals and showed us—and really everyone—what NSFH is capable of.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
TONS of water throughout the day and some good tunes before and during warmups.
What are your post-high school plans, athletically and academically?
I hope to pursue a pre-veterinary track in undergraduate and continue my education in vet school. It’s a pretty demanding field, so if I get a chance to play club in college, it’d be a blessing!
What’s your favorite place to eat locally and what’s your go-to order?
SoBol in Ridgefield is always a go-to, especially in the summer. Their açaí bowls are always so refreshing.
What is something about yourself people would be surprised to learn?
I live with my cousins, so it’s always a busy, but never boring household with all the kids.
What is your favorite spot to vacation? Where is somewhere you have not visited yet but would like to in the future?
Home sweet home. I live right on Peach lake in a tight-knit neighborhood, so there is always something going on. But if I were to vacation anywhere in the future I’d have to go to Iceland. It’s just pure isolation and all nature with the Northern lights and geysers. You can’t find those things here, or anywhere for that matter.
If you could offer one piece of advice to younger athletes what would it be?
Again, be your biggest fan! No one but you can determine how hard you push yourself, the same way that you have to know your own limits. And at the same time find your balance.
If you could compare yourself to one athlete who would it be and why?
Definitely Michael Scott. No doubt. From playing basketball in the warehouse to running against the Speed-O-Meter, he exhibits perseverance and resilience and I believe he and I share those traits.
What is the go-to app on your phone and why?
Ask anyone and they’d say TikTok. It’s highly entertaining and addicting. Everyone on the app is very creative and finds perfect ways to be clever and humorous, which makes the content top-notch.
How do you adjust your game when you are not performing at the level you know you can?
Reminding myself that I’m playing for my team is how I pick myself up during practice/game. Field hockey is a team sport and it’s essential that we’re there for each other. Also, especially with this year’s uncertainty as a result of COVID, I remind myself that anytime, any day, could be my last, our last, and you have to finish off strong.
What is your favorite song to play before a game?
I would have to say “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. I admire a lot of the older generation’s songs. This is just one of my favorites primarily because you get a lot of different songs/impressions/feelings simultaneously in this 6-minute piece. It’s kind of ubiquitous and over-the-top, but that’s what makes it such a monumental song in my eyes.
Lastly, what do you expect of yourself and your team the rest of this season and how are you preparing yourself?
We do have a very young team this year, and, weirdly, I think this has turned out to be the best year for it. COVID has brought a lot of uncertainty and upset, but I think it’s been the perfect year to introduce the youngins to adversity and hopefully has taught them how to adapt. I give a lot of credit to them for stepping up and playing hard. And approaching the post-season, myself and my team plan on continuing to bring that same-or higher-level of energy.