Dutton, Pattison named top athletes

An athlete who qualified for the all-Ontarios twice in the same school year, as well as one who went to OFSAA in consecutive years in two different sports, were crowned as the top female and male Muskie athletes at Tuesday night’s athletic awards banquet at La Place Rendez-Vous.
Heather Dutton attended the all-Ontarios last fall for cross-country running and again this past winter in swimming. And in fact, she may qualify for a third all-Ontario berth when she competes in track-and-field in Thunder Bay later this week.
Dutton was the first Muskie cross-country runner to attend OFSAA since the program started last year. She finished the 5.12-km course in a time of 25:52.8—just under six minutes behind the gold-medal winner.
And swimming for the first time as a Muskie at OFSAA in Etobicoke earlier this year, Dutton finished ninth in the preliminary heat for the 200m I.M., just short of the top eight cut-off for the finals, and was 14th in the preliminaries of the 100m butterfly.
Roman Ramirez, head coach for the Fort Frances Aquanauts Swim Team, of which Dutton also is a member, said she is one of his most dedicated athletes—rarely, if ever, missing a practice.
“She’s learned a lot,” said Ramirez. “She’s got to learn more, but she’s coming.”
As well as being named the female athlete of the year, Dutton also was named Most Dedicated Female for Muskie swimming at Tuesday night’s banquet.
Before the banquet, her father, John, was anxious to see his daughter’s reaction to the award. “I know who she respects in this school as athletes and I know who she expects to win, and it’s not her,” he remarked.
After the banquet, Dutton planned to get an hour of practice in at the pool before leaving early Wednesday morning for the track meet in Thunder Bay.
During that meet, she has also scheduled time to practice with the Thunderbolts swim team in preparation for the TBT International Invitational swim meet there this weekend, which she will attend with the Aquanauts.
“She has some goals in mind for this weekend,” her dad said.
Although graduating this year, Dutton noted his daughter plans to return to Fort High for an extra year of Grade 12, and likely do a co-op in physiotherapy, before starting towards a career in sports medicine.
Meanwhile, Jason Pattison attended the all-Ontario badminton championship in the mixed doubles division with partner Natalie Desjardins in Ajax earlier this month, reaching the ‘B’ flight quarter-finals before bowing out.
It was Pattison’s first chance at OFSAA in badminton after breaking his wrist last season and being unable to play.
As well, he was the third on the Muskie curling team—along with teammates Adam Bolen, David Kaun, and Joey Wensley—that advanced to NWOSSAA earlier this year.
Last year, the team qualified for OFSAA, where they won one game and missed the playoff round.
“He’s a very dedicated curler,” said curling coach Tom Fry. “He’s very coachable. He’s just a great kid all around. An excellent team member—he’s very unselfish.”
Badminton coach John Gibson said he never sees Pattison coming off the court without a smile on his face—win or lose. He also is a dedicated player who spends as much time practising as he does helping the junior players, Gibson added.
As well as being the male athlete of the year, Pattison was named most valuable player for senior badminton along with Desjardins, and also received the award for athletic and academic achievement for a Grade 12 boy.
Pattison has been an honour student throughout high school.
Next year, Pattison will be moving on to the University of Manitoba in a science program, though he’s not sure which one yet, said his mom, Diane. His athletics also may have to be put on hold.
“I think he’d like to see what he can fit into his schedule, what’s available around the university,” she noted.