YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Michael Dattilo, senior at Yorktown High School, is an accomplished runner in cross country and winter and spring track.
Dattillo has been on the varsity cross country team since his freshman year. His best race was last year at Croton Point Park, where he ran a 17:57 5K. He was named All-League this past season but wants to continue cutting off time during his races this upcoming season. He also runs the 400- and 1,000-meter in track.
How are you getting through this period of social distancing? What are you doing to keep busy?
The current situation we are all dealing with is very tough because everything is so different compared to a few months ago, so it took a lot of adjusting. I make sure I wear a mask when I’m in public and that I’m always washing my hands and I bring hand sanitizer with me when I go into stores. Due to everything being closed for the most part, to keep myself busy I’ve just been working out at home a lot and also playing some video games.
When did you start running and what got you started?
Freshman year was the first time I was introduced to running. My mom wanted me to do it because I wasn’t playing a sport at the moment, so I agreed, and it ended up being one of the most fun sports seasons I’ve ever had.
What is your favorite sports memory from your time at Yorktown?
My favorite sports memory has to be when our football team went to states my freshman year. It was such a fun trip up to Syracuse to watch my hometown team compete for a state championship.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Normally the night before a big race, I’d have a massive chicken parm dinner with pasta. Then in the morning I’d have some eggs and a protein bar about an hour and a half before my race. When I’m at the meet waiting for my race to start, I normally would just put my headphones in and listen to some music and get ready for it to start.
What are your post-high school plans, athletically and academically?
After I graduate, as of the moment, I’m not trying to go to college for running, but I may decide to join a club team if I become a little bored. Academically, I am planning on studying either business or finance. I am still undecided.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
My superpower would be to be super strong because then I could lift things no one else can and it would make me look really cool.
What is something about yourself people would be surprised to learn?
One thing people would be surprised to learn about me is that I grew up playing basketball and I loved the sport. I played almost all year-round but then I quit in eighth grade and ran cross country/track instead, which is still a decision I’m happy with.
What place would you most like to visit?
I would love to visit Italy. My dad’s side of the family is Italian, and I would love to really see how good the food is there.
What is your favorite place to eat locally and what’s your go to order?
My favorite local place would have to be the Yorktown Grille, and my go-to order would be buffalo wings with a bacon cheeseburger.
What’s the go-to app on your phone and why?
The go-to app for me is probably YouTube, because there are so many videos I can watch when I’m bored to keep me occupied.
Are you currently binging anything?
During quarantine, I’ve binged a couple of shows like “All-American” and “Outer Banks,” but at the moment I am not binging anything.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
Definitely take advantage of your youth and work hard when you are still young so that when you get to high school you are already at an advantage and have been working harder than most other athletes.
Which course would you consider the hardest run and why?
I’d have to say Bowdoin Point Park (Wappingers Falls) would be the toughest race for me. There’s one hill in the course that is just huge and takes all the energy out of me for the last half of the race.
What was your best time in your three-year career?
For the traditional 5K course, my best time was 17:57 at Croton Point Park. This was in the middle of my junior year season.
What are you looking forward to most this upcoming XC season?
This season, I’m looking forward to bettering myself even more and trying to beat my times from last season.
What was your best placing in any race?
In the same race that I ran my best time, I also placed third overall in the race, and first for the team.
Which course was your favorite and why?
My favorite course is easily Croton Point Park. It’s a very scenic course and it’s right on the water. Also, it’s very flat.