Sports profile: Tracy Atoo

Between volleyball, basketball, and wrestling freshman phenom is holding court this semester


Chloe Gervais

Tracy Atoo (Left) wrestles against an opponent from Akins high school on Nov. 14 in the team’s tri-meet with Akins and Anderson. Atoo is trying wrestling for the first year this season.

Greg James, photo editor

The Shield: Why did you decide to come to McCallum?

Tracy Atoo: I wanted to come because they had a really good fine arts program, and I like theatre so I wanted to do that.

TS: What was your life like before coming to the United States?

TA: It was honestly pretty hard because we were growing up in a war zone, but it wasn’t too awful.

TS: Where did you live?

TA: I lived in Lira, Uganda.

Tracy Atoo drives towards the hoop in the JV Girls Basketball 57-16 loss to Vandegrift on Nov. 30, 2018. “I like basketball because of the community,” Atoo said. Photo by Anna Bausman.

TS: When did you leave for the United States?

TA: I came here seven years when my mom got a scholarship, and she brought us here the next year.

TS: What has life been like in the United States compared to Uganda?

TA: It is a lot better because you’re obviously not in a war zone. People are pretty nice here.

TS: What sports do you play?

TA: Volleyball, wrestling and basketball.

TS: Which sport do enjoy the most?

TA: I like basketball because of the community; it’s fun and loving, and you feel welcome.

TS: What do you think the most important thing to do is to win in wrestling?

TA: It is important to build endurance because you get tired fast, and if you can have that one boost of energy you can win.

TS: What is it like balancing two sports in the same season?

TA: It’s challenging. You have to split your practice time between the two sports. Since I have wrestling during the [school] day, I usually go to basketball practice [after school].

TS: Are you involved in any other school activities?

TA: I am in the fashion show.

Tracy Atoo hits the ball back to San Marcos during the freshman B’team’s 2-1 loss to San Marcos on Aug. 31. Atoo has played volleyball since seventh grade when she moved here with her family seven years ago. Photo by Risa Darlington-Horta.

TS: What is being in the fashion show like?

TA: It feels great because you’re in the fashion show, and you get to walk, and everyone is like ‘Wow, it’s Tracy!’

TS: How did it feel being in the homecoming court this year?

TA: I was so excited, and I was really happy. I love everybody who voted and I am so grateful that I was the baroness.

TS: What are you looking forward to this school year and the rest of your time at McCallum?

TA: I am looking forward to getting better at each sport and getting good grades, and having a good time overall.

TS: How would you describe your McCallum experience so far?

TA: So far it has been great. People are nice and everyone does their own thing and no one is that judgy of you.

TS: What prior experience do you have playing each sport?

TA: I started playing volleyball and basketball in seventh grade in school. I never played out of school. I used to play soccer, but I don’t play anymore.

TS: Have you ever done wrestling?

TA: No, this is my first year.

Playing sports is a great escape from everything. I mainly joined sports so I could learn more skills and get a college scholarship.

— Tracy Atoo

TS: What differences do you see between all three sports you play?

TA: With wrestling, I know I have to have more endurance and have to build some muscle. Basketball is about the speed, and in volleyball, you have to be really powerful in the arms so that you can hit well.

TS: Why did you leave your home country? Were you forced to?

TA: My mom got a scholarship to UT and after that she decided to bring my brother and I here the next year. After my mom was already in the USA. She applied for political asylum.

TS: What made you want to be so involved in school sports?

TA: Playing sports is a great escape from everything. I mainly joined sports so I could learn more skills and get a college scholarship.

TS: If you had one word to describe the change from middle school to high school, what would it be?

TA: Great!

TS: What keeps you motivated to play all of these sports?

TA: The fact that I can get into college and become a doctor so I can help my country out motivates me.

TS: Where do you see athletics taking you?

TA: I see sports taking me to college and leading me to a better life.

TS: What does it feel like to be an official citizen as of recent?

TA: It is honestly such a relief. Not being a citizen in the U.S. was scary. There were always chances of being deported. If we were to have been deported, I don’t even know what would happen. My family would definitely be in trouble with the president of Uganda.