Adriano Atallah, Third-Year Track Athlete


Photo courtesy of OC Athletics

College third-year Adriano Atallah.

College third-year Adriano Atallah is a force on the track. Currently a captain of the men’s track and field team, Atallah spent his first few years on campus setting Oberlin’s record book ablaze. His most notable accolades include winning the North Coast Athletic Conference outdoor decathlon last year and competing as a member of the relay team that secured first place in the indoor 4×200-meter relay and the outdoor 4×400-meter relay. Outside of track, Atallah is a Biochemistry major and a founding member of Oberlin Step Ahead, an organization that coaches kids with autism in track and field.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


How long have you been running track and field?

I started just doing sprints and hurdles in middle school. Mostly the [400-meter sprints], sometimes the hurdles. Then, I got to high school [and] … at the end of my freshman year, I thought the pentathlon looked really cool. So, I tried that. I liked it a lot, and so I stuck with the multis and sprints and hurdles and that’s kind of what I do now. 


What events were you recruited to compete in at Oberlin?

I got recruited by [Assistant Track and Field Coach Alisha Samuel], who’s no longer here, but I submitted both my sprint times, hurdle times, and also my multi scores. I was very intent on doing both when I got here.


Besides the decathlon and the relays, do you participate in any other events? 

Yeah. So, last year my conference meet included long jump, [60-meter] dash, [200-meter] dash, and [4×200-meter relay]. This year, I’m in the [4×400-meter relay] at the conference meet as well. Outdoors, basically anything 400 [meters] and under. Hurdles included, not included. I’m doing it. 


How does it feel to be so successful individually?

I think it’s really cool. I mean we don’t really have a history of great multis here. [Ohio Wesleyan University] had a kid my [first] year, Nate Newman, who has the conference record in the decathlon. They also had a kid before I got here … who has the OWU school record. Both of them are multi-time All-Americans. So being able to follow that NCAC legacy, but also sort of carving out a name for Oberlin in the multis as well is really cool. 


How does it feel to be part of a successful relay team?

The guys — [College third-years Victor Salcido, Malachi Clemons, and Sam Mader] — are great. I think our class is incredibly special, you know, talent wise, but also just [as people]. I mean there’s evidence in the fact that all four of the captains, and granted there are no seniors on the men’s team on the sprint side, are juniors. I think that speaks to the leadership of this class and the work ethic as well. We all care a lot about each other, about the sport, about representing the school the right away. And that right way is winning. 


What are your goals, both individually and as a team, for the rest of the season? 

For the indoor season, [I have] quite a few because I do so many individual events. We’re trying to qualify for the fast seed section at conference in the [4×200-meter relay]. [I’m] trying to qualify in the 200 meter sprints for nationals. Then, once I get to nationals, it’s All-American. As a team this year we’re really just looking to solidify our place in the conference and sort of build something that we can bounce off of next year — because we’re really only graduating like three or four people. It’s a great place to be in order to try to win or put together our best possible team to win next year. 


What other accolades do you have your eyes on for the rest of your career?

National champion in the decathlon, [next] year for sure. I mean obviously this year, but definitely [fourth] year. That’s my ultimate goal. 


Do you do anything else outside of track?

At the end of last school year, [members of the track team] founded the Oberlin chapter of Step Ahead, which is a track and field program for kids with autism. We’re still kind of kicking it off, but we’re hoping that this semester it really leaves the ground. Basically it’s a program that, once a week, kids with autism and their siblings can come and run track. Track is one of the easiest sports to pick up for just about anyone. We meet a bunch of times over the course of a few months. You get to watch their development over that time period. And that’s a great way to get involved. We’re looking to expand in the next few semesters hopefully. 


Anything else you want the good people of Oberlin to know? 

I know track meets are long, but … they’re a lot of fun. I love them. The energy is great. We’re hosting conferences here [in May]. Come out and support!