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Teen of the Week: Parkersburg High School senior finds calling after injury

Kendal Domenick, captain of the Big Reds Girls Soccer Team, at Parkersburg High School. (Photo Provided)

VIENNA — Seventeen-year-old Kendal Domenick was born and raised in Vienna. She is a senior at Parkersburg High School and has a 4.25 GPA.

“I work hard for my grades and have taken college prep and dual credit classes to earn college credits while here at PHS,” Domenick, a member of the National Honor Society, said.

She volunteers in the community, in school and tutors students who need help. She volunteers outside of school with the Salvation Army, by helping with the holiday kettle drive. She also visits elementary schools to read to the students.

Domenick is a three-sport athlete. She is on the cheerleading, track and soccer teams.

She started gymnastics at the age of 3, which led her to cheerleading. Gymnastics helped her excel as a cheerleader, Domenick said.

Varsity cheerleader Kendal Domenick at Stadium Field. (Photo Provided)

“I love leading the cheers for football and basketball on the sidelines,” she said. “I also love tumbling and performing and representing the Big Reds.”

Domenick became interested in track in grade school at Neale Elementary. She enjoys hurdles, sprints and relay races.

“Track is a team sport, but so much of it is individual,” she said. “When we won the state championship this past spring, we were all so happy for all the hard work we put in.”

This year, Domenick is the captain of the Big Reds Girls Soccer team. She started playing soccer when she was 2.

“I was honored to be chosen captain of the soccer team. I take the duties seriously and want to be there for my teammates,” she said. “Being a leader is really important to me and I want to represent my team and PHS on and off the field the best that I can.”

Kendal Domenick runs the 100 meter high hurdles at the Morgantown High Invitational. (Photo Provided)

On Sept. 3, 2019, Domenick tore her ACL. She was playing in a soccer game against Riverside at PHS.

“I was defending a girl who had the ball, and my right leg was locked out when I planted my foot to stop the ball,” she said. “She hit my left shoulder and my knee popped to the outside and I fell to the ground.”

Domenick said that she had to sit out for a few minutes to make sure she was healthy enough to play and she eventually went back in the game.

“After 10 minutes or so of being in the game, I knew something wasn’t right and I went to shoot the ball with my left foot, with my right foot as my plant foot,” she said. “I collapsed immediately to the ground as my knee gave out once again.”

The next morning, she had an MRI taken of her knee, this confirmed that she had a fully torn ACL, partially torn meniscus and a grade one MCL tear.

Kendal Domenick being defended by two Wheeling Park defenders at PHS Stadium Field. (Photo Provided)

“After I tore my ACL, I was absolutely crushed knowing that I would have to miss the rest of my sophomore year of sports,” she said.

That night, Domenick told her family that she would be back to play in the first game of her junior season, and she did 11 months later.

“The mental side of it was very challenging and frustrating on many days and nights,” she said. “I had setbacks, but I learned from every single one of them.”

Domenick attributes her recovery to the support of her family, friends, therapists, her surgeon Dr. William Post and her positivity.

“I knew it was all about my perspective on it, and if I stayed positive and set my mind to it, I could do it,” she said. “It taught me that you never know how quickly something can be taken away from you, so to play every game like it’s my last.”

From left, Jenna Carpenter, 16, Macey Anderson, 17, Kendal Domenick, 17, and Lakyn Campbell, 17, the Parkersburg High School Cheerleaders at the PHS stadium. (Photo Provided)

Although the recovery was hard work, and mentally draining for Domenick, she was thankful for the experience.

“The injury made me stronger mentally and physically, and I’m thankful I went through that and can help people who may be going through a similar thing,” she said.

Among her many dreams is becoming a physical therapist. Her 11 months in recovery after her ACL tear helped her realize her passion.

The team at Mountain River Physical Therapy that worked with her during her therapy also helped her realize this.

“Joe Leaman, (team leader at Mountain River), is one of my biggest role models, and my interest in physical therapy originally came from him,” she said.

From left to right, Addison Gherke, 15, Claire Tatterson, 15, Kendal Domenick, 17, and Lily Wharton, 16, at the 2021 State Champion Shuttle Hurdle Relay, the team ran a time of 1:05.68 at the West Virginia State Track Meet at Laidley Field in Charleston, West Virginia. (Photo Provided)

She also dreams of becoming a college athlete. She hasn’t decided if she wants to play soccer, run track or be a dual-sport athlete.

“I’m excited to enjoy my senior year and I’m looking forward to what the future holds for me in college and sports, and working toward my physical therapy degree to help others as I get older,” she said. “One day, I hope to get married and have a family of my own and enjoy my career and family. I’m excited to help people overcome their injuries to be back to playing sports or living their best lives.”

James Dobbs can be reached at jdobbs@newsandsentinel.com

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