Highlighting the stories of Drake students and faculty.
This is Dominic Lombardi, a Drake senior studying clinical and applied sciences. As a Columbus native, he religiously follows Ohio sports. He spent his high school summers as a camp counselor. He only goes to concerts with standing-room only. And he also runs on Drake’s track team.
He’s been participating in the sport since he was a mere fourth grader.
“I had always been fast as a kid,” Lombardi said. “I didn’t really like baseball very much because I thought it was kind of boring, and so the other spring sport was track. And because I was so fast, I thought it would be fun to just be fast and just run. It kind of took off for me, and I realized that’s where my talents lie.”
It didn’t take long for Lombardi to prove himself. After joining a year-round athletic training program his junior year, he went on to win at the state level for 300-meter hurdles. That moment, he said, solidified his commitment to track.
Lombardi said his last season of running at Drake will be an emotional one, but when he graduates, he plans to keep physical fitness a large part of his life. He may actually put his physique to the test in a new way—through the popular show American Ninja Warrior.
“My body type, a track athlete’s body type, is pretty good because (the show requires) a lot of strength to weight ratio,” Lombardi said. “I’m not a really big guy but I’m not super thin, so my build is pretty good for it.”
He noted that a ninja training gym exists just 15 minutes from his house in Ohio, and he has family living in one of the qualifying round cities.
Another post-graduation goal of Lombardi’s is optometry school. However, he didn’t always plan to become an optometrist. When he first arrived at Drake, he studied physics and astronomy before realizing pre-optometry was a better fit.
“I was always really fascinated by space,” Lombardi said. “There’s so much out there that we don’t know about—how huge it is and how small we are here. My original goal in life was to discover a habitable planet that was close enough that we could possibly travel to. That was my dream for that profession.”
Among the greatest joys in Lombardi’s life is his family: his parents and his two younger sisters, Erin and Rosie, along with their two rabbits named Flint and Lobo and their turtle David. He stressed how close of a bond he shares with his family members.
“We like spending time with each other,” Lombardi said. “I value my time with my family a lot, and so I go home every opportunity I get.”
He also enjoys listening to music, attending concerts and watching movies and TV shows, a passion that almost led him to the pursuit of a career in the field of film.
“I’m a pretty big geek so I like a lot of nerdy stuff like superheroes,” Lombardi said. “I’ve seen every single Marvel movie.”
When I asked him to describe himself, he settled upon “ambivert”: the mix of extrovert and introvert, also noting that he likes to challenge his friends to try new things. However, he also indirectly touched on subtle personality traits fostered by years of being a role model for young kids at summer camp and for his two little sisters.
“I think I’m a really caring person,” Lombardi said. “I’m kind and open to people. I hope people can see that in me. I hold myself to a degree where I want to be someone who people feel like they can talk to or share something with.”