Breaking strides

Friday, May 11, 2012 - 08:41
Mirror Lake eighth grader sets sprint records as Coyotes roll
Mirror Lake's Dillon Pratt sprints to victory during the 2012 Anchorage School District Middle School City Championships on May 3 at Mirror Lake. Pratt, an eighth grader, set a pair of sprint records at the meet.

To say Dillon Pratt fully recovered from two, separate injuries three months apart would be the understatement of the year — or at least the middle school track season.

After fracturing his pelvis twice last year, Dillon is now one of the fastest middle school sprinters in Anchorage School District history.

The eighth grader set two boys records in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash to help Mirror Lake win its fourth consecutive ASD Middle School City Track and Field Championship title May 3 at Mirror Lake.

Dillon said he was “shocked and amazed” that he now owns two city records.

Dillon blazed to victory in the 100 in 11.80 seconds and 24.18 seconds in the 200.

Dillon’s fully automatic times (FAT) were within 0.5 seconds of the previous records, which were hand timed. Any FAT within 0.5 seconds of hand-timed results become new records, said Kurt Mueller, coordinating principal for middle school track and field.

Dillon first fractured his pelvis in gym class December 2010. Mirror Lake physical education teacher Jerry Sather noticed a student lying in the snow at the end of class. It was Dillon.

“He said, ‘I can’t walk,’” Sather recalled.

Dillon’s father, Peter, wasn’t alarmed as his son is an active teenager. After the pain persisted for a few days, Dillon went to the hospital.

X-rays revealed a splintered pelvis, said Dillon’s mother, Maja-lisa. Dillon grew three and a half inches over the summer, she said, and his bones were outgrowing the surrounding muscle.

“He grew so fast his muscle didn’t stretch as fast as his bones were growing,” Maja-lisa said.

The pressure was too much for his pelvis to handle.

“It was like a stretched rubber band,” Maja-lisa said. “The muscle didn’t give, the bone gave.”

Maja-lisa said the orthopedist told her Dillon’s injury was common among growing adolescent boys, and all he needed to do was take a break from sports and undergo physical therapy.

The remedy surprised Peter.

“I expected a full body cast,” he said.

After a few months, Dillon’s doctor gave him the green light to pursue sports. But during soccer tryouts in spring 2011, Dillon experienced an all-too familiar pain.

He had fractured the other side of his pelvis, which the orthopedist told Maja-lisa was a likely possibility.

The injury sidelined Dillon until the 2012 track and field season.

“He was pretty much out of sports for an entire year,” Peter said.

Today, Dillon said he experiences occasional aches, but nothing serious.

“I still have some pains once in a while,” he said. “But that’s just the case with breaking stuff.”

Given the past 18 months, Dillon’s inaugural track season was nothing short of shocking to Coyotes’ head coach Mitch Tarter.

“I would never have believed he would have run at all this year,” Tarter said.

Dillon didn’t just run, he flew.

During his record-setting sprint in the 200, Dillon finished 1.62 seconds ahead of the second-place runner. According to, Pratt’s winning time of 11.80 seconds in the 100 equaled the fastest time run this season by Chugiak High’s top sprinter, junior Dane Prince.

Dillon’s dominance at the City Championships was nothing new. In the three previous meets of this season, Dillon won the 100 twice — each by more than a second over the second-place finisher — and a 200 race by 0.83 seconds.

“Nobody’s been close to him,” Tarter said.

Fellow Mirror Lake eighth grader Ty Jordan also won two individual events (1,600 and 800) and took second in the 400 at City’s to help the Coyotes finish first with 421.5 points. Mirror Lake swept all four team titles.

Mirror Lake’s John Weaver won the seventh grade boys’ 1,600 and 800.

Other seventh grade boys gold medalists for the Coyotes included Austin Potter (100) and Isaiah Capers (long jump).

Mirror Lake had four seventh grade girls win individual events, including Olivia Mueller (800), Cerina Bush (triple jump), Celeste Jensen (long jump) and Miranda McMullen (high jump).

Gruening’s Veronica Stewart won the seventh grade girls’ 1,600.

Gruening swept the boys’ 75-meter hurdles, with Alfonso Aguilar winning the seventh grade race and John Randall claiming the eighth grade title.

The Colts finished eighth with 148.7 points. For full results, visit

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